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Jose BalderasIt was a tale of two...

Jose Balderas

It was a tale of two halves when the Bellarmine-Jefferson High

football team hosted Panorama City St. Genevieve in a pivotal Santa

Fe League game.

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With a guaranteed CIF Southern Section Division XII berth on the

line, and despite holding a 15-point lead midway through the third

quarter, Bell-Jeff could not halt a strong surge by the visiting

Valiants in the second half Wednesday, as the Guards fell, 25-22, at

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Memorial Field.

It was Bell-Jeff’s third straight league loss. The team’s only

league win came in the Guards’ opener against L.A. Daniel Murphy,

59-14.

St. Genevieve put the winning points on the board in fourth

quarter with a 26-yard field goal by Christian Garcia, and had to

hold off late Guard drives to secure the thrilling victory.

The Valiants’ (4-5-1, 2-2 in league) victory earned them a

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third-place finish in league and an automatic spot in the playoffs --

which begin Friday.

With the loss, the Guards’ (7-3, 1-3) postseason hopes remain in

the hands of the playoff selection committee, as the team has to wait

and see if it gets an at-large bid.

Bell-Jeff is banking that its strong start (it began the season

7-0) will earn it a trip to the postseason.

“I don’t know what happened, we just didn’t execute in the second

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half like we did in the first,” Guard Coach Rolando Aguirre said.

The Guards could not find a solution for elusive Valiant running

back John Ramos, who rushed for 202 yards in 26 carries.

Ramos had touchdown runs of 33 and 8 yards.

“The extraordinary effort that that man [Ramos] put out tonight

was incredible,” St. Genevieve Coach Shatony Sargeant said. “If it

wasn’t for him, we’d be home during the playoffs.”

Penalties, and maybe a bit of arrogance, nearly cost the Valiants,

who almost let the Guards battle back to win the game in the closing

moments.

Bell-Jeff’s fourth-quarter drive started at its own 20-yard line,

as senior quarterback Brendon Doyle had 2:10 left to move his team

down the field.

After a series of incomplete passes, Doyle connected with teammate

Derek Leiphardt for an apparent crucial fourth-down conversion.

However, Leiphardt fumbled the ball following the reception, and

Valiant linebacker Ardel Ayala recovered it on the Guard 34.

Instead of trying to score on the short field, the Valiants

decided to run out the clock out and waste time, as their quarterback

kneeled down on consecutive plays.

But St. Genevieve was called for delay-of-game- penalties, which

stopped the game clock. Eventually, the Valiants were forced to punt

the ball with 22 seconds left.

Leiphardt returned the punt into Valiant territory, but his effort

was called back because of a holding penalty.

On the Guards’ first-down play, Doyle connected with Joey Diaz,

who lateraled the ball to Matt Magallon for a 23-yard gain.

With the ball on the Valiant 43-yard line, Doyle threw a

desperation pass toward the end zone, but it was intercepted by Larry

Fitzgerald as time expired.

Doyle completed 13 of 29 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown.


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