Bishop Diego gets it done in the first half

A strong first-half performance was enough for Bishop Diego to take care of Santa Clara in a Frontier League football game Friday night.

Quarterback Nolan Tisdale ran for a touchdown and passed for one, and Mike Morando kicked a school-record 49-yard field goal in the first half to lead the Cardinals to a 17-6 victory at La Playa Stadium.

The third straight victory sets up a first-place showdown next Saturday against Grace Brethren at La Playa.

Bishop Diego quarterback Nolan Tisdale ran for a touchdown and connected with Vince Figueroa for another on Friday.

Coming off back-to-back blowout wins, Bishop Diego (4-2, 2-0) appeared headed for another one on Friday. It dominated the Saints in the first half, holding them to just four yards of offense.

The Cardinals scored on their opening drive, going 65 yards on six plays. Tisdale ran over from the 1 for a 6-0 lead.

The Cardinals’ defense twice stopped the Saints on three-and-out before Morando nailed his long field goal for 9-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

Bishop Diego put together an impressive 16-play, 77-yard drive to start the second quarter but it couldn’t get in the end zone as Santa Clara’s defense stopped fullback Bruce Garcia at the 1-foot line.

The Cardinals quickly got the ball back as their defense, led by Dakotah Sutton, again forced the Saints to punt after three downs. Behind the running of Jack Gregson and Brandon Gonzalez, they drove to the 6, where on second-and-1 Tisdale rolled out and hit Vince Figueroa in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Gonzalez, on a halfback option play, passed to Reese Moulton for the two-point conversion and a 17-0 halftime lead.

The Cardinals’ offense bogged down in the second half.

“I don’t know really what it was,” coach Tom Crawford said. “It was very interesting. I thought in the first half we played pretty well on both sides of the ball and really the score should have been a bigger differential at halftime.

“I wouldn’t say we lost focus, because we played solid defensively the entire game. Certainly on the few offensive possessions we had in the second half penalties put us back, we dropped the ball and fumbled the ball on a toss. It seemed like anytime we got a positive play we were kind of going backwards, which we hadn’t done in the last two games.”

Tisdale blamed the second-half letdown on mental mistakes.

“We definitely have a lot of things we need to improve on before Grace Brethren and if we improve on those things, I think we will win,” said the quarterback.

Bishop Diego's Brandon Gonzalez watches his blockers create space for him.

Santa Clara (1-6, 0-2) played better in the second half. After getting pushed around by the Cardinals, the Saints pushed back, which pleased coach Tim Gutierrez.

“If we start the game in the second half, it’s a good ballgame,” he said. “When the defense sometimes faces adversity, they don’t handle it like I want them to. In the first half, our defense was on the field way too long. We had maybe 10 snaps in the first half on offense. We just can’t do that.”

The Saints allowed 230 yards the first half and 78 yards in the second.

Their offense got going, too. Held to just four yards in the first two periods. the Saints gained 160 yards in the second half. Quarterback Scott Koen completed 6 of 15 passes for 137 yards, including a 54-yard bomb to Antwain Galloway that set up Rian Baylock’s 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

“When you’re down 17-0 at halftime it can be discouraging,” Gutierrez said. “Our defense rallied, our team rallied and we had a great second half.

“I hope in the future we can show up to ballgames at 7:30, not 8:30 or 9 o’clock.”

Crawford credited Santa Clara for stepping up its play in the second half, but he noted his team wasn’t as sharp and should have been more patient on offense.

“In a game like this, you’ve got to be patient and I think at times we maybe tried to go for a little bit too much instead of taking what was available to us,” he said. “Against good teams you can’t do it that way, you got to be satisfied with moving the chains and the big plays, if they come, they’ll come. You have to do more like we did in the first half, like control the ball and take what they were giving us.”

Playing against a defense designed to stop the run, Gonzalez still managed to gain 109 yards on 14 carries and Gregson added 61 yards on 9 rushes.

Tisdale completed 10 of 15 passes for 85 yards. His top target was Bruce Garcia with five catches for 39 yards.

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BISHOP DIEGO 17, SANTA CLARA 6

Santa Clara…0 0 0 6 — 6
Bishop Diego…9 8 0 0 — 17

First quarter
BD — Tisdale 1 run (kick failed), 9:28
BD — FG 49, Morando, 1:50
Second quarter
BD—Figueroa 6 pass from Tisdale (Gonzalez pass to Moulton), :34
Fourth quarter
SC—Baylock 1 run (kick failed), 9:53

…SC BD
First Downs… 7 16
Rushes-Yards… 25-27 38-188
Passing yards… 137 91
Total yards… 164 279
Passes (att-comp-int)…6-15-0 11-16-0
Fumbles-lost…2-0 2-0
Penalties-yards…5-40 8-65

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING—SC: Koen 15-8, Chavez 5-8, Chong 1-2, Galloway 1-2, Baylock 2-3, Yoro 1-4. BD: Gonzalez 14-109, Gregson 9-61, B. Garcia 5-31, Saucier 1-5, P. Garcia 2-12.
PASSING—SC: Koen 6-15-0, 137. BD: Tisdale 10-15-0, 85; P. Garcia 1-1-0, 6.
RECEIVING—SC: Galloway 3-98, Chong 2-17, Yoro 1-12. BD: P. Garcia 3-23, B. Garcia 5-39, B. Gonzalez 1-16, Figueroa 2-13

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