By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PETALUMA — St. Vincent shut down Tomales’ high-scoring offense and running back Derek Murphy had a career-best game as the Mustangs defeated the visiting Braves, 34-0, Saturday afternoon.
Tomales came into the contest averaging 41 points and hadn’t scored fewer than two touchdowns while compiling a 5-2 record.
When the St. Vincent defense wasn’t thwarting the vaunted Tomales running game, Murphy was picking up big yardage. The 160-pound junior carried the ball 16 times for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns
After the onslaught, Tomales coach Leon Feliciano could only shake his head.
“The way St. Vincent played, I’d say they’re the best team we’ve faced,” he said. “They did everything well. They were a lot more athletic than we were. All I can say is it was a bad loss.”
The victory keeps St. Vincent’s hopes of winning North Central League II alive. The Mustangs, California School for the Deaf and Upper Lake are 4-1 and each team has two games remaining.
St. Vincent scored on its first two possessions. Murphy culminated an 87-yard drive with a 16-yard run. The second TD came on a 20-yard pass from Mitch Sheppard to Mike Carroll.
Murphy’s other TDs came in the third quarter, both from four yards out.
“Our offensive line showed up to play,” Murphy said. “They gave the backfield the time we needed to make the option work.”
Most of Murphy’s yardage came on wide runs. He had 118 by halftime.
In his last four games, Murphy has scored a dozen times.
“Murphy also did an outstanding job on defense,” his coach Gary Galloway said. “I thought he and Mike Carroll were our leaders.”
Murphy had eight tackles, a sack, a blocked pass and a fumble recovery. Carroll had a career-high 14 tackles.
Anthony Felciano, who came into the came averaging 151 yards per game, was held to 122 on 22 touches.
Tomales only had 205 rushing yards, 109 below its average.
St. Vincent picked up a season-high 303 yards on the ground. George Sammon also had a big rushing afternoon. He gained 130, 77 coming on a run that set up the game’s final TD. The sophomore then scored from seven yards out.
The game had its casualties. For Tomales, Brennan Potts (right arm) and Cody Titus (elbow) were hurt in the first half. St. Vincent’s Sean Healy suffered a leg injury before intermission.
St. Vincent, 6-2 overall, ends the season with road games at Upper Lake and Calistoga. Tomales, 3-2 in league, hosts Calistoga on Friday and finishes with a trip to Upper Lake.