The562’s coverage of St. Anthony Football is sponsored by Wasco Development Corp in Honor of B.I. Mais
Everything was looking good early as St. Anthony searched for its first win of the season against Dominguez on Friday night, but the Saints lost its grip and fell 28-15 to the visiting Dons at St. Pius X.
The Saints jumped to an early lead with a scoop-and-score by sophomore defensive end Jerimiah Cervantes, but Dominguez punched back with a quick 70-yard strike up the seam to tie the game 8-8 at the end of the first quarter.
The best way to summarize this seesaw game, especially for the St. Anthony, was the cliche “one step forward, two steps back” as Dominguez led 14-8 at halftime.
Lighting was in a bottle ready to jump for the Saints, and it looked like it leapt out with explosive plays led by senior wide receiver Drelonde Johnson and senior running back Elijah Lolesio-Pua. Eventually, the Saints would claw to make the game 22-15 with 7:53 left in the third. The potential that many had expected was emerging, and it looked like it would carry for the rest of the game.
Momentum continued to carry St. Anthony as huge sacks by senior defensive end Alex Cobbs caused the Dominguez offense to become flustered, which ultimately led to a forced punt on the Dons’ 1-yard line. However, despite the prime field position on the Dons’ 26 yard line, the Saints turned the ball over on downs at the Dons’ 12-yard line.
In a strange turn of events, the stadium lights went out with under three minutes left in the third quarter, and it delayed the game by 20 minutes. This delay and hot weather would contribute to the multiple cramping injuries for both teams in the fourth quarter.
The delay also allowed the Dons’ offense to recover and recharge. They put the nail in the coffin at 7:48 left in the game to make the score 28-15.
St. Anthony made a valiant effort for a comeback, thanks in part to a massive fourth down catch by Drelonde Johnson and a defensive pass interference call. However, bad snaps and a swarming Dominguez defense forced the Saints to turn the ball over with 4:29 left in the game. The Dons would eventually run out the clock.
“Things didn't go our way,” Saints coach Raul Lara said. “We saw improvement across the field, yet being a young team we need to learn from our mistakes and take advantage from the opposing team’s mistakes.”
Lara emphasized that the failure to capitalize on Dons’ errors and inability to finish plays were the deciding factors in the loss.
The Saints host crosstown rival Wilson (0-2) at St. Pius X on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. for the Battle For 7th Street trophy.