by Matthew Suh ’24

SANTA CLARA, CA — On a chilly night in Santa Clara, California, fans packed the stands at Fitzpatrick Field for the second round of the CCS playoffs. The stakes were high for both Bellarmine and Wilcox as the winner of this game advanced to the CCS Championship game. Bellarmine won the coin toss and chose to defer until the second half.

Bellarmine opened the game with a squib kick which was muffed by Wilcox and Bellarmine recovered. It didn’t take long for Ben Pfaff ‘23 to score on an 8-yard run up the gut. Wilcox responded with a lengthy drive of their own where they ran the ball on seven straight plays. The 1st quarter ended with Bellarmine up 7-0.

Wilcox opened up the 2nd quarter with a 24-yard FG cutting the lead to 7-3. Bellarmine and Wilcox exchanged multiple 3-and-outs before Wilcox scored a rushing TD with 2:50 left, putting them on top 10-7. On Bellarmine’s next drive, they were forced to punt, but the return was muffed by Wilcox leading to a Bellarmine recovery. Unfortunately, Bellarmine could not score as they settled for a FG which was BLOCKED, ending the 2nd quarter.

The 3rd quarter opened with a 3-and-out by Bellarmine before Wilcox was also forced to a 3-and-out. In the middle of the 3rd quarter, Zayne St. Laurent caught a 30-yard TD bomb placing Bellarmine on top 14-10. Wilcox had a few incompletions and ran the clock out to end the 3rd quarter.

Andrew Palacios ‘23 opened up the 4th quarter with a rushing TD for Wilcox giving them the lead at 17-14. Bellarmine responded immediately with a few big plays from Ben Pfaff ‘23 before Colin Lakkaraju ‘24 caught a 25-yard TD to put Bell back on top 21-17. On Wilcox’s next drive, QB Armand Johnson ‘23 threw a costly interception to Bellarmine’s Billy Ladd ‘24. With a chance to seal the game, Bellarmine coughed up an interception of their own to give Wilcox the ball back. Fortunately for Bellarmine, Wilcox was unable to score as the clock expired and the game ended.

With this momentous win over Wilcox, Bellarmine has their eyes set on the CCS Championship game which will be played at San Jose City College on Saturday, November 26, at 7 pm. Bellarmine will play Saint Ignatius College Preparatory whom they defeated earlier in the season 34-14 in week four of the regular season.

Matthew Suh is a staff writer and contributor for The Bell Online, Talking Points Sports, and The Press Box. Follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewsuh.