Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Football: St. Francis Clinches First State Title (12/16/17)

St. Francis of Mountain View celebrates its 22-13 win over Grace Brethren of Simi Valley in the CIF State Division 2-A title gaame on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Photo/NBC Sports Bay Area.

Saint Francis of Mountain View relies on its bruising running game and defense, but it was senior QB Reed Vettel who delivered the toss that St. Francis needed to seal a 22-13 victory over Grace Brethren of Simi Valley in the CIF State Division 2-A title game on Saturday afternoon at Sacramento State.

Vettel only threw 10 passes, but two of them were TDs, including a 3-yard TD pass he lofted to the left corner of the end zone that Evan J. Williams made witha  diving catch. That play gave St. Francis a 22-13 lead with 1:52 left and clinched its first state championship in school history.

“The only guy we brought up was Reed, our quarterback,” Coach Greg Calcagno said of St. Francis’ last trip to the state finals in 2015. “The rest of those guys were a 2-8 JV team and they just found a way to battle and two years later we’re here holding this trophy. It’s a good message for what those seniors did for us and how they led our team this year.”

St. Francis became the second West Catholic Athletic League team to win a state title. Serra of San Mateo captured the CIF State Division 2-AA title on Friday night.

SCORE: St. Francis 22, Grace Brethren 13

RECORDS: Grace Brethren (13-3), St. Francis (11-4).

KEY STATS: Grace Brethren came into the game averaging 289.4 yards per game, but St. Francis limited them to 103 rushing yards. Longahula Ahoia had two sacks, Junior Fehoko had five tackles and a TFL, Joshua Pakola had five tackles and a sack, Opeti Fangupo and Tyler McCabe had six tackles apiece to lead St. Francis’ defense.

PIVOTAL MOMENT: Pakola sacked Grace Brethren QB Michael Zele for an 11-yard loss back to Grace Brethren’s 2, forcing a punt into the wind. St. Francis took over at Grace Brethren’s 26 and went in for the score that gave them a 22-13 advantage.

QUOTABLE: “I’m very proud of our guys and for everybody that played in our program for way back when,” Calcagno said. “We’ve had a lot of success, but this is a first time for us. But first and foremost hats off to Grace Brethren. Those guys battled unbelievably. They’ve got some young guys that are going to be good for a long time. So Coach Henderson and that team, hats off to you guys. Great job.”

NOTES: Grace Brethren struck first with a 43-yard TD run by freshman Seven McGee for a 7-0 lead with 6:41 left in the opening quarter. … Justin Sinclair blocked a Grace Brethren punt, giving St. Francis the ball at Grace Brethren’s 31. Three plays later, Reed Vettel connected with Evan J. Williams for a 29-yard TD pass. Lucas Andrighetto hit Junior Fehoko on a busted play for the 2-point conversion, giving St. Francis an 8-7 lead over Grace Brethren with 7:19 left in the half. … St. Francis started its next drive at Grace Brethren’s 29 after coming up with a huge stop on fourth down. Darrell Page’s 26-yard run set up Opeti Fangupo’s 1-yard TD run and St. Francis had a 15-7 lead with 3:57 left in the half. … Freshman QB Michael Zele hooked up with Jermel Jones, a Long Beach Poly transfer, for a 72-yard TD pass to help Grace Brethren cut it to 15-13 with 2:29 left in the half. Grace Brethren’s 2-point conversion attempt failed. … After Vettel’s TD pass to Williams gave St. Francis the 22-13 lead, Grace Brethren still had 1 minute and 46 seconds to try and make something happen, but any comeback hopes ended when St. Francis’ Lucas Andrighetto picked off Zele with 59 seconds left to seal the victory. … Page finished with 88 yards on 25 carries, Reed was 6 of 10 passing for 78 yards and two TDs with no interceptions and Williams had tw catches for 32 yards and two TDs for St. Francis. … McGee had 13 carries for 69 yards and a TD, Lontrelle Diggs had nine carries for 27 yards, Jones had two catches for 80 yards and a TD and Zele completed 3 of 13 passes for 95 yards and a TD with an interception for Grace Brethren, which was making its first appearance in the state finals. …

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