California running game too much for Serra
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For Serra coach Tony St. Angelo, having a young squad can at times be quite trying.
That youth was on display Friday night as the hosts seemed overwhelmed at times during their 56-28 loss to California. Trojan running back Lester McGriff ripped the Eagles for 269 yards on only nine carries. Fellow running back James Bongiorno added 94 yards on 12 carries. The Trojans abused the young Eagles' defense for five scores on their first 15 plays in an efficient display of offense.
“On defense, it seems like it is a continuing trend, we just can tackle,” St. Angelo said. “We're missing tackles. We're diving. But then the kids come out in the second half and show that they can tackle. That is the frustrating thing.”
By the time the Eagles (1-5, 1-3 Black Hills Conference) started tackling, the Trojans already had 49 points on the board.
McGriff and company got the party started after Zac Quattrone threw an interception near midfield. The running back began the scoring barrage with a 52-yard scamper. His second score came on their next drive when he barreled 23 yards through a befuddled Eagles defense, giving the visitors an early 14-0 lead.
“He really gives us an extra dimension, a home-run threat,” California coach Bo Teets added. “We started off the year throwing the ball a lot. Now we are able to run with him in the backfield.”
Quattrone got the Eagles on the board midway through the first when he ran 36 yards for a score. His two-point pass fell incomplete, leaving the score 14-6.
Bongiorno struck back on the Trojans' very next offensive play when he took a draw handoff and raced 69 yards for a touchdown. Devon Peterman's kick was true, pushing the Trojans (2-3, 2-2) ahead, 21-6.
Serra responded with a crisp 73-yard scoring drive that was capped by Hamdan Wyatt's 2-yard scoring plunge. Grant Taylor's kick was good, cutting California's lead to 21-14 in the first.
“We felt if we could just get a lead, we could run the ball and grind some clock,” St. Angelo added. “Unfortunately, that did not happen.”
McGriff put any comeback hopes to bed with an 80-yard scoring burst late in the first, restoring the Trojans' two-score advantage.
California then scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to salt the game away. The first came when Bongiorno hauled in a 49-yard strike from Austin Hunter.
Hunter added a 1-yard scoring plunge, and Gavin Anderson contributed a 2-yard scoring run to close the half.
McGriff ended his evening in style with a 75-yard burst down the sideline that resulted in a score and a 56-14 California lead in the third period. But Serra would not quit as Quattrone found Joe Satira for a 21-yard score and finished the evening with a 10-yard scamper late in the fourth.
“It's a learning experience for all us, including me,” St. Angelo said. “We are very young across the board.”
St. Angelo said he was encouraged by the team's offensive output.
“I personally feel we can run the ball well enough, but when you fall behind like we did, it is tough,” he said. “We know we can grind it out. I feel we can move the ball on anyone.”
Quattrone finished with 183 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Dave Whipkey is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2014 Valley News Dispatch football all-stars
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg
- Through the years: Bell-Avon rings out in program’s finale
- Close loss in title game cannot diminish Clairton’s ‘great season’
- Gorman: South Fayette has a ‘No Fly’ zone
- Gorman: Central Valley’s life after death
- Gorman: Gastion goes deep for Pine-Richland
- High school notebook: WPIAL adjusts to accommodate Armstrong merger