LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES — Giving up 42 points and 364 yards of offense would be a game to forget for any football team.
For Bellarmine-Jefferson High, it was the story of its first half Friday night against eventual league champion Salesian, which completes the Santa Fe League season undefeated.
The 56-6 loss concludes an agonizing and unfamiliar rebuilding year for Guards’ Coach Rolando Aguirre and the program that hadn’t missed the playoffs since 2003.
“The hunger is there, just not the talent,” said Aguirre, whose team won two games all year and went winless in league play. “But did they back down? Absolutely not.”
Expectedly, the league game at Salesian was never in doubt for the Mustangs (8-2, 4-0 in league), thanks in large part to the play of Brandon Foley and Christian Vega.
The two-headed running attack combined to score five rushing touchdowns in the first half and aided in the team’s 21 points in ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿each of the first two quarters.
For its part, Bell-Jeff’s inexperience and lack of firepower clearly showed, similarly to what it has experienced all season long. The offense couldn’t answer any scores that the defense couldn’t contain.
“Hats off to Bell-Jeff,” Mustangs Coach Roddy Hiatt said. “They fought us hard, but we have a really good team that is hoping for playoffs.”
Hiatt will see the postseason after an undefeated league campaign.
On this night, he was able to run any play he desired, which allowed Foley to rush for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Vega ran for 126, including four rushing touchdowns.
Mustangs quarterback Jihad Vercher complemented the offensive blitz with 175 yards passing and a 55-yard touchdown pass to Vega ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿ÃƒÆ’Ã‚â€šÃƒâ€šÃ‚¿for the game’s opening score.
“We knew their defense isn’t too strong, but we also knew we still had to execute,” said Vega, whose five total touchdowns helped lead the way against the Guards.
One of only a few Guards’ returning starters, Micah Shirley, tried his best imitation of last year’s more potent offensive attack.
Shirley carried the ball 15 times for 88 yards, including the lone touchdown in the second quarter.
Shirley literally did all he could for the Guards, playing quarterback in the first half, defense and returning kicks.
Bell-Jeff went from a passing offense in the first two quarters, however, that wasn’t successful.
Like last season’s Bell-Jeff offense, Aguirre switched to running plays in which Shirley, Mario Marquez, and David Bustillos stood in the backfield with Kevin Yuenyongsakul taking snaps.
Dominique Brown’s second-half opening kickoff return for a touchdown was one of two scores for the Mustangs in the third quarter, which gave way to simply running the clock in the fourth and final quarter, ending the season for the Guards.