St. Vincent grabs share of NCL II title

St. Vincent's George Sammon (33) runs through the Calistoga defense, chased by Calistoga's Dylan Alvarado on Saturday.  (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)

St. Vincent’s George Sammon (33) runs through the Calistoga defense, chased by Calistoga’s Dylan Alvarado on Saturday.
(ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)


PETALUMA — Derek Murphy ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as St. Vincent High claimed a share of the North Central League II/Bay League football title.

Murphy, a senior who had 37 carries, led the Mustangs to a 27-14 win over previously undefeated Calistoga.

Both teams end 5-1 in league with St. Vincent claiming the automatic North Coast Section Division 5 playoff berth.

“Our offensive line was just awesome,” Murphy said.

St. Vincent head coach Gary Galloway said it was the offense, that built a 20-7 halftime lead and finished with 309 total yards, that earned a share of the title.

“It was our best offensive performance of the whole season,” he said. “It was the best our offensive line has played and the best our quarterback read the defense . . . and the best downfield blocking by our receivers. It was a total team effort offensively.”

Calistoga was hurt by 15 penalties for 100 yards that killed drive after drive.

Star Dylan Alvarado rushed 27 times for 123 yards and caught 7 passes for 119. Even his gaining 242 of the Wildcats’ 368 total yards wasn’t enough to overcome mistakes.

“I knew it would be a close game, but“I wasn’t expecting the penalties,” Alvarado said. “That hasn’t been a problem this year before. Every time we started to gain some momentum, we’d make some stupid mistake.”

Calistoga scored first on Alvarado’s 6-yard run. Danny Alfaro’s kick followed.

The Mustangs raced to the lead, sandwiching two scoring drives around Austin Salizzzoni’s pass interception.

A facemask penalty and an 8-yard pass completion from Jack Richardson to Patrick Garcia set up Murphy’s 7-yard scoring run, to cut the gap to 7-6.

Salizzoni’s interception came on Calistoga’s next play from scrimmage to give the Mustangs the ball at the Wildcats’ 25.

Murphy capped a drive with a 4-yard run behind big blocks from Jordan Pech and Jack Gatfield. Richardson’s kick gave the Mustangs a 13-7 lead with 17 seconds left in the first period.

St. Vincent’s defense couldn’t stop Alvarado, but did control Calistoga’s attack.

“We knew that Alvarado’s a great running back,” said junior linebacker Sean Healy, who finished with 12 tackles. “We had to play unselfishly on defense and make sure everybody got in on every tackle.”

St. Vincent took possession at its 44 with 3:43 left in the half. Murphy later took a handoff and bounced out around left end. He cut back, through two lunging Wildcats, then outran the defense 44 yards for a score. It was 20-7 at halftime.

“We knew our defense would be solid,” Murphy said. “We just needed our offense to play well and get points on the board.”

Calistoga’s Timmy Montanez returned the second half kickoff 41 yards to the St. Vincent 38.

Alvarado had seven carries before Orion Harrell threw a 6-yard scoring strike in the front, right corner of the end zone to Alfaro. The Wildcats trailed 20-14 with 8:06 to go in the third quarter.

Things got sloppy from there, with St. Vincent committing all five of its penalties and losing two fumbles.

“You can never figure out the turnovers or when they’ll happen,” Galloway said. “You can’t anticipate penalties. I knew we could play good defense.”

That defense turned Calistoga away after Alfaro recovered both fumbles. Linebacker Zach Stichler had nine tackles.

Calistoga’s defense crowded the line of scrimmage to slow Murphy in the second half. Then, on second down-and-14, Richardson found wide-open Garcia cutting to the post. The resulting 33-yard TD pass, and Richardson’s kick, gave St. Vincent a 27-14 edge with 9:58 remaining in regulation.

The total yardage numbers are deceiving. Harrell finished with 212 yards passing, but most came late with St. Vincent allowing short completions. and pressured Harrell late.

North Coast Section playoff pairings will be determined today.

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