Bishop Diego Passes Stiff Test With 13-3 Victory Over St. Bonaventure

When private school powerhouses Bishop Diego and St.
Bonaventure face off against each other it simply means more than your typical
non-league contest.

The Cardinals warmed up in their classic home red uniforms
before switching to brand new all-black uniforms in the locker room just before
gametime. The wardrobe theatrics worked as Bishop Diego controlled the line of
scrimmage and came away with a 13-3 victory over the visiting Seraphs on Friday
night at La Playa Stadium.

“That was their idea,” said Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford
of his players changing uniforms. “I just said to them as long as the fashion
show doesn’t interfere with your focus it’s OK.”

Senior running back Adrian Soracco took the challenge of
defeating St. Bonaventure personally after sitting out with an injury during
last seasons 27-3 loss.  He rushed for
145 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.

“In the beginning they were closing in on our line, kind of
something that we didn’t see last week when we played Cabrillo,” Soracco said. “As
the game went on we started to tire them out. Our lineman kept improving while
their d-linemen got tired and the more the game went on the more the holes
opened up.”

Early season jitters were evident for both teams at the
outset. Bishop Diego junior quarterback Buddy Melgoza fumbled on the third play
of the game setting up the Seraphs with excellent field position at Bishop
Diego’s 30-yard line.

However, the Cardinals held defensively and St. Bonaventure was forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Simon Hernandez to take a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

In just the second start of his career after suffering a knee injury that wiped out his entire sophomore season, Melgoza gained confidence as the game progressed  and led the Cardinals on a 15-play, 92–yard drive that spanned the majority of the second quarter.

On the drive, Melgoza converted a 2nd-and-16 with a 19-yard
pass to Sam Mikeale as well as 3rd-and-11 with a 14-yard pass to Ben Boeddeker.
Three plays later Soracco gave Bishop Diego it’s first lead, 6-3, with a one-yard
touchdown plunge at the 4:25 mark of the second quarter.

The Cardinals added to their lead on the second drive of the
second half with nine-play, 65-yard march down the field that was capped off by
a one-yard quarterback sneak by Melgoza that increased the lead to 13-3. With 7:19
remaining in the third quarter.

From that point on the Bishop Diego defense took over and harassed
St. Bonaventure quarterback Gavin Beerup. The Wyoming commit was 6-for-14
passing for 65 yards.

Photo: Victor BryantJ.J. Fuller #51 blitzes up the middle for a key sack of Gavin Beerup.

The Seraphs were forced to turn the ball over on downs on
consecutive fourth quarter possesions that ended with sacks of Beerup. The
first time a swarm of Bishop Diego defenders led by freshman Sue’ Luamanu
collapsed the pocket. The second sack came on a well-timed blitz up the middle
by J.J. Fuller. 

Zac Lopez was also a key contributor on the defensive line
as he celebrated his 18th birthday in the St. Bonaventure backfield.

The road won’t get any easier for Bishop Diego as the
Cardinals will travel to Lompoc on Friday for another non-league test.

The post Bishop Diego Passes Stiff Test With 13-3 Victory Over St. Bonaventure appeared first on The Santa Barbara Independent.

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