Prep Impressions: Sept. 18, 2009
I covered the San Bernardino Aquinas-Riverside Notre Dame varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 for the Riverside Press-Enterprise and came away thinking that parochial football isn’t exciting enough for my taste.
The best players on each team seem to do EVERYTHING — play quarterback, stong-side safety, punt and return kicks — and they don’t always do it well.
View video of the game here.
Take the QBs in Friday’s game — Aquinas’ Jim Jones and Notre Dame’s Chris Lopez. Both seniors, Jones (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) and Lopez (6-0, 180) play in similar, spread option offenses. They had markedly different results.
Jones threw five incomplete passes to start the game but found success on the sixth attempt when he found junior receiver Shaquille Gilbert (6-4, 197) over the middle for the Falcons’ first touchdown. He and the Falcons offense struggled in the second half and gained only 58 yards. He finished 6 of 17 with one interception. He did returns punts with some ability, gaining 67 yards on four returns.
Lopez, on the other hand, was sharp on short passes and racked up completions (14) and first downs (8) to help keep the Titans offense moving. He didn’t throw the long ball particularly well — missing on any attempt of more than 20 yards – but did not miss on wideout screens or 5-yard dumps. Most importantly, he engineered an 8-play scoring drive to begin the second half that doused any energy Aquinas had gotten back at halftime.
What no one outside the Notre Dame program will notice is that Lopez led the Titans to the game-securing drive without senior running back Will Smith (6-3, 208), who turned his ankle with about five minutes left in the second quarter. Smith, who rushed for 117 yards in the Titans’ 21-10 win over Desert Hot Springs in Week 1, started slow but gained 54 yards on 10 first-half carries before limping off the field near halftime.
Seniors Matt Argueta (5-8, 160) and Dominic Tenette ( for 5-5, 170) picked up for Smith, combining to rush 18 yards and a touchdown (Argueta) on six carries to close out the first half.
Notre Dame’s defense appeared to have the physical edge but recorded only one sack. Senior lineman Wade Smith (6-2, 245) found his way to Jones, sacking him for a four a 12-yard loss in the fourth quarter.