by Matthew Suh ’24
San Jose, Calif. — What was projected to be a low-scoring affair between the 0-8 Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish and 1-7 Bellarmine Bells turned out to be a more entertaining game than originally anticipated. Coming off an ugly shutout loss to Mitty last Friday, Bellarmine was determined to “right the ship” and secure its first win against a WCAL opponent.
Coming into tonight’s game, Sacred Heart Cathedral (SHC) had not won a single game and averaged just 15.9 points per game (PPG) while allowing 40 PPG to opponents. On the other side of the ball, Bellarmine had won just one game this season and averaged a similar 17.6 PPG while allowing 34.5 PPG to opponents.
Before the game, I asked Bellarmine TE Ramiro Rodriguez what Bellarmine had to do offensively and defensively to win the game.
“We have to stop the pass, and our DBs have to stay disciplined in their zone, and if they do, we will come out with the win,” he said. Well, that they did, as Bellarmine executed offensive and defensive plays cleanly throughout the game.
It didn’t take Bellarmine long to score as QB Parker Threatt ‘24 launched a 35-yard TD pass to WR Zayne St. Laurent ‘25 for an easy 6. Unfortunately for the Bells, Conor Tripp ‘24 missed a PAT, keeping the score at 6-0.
When asked about what Bellarmine’s game plan was against Sacred Heart Cathedral, Ramiro responded, “Our game plan is to shut the em’ out first half.” That they did as well, as Bellarmine’s defense forced numerous three-and-outs early in the first and second quarters. Bellarmine almost allowed a passing TD right before the half, but the ball was intercepted.
The second half of the game started off with a bang as SHC’s QB Michael Sargent floated a beautiful 70-yard TD pass to WR Obryan Flanigan, making the score 7-6 SHC. Bellarmine and SHC traded meaningless possessions after the big TD score, taking a chunk of the clock in the 3rd quarter. The next score came on a Bellarmine FG by kicker Connor Tripp ‘24, who nailed a 25-yarder right down the middle, giving Bellarmine a lead over SHC at 9-6.
Most of the points came in just 36 seconds of the game clock in the 3rd quarter. With just 36 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter, Bellarmine’s dual-threat QB Parker Threatt ‘24 ripped a 46-yard TD run up the seam of the defense, giving Bellarmine a 16-7 lead over SHC. SHC immediately responded with an 85-yard rushing TD by RB Obryan Flanigan, cutting Bellarmine’s lead to just 3 points (16-13). With just 11 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter, Bellarmine WR St. Laurent took a 79-yard kickoff return to the house, slipping through every SHC tackle.
With Bellarmine clinging onto a 23-13 lead at the start of the 4th quarter, their primary goal was to take time off the clock and play smart football. With multiple unsuccessful attempts to punch a TD into the end zone, Sacred Heart found themselves down two possessions with just 53 seconds left. After a failed 4th down conversion, Bellarmine took over on downs with 47 seconds left. Coach David Diaz-Infante decided to dial up one more big play to burn the game clock. The play called was a quick jet sweep to WR St. Laurent, in which he revered directions and picked up a 21-yard gain, in part due to a nasty block by QB Parker Threatt.
After a sloppy game against Archbishop Mitty last week, Bellarmine played clean football and came out firing on all cylinders tonight. With this victory over Fightin’ Irish, the Bells picked up their first WCAL win of the season, keeping their hopes alive for a possible playoff clinch next week. Bellarmine is set to take on cross-town rivals, St. Francis, in the 2023 Holy War Game at San Jose City College next Friday. With an upset win over the St. Francis Lancers, Bellarmine has a shot at clinching a spot in the playoffs.
Missed the game? Check out scoring highlights from Bellarmine’s broadcast below!
RB Obryan Flanigan Rushing TD (3rd Quarter | 0:24 Left)
WR Zayne St. Laurent Kickoff Return TD (3rd Quarter | 0:11 Left)
Matthew Suh is a staff writer and contributor for The Bell Online, Talking Points Sports, and The Press Box. Follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewsuh.