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CSD defense stifles St. Vincent

Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.

St. Vincent ran into an overwhelming offensive effort by the California School for the Deaf on a warm Saturday afternoon at Yarborough Field, and the Mustangs dropped a 44-17 decision in North Central League II/Bay Football League play.

The Mustangs could not contain the quickness of the Eagle offense led by running back Brian Freeman, who ran for touchdowns on plays covering 54 and 62 yards. In the open field, Freeman was nearly unstoppable for St. Vincent defenders, who could not get squared up to stop the elusive halfback.

“They have a good team to be sure,” said St. Vincent coach Gary Galloway. “That running back (Freeman) has made plays earlier this season, and he is a handful if he gets in the open. We saw them twice earlier, and they present problems offensively.”

Freeman was not the entire offensive threat for the Eagles. Quarterback Carlos Lopez also had a notable game, spotting a variety of receivers on both long and short routes. He finished with four touchdown throws.

St. Vincent quarterback Mitch Sheppard was able to move the Mustang offense effectively into good field position on its first two series, and it resulted in a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

A fumble recovery set up the Mustangs on the CSD 39-yard line, and it took only seven plays to punch it in. Running back Derek Murphy was able to grind out tough yardage up the middle on four plays to set up the score.

Sheppard then completed his eighth pass of the first quarter when he scrambled to both sides of the field before spotting Patrick Garcia in the right corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Garcia kept working after his shorter route was not open, and he finally found some open space near the sideline.

The visiting Eagles then ran off 20 unanswered points, including the 54 on an effort by Freeman that was aided by a crunching open-field block, prior to halftime.

The Mustangs finally answered after a big rush forced a poor punt in CSD territory.

Short tosses to Arman Yektaparist and Zach Smith got the ball inside the 10-yard line, but the Mustangs got no further, and they settled for a 22-yard field goal by Sheppard before intermission.

After the teams returned to open the second half, St. Vincent managed to pin CSD into a difficult third-down situation with 31 yards to go for a first down. Then, on the most pivotal play of the game, Lopez scrambled to both sides of the field, and chose to tuck the ball and run for as much yardage as he could get. Several Mustangs had a crack at the streaking Lopez, but he picked up the first down with a terrific 38-yard run down the right sideline, and the scoring drive was kept alive.

Lopez then connected with Jacy Pedersen-Dike on a touchdown throw of 16 yards to complete the march.

St. Vincent countered by driving 71 yards for a score on the next possession. Five completions by Sheppard moved the ball into CSD territory. Sheppard then spotted an open Smith on a route down the middle, and the wide receiver scampered 40 yards to complete the scoring play.

The Mustangs got no closer as the quicker Eagles dominated play in the late going with a couple of touchdowns and a 20-yard field goal by Conner Baer.

Sheppard finished with 215 passing yards, connecting with six different receivers. Yektaparast and Carroll combined for 11 catches totaling 93 yards.

Murphy had a difficult day finding openings up front, but managed 95 hard-earned yards on 18 carries.

CSD dominated ball possession most of the way, rolling up 523 combined running and passing yards. Pedersen-Dike caught two touchdown passes for the Eagles as them improved to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. CSD hosts Tomales on Friday in a battle of top Division V teams in the North Coast Section.

Mustang defenders Jason Pech, Michael Carroll and Alexander Jacamo all had good defensive moments, but most of the stops came after successful CSD running plays.

St. Vincent slipped to 3-2 for the season and 1-1 in league play. The Mustang varsity will travel to Oakland on Saturday afternoon to face St. Elizabeth.

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