By Akshaj Dwivedula ’20
In what some may consider the regular season opener, the Bellarmine Bells started their challenging regular season on the right foot, beating the Riordan Crusaders 34-20.
The game started off with an offensive flurry, with the Bells marching down the field in a 4-minute drive capped off by a 24-yard TD run by Tyson Garcia ’19. Just as the Bells managed to get a touchdown on the board, Riordan responded with an 80-yard touchdown pass from junior QB Adham Abdelghani to WR Marcus Williams off a well-designed wheel route.
From there, Riordan forced a 3-and-out. On Riordan’s next play from scrimmage, RB Jalen Camp rushed down the left sideline for a gain of 48 yards. Following a third-down scramble by Abdelghani leading to the 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Camp punched the ball in for his first touchdown of the night. However, Riordan missed the extra point and held on to a 13-7 lead.
The Crusaders pooched the kick, allowing Aizon Henry, backup running back and starting CB, to return the ball past the 50-yard-line. From there, the Bells continued their slow march to the goal-line, highlighted by a 7-yard Harry Mingrone scramble avoiding a near sack. This drive was finished off by a 10-yard rush to the left by Garcia, giving the Bells a 14-13 lead.
The next drive for Riordan was less successful, with Abdelghani throwing an interception to Anthony Magri, the free safety, who returned the ball past the midfield line. The Bells took advantage of that, rushing the ball downfield with Harry Mingrone, who rushed it in from 1 yard out. The Bells now led 21-13.
But as has been the case so far, Riordan responded with another quick touchdown, this time a 64-yard strike from Abdelghani to Joshua DeJesus.
Both defenses clamped down for a short period of time, but the Bells broke through with another touchdown, this one through the air as Mingrone hit Magri for 47 yards off a busted Riordan coverage. Nearing the end of the half, Riordan opted to go for it on 4th down in the red zone, but the Bells held firm and entered the half with a 27-20 lead.
The 2nd half for Riordan started off as a clear foreshadowing of what was to come, as Aizon Henry picked off an Abdelghani pass on 4th down.
From there, the Bells went back to the offense most people associate with the team – the double wing formation and running the ball on almost every play. Bellarmine kept on running the ball while also shutting down the potent Riordan attack. The icing on the cake came with a 7-minute drive in the 4th quarter as Tyson Garcia rushed it in and recorded his 3rd touchdown of the game.
Stats (special thanks to Kevin Danna for recording stats)
QB Adham Abdelghani: 7/21 213 yds, 2 TDs 2 INTs, 13 rushes 80 yds
RB Jalen Camp: 14 rushes 97 yds, 1 TD
WR Marcus Wiliams: 6 rec 146 yds, 1 TD
QB Harry Mingrone: 10/15 143 yds, 1 TD, 15 rushes 89 yds, 1 TD
RB Tyson Garcia: 26 rushes 123 yds, 3 TDs, 1 rec 14 yds
WR Anthony Magri: 4 rec 74 yds, 1 TD
Interview with Coach Janda
Q: “This was a pretty well-rounded win for you guys. You were able to both run and pass the ball with success. What are your takeaways for your offense?”
A: “We were able to mix it up. I felt like that was important for us. I was really proud of our guys, particularly in the end of the game, to maintain the ball and drive the ball the length of the field for a touchdown, mostly by runs up the gut. [We had] good hard blocking and running.”
Q: “What was the biggest adjustment in the second half to shut out the Riordan offense?”
A: “[The biggest] thing was the big plays. Keep them away from the big play. They got some plays off [and] we’ve got to tackle better [and get more] pressure.”
Q: What’s the biggest thing you want your team to take away from this game?
A: “We still need to improve. Take what we did well tonight and improve what we did tonight.”
Bellarmine’s next game will be at Serra this Saturday at 1:00 pm.