Cougar Comeback

Calvary Christian’s Sean Lally (left) moves in to tackle St. Matthew’s runner Keck MacIver, whose interception led to a Falcons score.
Photos By RICH SCHMITT, Staff Photographer

Calvary Christian Stuns St. Matthew’s to Capture Pacific Basin League Flag Football Title

Story By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

Neighborhood bragging rights were at stake last Thursday when St. Matthew’s traveled to Calvary Christian to decide the Pacific Basin League’s 6th-grade flag football championship—and the game was every bit as hardfought and drama-filled as one might expect between evenly-matched crosstown rivals. In the end, the host Cougars prevailed, 21-20, after trailing 20-0 at halftime against a Falcons squad determined to avenge an 18-6 loss in league play October 3.    

St. Matthew’s threatened on its first possession as a 35-yard pass from Hayden Prince to Keck MacIver gave the Falcons a first-and-goal. However, Jack Thomas intercepted a pass in the end zone to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. In the second quarter, MacIver tipped a pass to Andrew Kibler for an interception, then caught a tipped ball himself to get St. Matthew’s to the 1-yard line. Prince threw to Logan Afifi for the first points of the game. Charlie Kline pulled a flag in the end zone for safety at the 4:48 mark of the second quarter to give the Falcons an 8-0 lead and on the ensuing drive Prince fired a 40-yard strike to Sean Findley to make it 14-0. After Thomas and MacIver traded interceptions Prince was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled 45 yards for a touchdown as time expired to put St. Matthew’s up 20-0.

Calvary Christian’s Jack Thomas returns a kickoff in the first half as Logan Afifi of St. Matthew’s tries for the tackle.

Calvary Christian came out for the second half with renewed energy, scoring on a 10-yard pass from Thomas to Matthew O’Connor to pull within 14 points. Another interception got the Cougars the ball back and Curran Pendergraft capped the next drive with a five-yard run. The two-point conversion made it 20-14 late in the third quarter. Findley intercepted a pass for a touchback early in the fourth quarter and the Falcons marched deep into Calvary Christian territory before the drive stalled. The Cougars scored on a hook and lateral to Jack Redmon and added the extra point to take a 21-20 lead with 3:06 left. St. Matthew’s drove inside the 10 with under a minute left but turned it over on downs and Coach Chris Baele’s Cougars ran out the clock.

Griffin Boccella, Declan Childress, Jack Momtazee, Jack Morse, Brendan O’Malley and Teddy Rowan contributed for the Falcons, coached by Ben Juergens and Rob Risley. Contributing for the Cougars were Nico Quilici, Alex Outcalt, Grady Winget, Sean Lally, Luke Connon, Mikey Garcia, Matthew Sun and Campbell Lang. Calvary Christian’s 8th-graders also won the title, beating Westside Neighborhood in the finals.