BURROUGHS HIGH — In a battle between a pair of sub-.500 teams on losing streaks, something had to change for the better for one and something was bound to continue spiraling downward for the other in the teams’ Santa Fe League opener.
Host Bellarmine-Jefferson had allowed 604 rushing yards in its previous two games, both losses, while only averaging a league-low 21.7 points a game.
With first-time starter Mitchell Kellogg, a sophomore, at quarterback, the only thing the Guards were given was a 28-6 loss at the hands of the St. Anthony Saints.
“It was the first time we lost to these guys,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando Aguirre, whose team dropped to 2-5 with its third straight loss, while St. Anthony improved to 3-4. “We made mistake after mistake.”
Kellogg started the game at quarterback in place of senior Chris Issakhanian, who sat out the game for “disciplinary reasons.” Running back Mario Marquez also missed the game for the same reason. Both will be back to start next week.
There was little indication of a blowout in the first half.
The Saints methodically drove downfield on the first possession of the game on the legs of junior quarterback Donny Torres and junior running back Thomas Brown. Six minutes later, the Saints scored as Torres ran it up the middle from four yards out to take his team up 7-0.
But Bell-Jeff answered quickly.
After a 26-yard kickoff return from junior Chris Fiallos-Pena, it took only four plays — including two 20-plus yard runs from senior Kevin Yeunyongsakul and senior Micah Shirley — for the Guards to find the end zone. Shirley ran in from 20 yards out, but his team failed to convert the extra-point attempt, leaving the score at 7-6.
The score held until halftime after both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter.
To the dismay of Aguirre, his Guards managed to fumble four times in one possession, though they never lost the ball in the process.
“We don’t run the ball correctly, fumbling the ball, tossing underneath,” Aguirre said. “It looked like it was Week One.”
It was those critical mistakes that continued to hurt Bell-Jeff throughout the game.
After a Bell-Jeff three-and-out to start the second half, the defense failed to contain Torres and Brown the rest of the game. Torres scored two touchdowns, both on the ground, while Brown scored late from 20 yards out.
“Brown is an amazing running back,” Aguirre said. “That guy runs with authority.”
Offensively, Kellogg went just one for five for 14 yards with two interceptions. He was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion.
Shirley, who played tailback most of the game, took over for Kellogg, but it was too little too late for the Guards. Shirley finished with 87 yards on 19 carries. He also went one for seven for five yards passing.
Bell-Jeff plays St. Genevieve at Poly High at 7 p.m. on Saturday in its next Santa Fe League contest.