Jack Gregson scored on the first play from scrimmage, added two more touchdowns and rushed for 129 yards before going out with a knee injury, and Bishop Diego overcome a pile of penalties in beating Santa Ynez 43-15 in a non-league football game Saturday night at La Playa Stadium.
The 2-0 Cardinals, ranked No. 2 in the CIF Northwest Division, scored on their first three possessions of the game and built a 31-7 lead by halftime.
They weren’t as sharp in the second half, getting whistled for several penalties. For the game, they were flagged 16 times for 141 yards.
“Early on, I thought we played with energy and throughout the game we were our own worst enemy in terms of penalties and so forth,” Bishop coach Tom Crawford said. “We overcame those enough in the first half to get the lead. We saw some other guys make some big plays during the first half as well.”
Bishop’s defenders came up with some of those big plays. Defensive back Troy Skinner intercepted quarterback Brock Dickey to set up a touchdown; end Nolan Tooley picked off a screen pass and inside linebacker Christian Pearson denied the Pirates with a pick at the 1-yard line just before halftime. The Cardinals also pressured the Pirates into a safety in the third quarter.
Bishop, which suffered its only regular season loss against the Pirates in last year’s 11-2 season, stunned the visitors on the first play of the game. Gregson ran off 6-5, 260-pound right tackle Joe Salcedo and busted loose for a 55-yard touchdown run.
“He demonstrated his speed,” Crawford said. “When that hppens so quick in a contest, obviously it’s a big confidence boost for your guys.”
Gregson scored again on a 2-yard run to make it 12-0 at 4:14 of the first quarter. The Cardinals missed a PAT kick and a two-point conversion after the touchdowns.
After Skinner’s interception, Aidan Williams bolted through the Santa Ynez defense for a 29-yard touchdown run. Another missed PAT left the score 18-0 with 2:40 to go in the first quarter.
Santa Ynez (0-2) capitalized on a Bishop pass interference penalty to score its first touchdown of the season. Running back Alec Hanna ran over from 2 yards out and Nick Neilsen kicked the point-after to make it 18-7.
Bishop responded with its fourth touchdown of the first half. BJ Murillo returned the kickoff 53 yards and eight plays later quarterback Anthony Carter scored on a nifty 20-yard run. He made a quick pivot in the backfield and sprinted through a hole off the left guard. The Cardinals failed on their fourth PAT attempt for a 24-7 lead.
On Santa Ynez’s next possession, Tooley read a screen pass and made the interception. That set up Gregson’s third touchdown, a 24-yarder. He swept right and cut up field, leaving everyone behind. Gregson converted the PAT kick to make it 31-7 at 2:02 of the second quarter.
Dickey got hot throwing the ball for Santa Ynez, completing passes to Brendan Holmes and Chase Cathcart to move the ball to the Bishop 6 with 22 seconds left before halftime. But Pearson kept the Pirates out of the end zone with his interception at the 1.
“We didn’t play a bad first half moving the ball,” Santa Ynez coach Josh McClurg said. “(Bishop Diego) big-played us, definitely. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes on defense.
We’re a young team and we’re showing it.”
Santa Ynez created another scoring opportunity after Tyler Mullen recovered a Bishop Diego fumble at the Cardinal 44 early in the third quarter. The Pirates got down to the 8 before trying a field-goal. On the kick, Salcedo looked like a basketball player, swatting the ball to the ground.
“It sucks going down and leaving a couple of scores on the board when you’re knocking on the door,” McClurg said. “There were big swings in the game.”
Bishop suffered a blow early in the fourth quarter when Gregson hurt his knee while being tackled for a 1-yard loss.
Gregson left the game with 129 yards rushing on 12 carries and three TDs.
The Cardinals turned to Abel Gonzalez and his runs helped set up a 32-yard field goal by Brosnan for a 34-7 lead with 8:10 left in the game.
Santa Ynez capitalized on a Bishop fumble and another pass interference penalty to score its second touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Dickey to Jacob Pritchard.
Dickey completed 15 of 29 passes for 130 yards.
“He’s a young quarterback and we have young receivers,” McClurg said. “We came out in the second half, made some adjustments, saw where we wanted to go. It was there. Brock started feeling a little more confident.”
Unfortunately for Dickey and the Pirates, they took a hit when bad snap from the 11-yard line forced the quarterback to fall on the ball in the end zone for a safety.
Bishop scored again after the ensuing kickoff. Gonzalez found a hole off right tackle and turned on the afterburners for a 55-yard touchdown run.
BISHOP DIEGO 43, SANTA YNEZ 15
Santa Ynez…0 7 0 8 — 15
Bishop Diego…18 13 0 12 — 43
BD—Gregson 53 run (kick failed)
BD—Gregson 2 run (pass failed)
BD—Williams 29 run (pass failed)
SY—Hanna 2 run (Neilsen kick)
BD—Carter 20 run (kick failed)
BD—Gregson 24 run (Gregson kick)
BD—FG, Brosnan, 32 yards
SY—Pritchard 3 pass from Dickey (Armenta run)
BD—Safety, SY falls on bad snap in end zone
BD—Gonzalez 55 run (Brosnan kick)