Bellarmine-Jefferson High’s goal entering the football season was to
win the Santa Fe League title.
That goal is no longer a reality.
Friday night, the Guards struggled against a good, but not
stellar, opponent, falling, 29-16, to Montebello Cantwell-Sacred
Heart in a league road game.
The win gives Cantwell-Sacred Heart (5-5, 4-0 in league) the title
Bell-Jeff (7-2, 1-2) now must defeat Panorama City St. Genevieve
on Wednesday at Memorial Field at Burroughs High to claim the
league’s third and final playoff spot. The Guards lost to L.A.
Salesian, 20-14, on Oct. 31.
“We had to execute our game plan,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando
Aguirre, who suited up just 17 players. “If we did that, Cantwell
would not have been able to stay with us.”
Offensively, the Guards struggled, unlike in most games this
season, when they have had an easy time.
Quarterback Brendon Doyle finished 16 of 43 for 109 yards with one
touchdown and one interception.
On the ground, Bell-Jeff had 58 yards rushing, led by Derek
Leiphardt, who had 37 yards in four carries.
Defensively, the Guards let Cantwell-Sacred Heart quarterback
Andrew Ortega complete 11 of 24 passes for 271 yards and a
To make matters worse, Bell-Jeff could not take advantage of the
fact that Cantwell-Sacred Heart was penalized 125 yards.
“We were worried when they lost [to Salesian],” Cantwell Coach
Jimmy Nolan said. “We wanted to face them undefeated, because a lot
of times when you’re undefeated, you haven’t faced adversity yet.”
Nolan also noted that he felt the tough nonleague schedule his
team played, which included Division I powers Fountain Valley and
Anaheim Esperanza, helped his team once league play came around.
“I took a lot of criticism for that,” Nolan said. “I kept saying
my goal is to play in December and I don’t care if I start 0-6. I
care when I’m playing the games, but all that matters is that we win
league and that we’re playing in December.
“So If I were to do it all over, I’d do the same exact thing,
except I’d try to get Mission Viejo and Long Beach Poly.”
Bell-Jeff took an 8-0 lead as Leiphardt scored on a 33-yard run.
Doyle -- who later hooked up with Matt Magallon on a 14-yard
touchdown pass -- completed the two-point conversion to Jake Nelson.