Football St. Anthony

Football: St. Anthony Handles Valley Christian In Opener

The 2019 season almost literally could not have started any better for the St. Anthony football team, as they impressed in every facet of the game against Valley Christian in a clash of small schools at Clark Field on Friday night. The Saints led by 41 points at halftime and had outgained the Crusaders 279 yards to 102. The second half was played with a running clock as St. Anthony won 47-6.

St. Anthony (1-0) will host Warren next week back at Clark Field.

“Everything was working for us,” said Saints coach Mario Morales. “We’re happy with the way it turned out.”

The Saints scored on their first two drives, with a three-and-out posted by their defense in between. Quarterback Lucas Lehmar hit receiver Jason Porter to cap both drives, putting the Saints up 14-0. Valley Christian answered with a fourth-down strike on their next drive as quarterback Colin Abrahams hit receiver Kai Talstra for a 33 yard score.

Two drives later, Sone Aupiu scored from 22 yards out to put St. Anthony up 21-6. Cade Ignacio fell on a fumble for the Saints on the next drive, setting up a 47-yard touchdown pass from Lehmar to Riley Jenkins. On the kickoff, the Saints popped the ball loose again, and Giovanny Damian fell on it for St. Anthony. Lehmar took it in himself this time, putting the Saints up 34-6. After the St. Anthony defense forced a three-and-out, Aupiu took it in for his second score, and after another three-and-out, Justin Wilson scooped up a short punt and took it in for the final score of the half.

The Saints had chances to pad the score in the second half but opted not to, having their backup quarterback take a knee on a fourth and goal from the five yard line in the fourth quarter.

Morales was pleased with his team and with the play of Lehmar, who was 9/16 for 206 yards and three touchdowns passing, with 37 yards rushing and a score as well.

“He did a phenomenal job, four touchdowns in his first game,” said Morales. “He made great reads, he took control of the huddle.”

Lehmar deflected the praise for his great start to his teammates.

“My offense line played great, no sacks, no tackles for a loss, they let me step up in the pocket and our receivers made plays,” he said.

Aupiu had 72 yards rushing on seven carries with two touchdowns. The St. Anthony defense was stifling, led by Devante’ Pollard’s four tackles for a loss.

VIDEO: St. Anthony vs. Valley Christian Football

PHOTOS: St. Anthony Football vs. Valley Christian

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.