TORRANCE, Ca- It took Bishop Montgomery (7-1, 1-0) just one quarter to separate itself from visiting St. Bernard in its first crack at South Catholic League action Friday night.
The Knights went up in a hurry and cruised to a dominant 41-6 victory on Senior Night.
Bishop Montgomery’s Anthony Baeza put the Knights up 35-0 with 1:04 left in the first quarter when he scooped a St. Bernard fumble at the 15-yard line and ran it back for a touchdown.
“Our guys came in focused and I’m very proud of them,” Bishop Montgomery coach Ed Hodgkiss said. “Sometimes these are tough games to play and stay motivated for but they came out on Senior Night and fought from the very beginning.”
Brendan Marafino began Bishop Montgomery’s love affair with the end zone, flashing his athleticism on a 3-yard quarterback keeper. Patrick Smith set up the score with a 20-yard run as he avoided a plethora of Viking defenders with a series of spin moves.
On St. Bernard’s first possession of the game, Justin Moore picked off quarterback Shane Williams on the 37-yard line and took it back 63 yards for a touchdown and a Bishop Montgomery 14-0 lead.
Marafino’s first touchdown pass came on a 16-yard fade route that floated perfectly into the hands of Bernard Amofa with 5:25 left in the first quarter.
On Bishop Montgomery’s next drive, Marafino found Desmond Gates in the middle of the field for a 37-yard hookup and a touchdown to extend its lead to 28-0. Marafino tossed for 102 yards on 5 of 10 passing with two touchdowns through the air.
“I knew we were going to be faster than them on the outsides of the field,” Marafino said. “I was just taking advantage of the mismatches and let my receivers do the work.”
St. Bernard (2-6, 0-1) mustered a score on its final possession of the game with runs of 11 and 9 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown run.
Williams was the lone spark for St. Bernard, outrunning and dodging Bishop Montgomery defenders on several occasions. Williams finished the game with 60 yards rushing on 11 carries and one touchdown.
“He’s a basketball kid, he never played football until this year,” St. Bernard coach Jimmie Irby said. “He is a weapon for us but unfortunately it’s just been a tough year. We are in a rebuilding mode and we just have to come out and fight every week.”
Bishop Montgomery’s primary goal is to go unbeaten in the South Catholic league, but Marafino has an extra achievement he wants to cross off his bucket list.
“I want to win a playoff game,” the quarterback said, “Can’t stop working now. We are very close.”