SUN VALLEY — If the Bellarmine-Jefferson High football team wanted a shot at winning the Santa Fe League title this season, an 0-2 start wasn’t going to help its chances.
To avoid a bad start the Guards had to beat St. Genevieve on the road Saturday, on the Valiants’ homecoming night, which wasn’t going to make it any easier.
But the Guards had trouble when they ran into Valiants’ quarterback Mark Chin, who finished with 280 yards of total offense to lead his squad to a 53-18 victory.
It was the fourth-straight loss for Bell-Jeff (2-6).
Chin, a quick and shifty sophomore, was so effective that it caused Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando Aguirre to be nearly speechless about him after the game.
“Excellent. Excellent,” Aguirre said.
Just like last week, it was the Guards’ offense that struck first early in the game. Bell-Jeff senior quarterback Chris Issakhanian was back in the starting lineup after sitting last week for disciplinary reasons. His presence showed on offense early on.
Issakhanian capped a four-play scoring drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Kevin Yuenyongsakul to give the Guards a 6-0 lead, after a missed extra point attempt with 5:36 remaining in the first quarter.
But just like last week, the quick lead didn’t last long.
After a 32-yard kickoff return from the Valiants, they faced a third-and-15 when Chin tucked the ball and rushed for a touchdown from 50 yards out.
But St. Genevieve wasn’t finished.
On the first play of the second quarter, with 7-6 lead, Chin launched the ball into the arms of a Bell-Jeff defender, who bobbled the would-be interception into the hands of Valiants’ senior wide receiver Winston Rose, who then bobbled it himself before he took off for a 62-yard touchdown.
“They got on us pretty quick. They drove the ball on our defense and we couldn’t hold,” said Aguirre of the Valiants’ offense.
After a St. Genevieve fumble on the 50-yard line, the Guards’ defense recovered, eventually leading to another 10-yard touchdown pass from Issakhanian to Yuenyongsakul. After a failed two-point conversion, The Valiants had a 14-12 lead with 7:21 left in the first half.
However, it was all Valiants offense after that. St. Genevieve scored 33 unanswered points, thanks to turnovers from Bell-Jeff.
“We’ve just got a lot of work to do,” said Aguirre describing a lack of discipline. “We’re too young — bunch of sophomores.”
Issakhanian was six of 14 for 119 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Yuenyongsakul finished with three catches for 72 yards and two scores. Running back Micah Shirley had 97 yards rushing on 10 carries.