Bishop Diego has too many weapons for Carpinteria, 33-7

Bishop Diego's John Harris hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Stovesand in the third quarter.

Bishop Diego’s John Harris hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Spencer Stovesand in the third quarter. Tim Jimenez defense for Carpinteria. (Presidio Sports photo)

The touchdowns came on the ground, through the air, on special teams and on defense for Bishop Diego’s football team Thursday night.

In a complete-game performance, the CIF Northern Division fourth-ranked Cardinals overpowered rival Carpinteria, 33-7, at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. The win improves their record to 9-0 and clinches a CIF playoff spot out of the four-team Tri-Valley League with a 2-0 mark. A win over Nordhoff next Friday would give them the overall league title.

Bishop’s potent running attack of Danny Molina, Abel Gonzalez and John Harris was too much for Carpinteria’s defense to handle. The trio combined for 200 yards rushing on 19 carries. Molina, the leading ballcarrier with 85 yards on six carries, scored the rushing TD on a 3-yard run in the second quarter.

Quarterback Spencer Stovesand threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Brosnan and a 5 yarder to Harris.

The special team’s TD came courtesy of AV Bennett. He returned the second-half kickoff 82 yards for a score, putting the Cardinals ahead 19-0. Matt Shotwell scored for the defense, intercepting a pass and returning it 60 yards early in the fourth quarter.

“It was actually nice to see all aspects of the game contribute to the victory,” Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford said. “That’s kind of nice. There’s been  games we won with just defense, some games we’ve won being able to run the ball and not throw ball and there’s a game we won throwing but not running. It was nice to see things come together.”

Carpinteria quarterback Jimmy Graves gets rid of a pass while being pressured by  Bishop Diego's Matt Shotwell.

Carpinteria quarterback Jimmy Graves gets rid of a pass while being pressured by Bishop Diego’s Matt Shotwell.

Shotwell picked off two passes from his linebacker position, made eight tackles, caught a pass on offense, rushed for 14 yards and provided lead blocks as the fullback. His all-around performance earned him the G.I. Forum Award as the MVP of the rivalry game.

“He has reason to be tired after a game like that because he worked really hard from start to finish,” said Crawford of Shotwell.

Shotwell was itching to get an interception, and he ended up with two.

“I hadn’t had an interception all year. I was just looking for it, wanting it really bad,” he said. “Nothing beats that second one, taking it all the way.”

Shotwell and fellow linebacker Isaac Salcedo were instrumental in stuffing Carpinteria’s option attack. The two dished out some heavy hits on the Warrior running backs and quarterback.

“We like to call ourselves partners in crime,” Shotwell said. “We read our keys really well, we have a good awareness and a nose for the ball.”

Carpinteria’s Tim Jimenez intercepted a pass to thwart a Bishop Diego drive in the first quarter. But the Warriors were stopped by Bishop’s defense and forced to punt. The Cardinals took over at their 26. On a third-and-12, Stovesand hit Harris on a 47-yard pass play. Two plays later, Stovesand hooked up with Brosnan for a 30-yard score with 42 seconds left in the quarter.

Up until that point, Carpinteria’s defense slowed Bishop’s run game.

“That was our No. 1 priority, we wanted to try to stop that inside toss game that they run,” Carpinteria coach Ben Hallock said “I thought we did a pretty good job of that and then they went wide like they did last year. We didn’t do as well stopping the outside stuff. And, of course, we gave up the two big passes, which was not part of the plan. We weren’t supposed to give up anything deep or big plays. We thought if we could keep them from big plays, we could stop them.”

Danny Molina of Bishop Diego scores on a 3-yard run.

Danny Molina of Bishop Diego scores on a 3-yard run.

The Cardinals went exclusively on the ground on their next possession. In a four -play sequence, Shotwell ran for 14 yards, Harris followed with a 13-yard run, Molina broke off tackle for 20 yards and Gonzalez rushed for eight yards to put the ball at the Carpinteria 3. Molina finished with the touchdown for a 13-0 lead with 8:22 left in the second quarter.

“We held it there for a little while,” said Hallock.

Crawford noted the difficulty defenses have in trying to  slow  his team’s running game.

“We’ve been so fortunate, we’ve had such quality running backs for the past few years. And these three guys (Molina, Gonzalez and Harris), they’re almost a three-headed monster in terms of the way they don’t give defenses a break. Coach (Steve) Robles does such a nice job of rotating them, they stay fresh. I think it’s tough on defenses because the three guys all have the potential for a big play.”

Bishop was on the move again near the end of the half but the drive stalled at the 17 and the Cardinals missed a 35-yard field goal.

That left Carpinteria with some hope.

That hope, however, was crushed when Bennett returned the second-half for a back-breaking touchdown and a 19-0 lead.

Shotwell recorded his first interception and Bishop capitalized on the turnover with another touchdown, a 5-yard pass from Stovesand to Harris to make it 26-0

Carpinteria avoided being shut out for the third straight game by getting a 13-yard touchdown run by Rudy Beltran late in the fourth quarter. The Warriors fell to 4-5 overall and 0-2 in the TVL.

Bishop Diego…7  6  13  7 — 33

Carpinteria…0   0   0  7 —  7

First Quarter

BD—Brosnan 30 pass from Stovesand, Vemo kick, :42

Second Quarter

BD—Molina 3 run, kick failed, 8:27

Third Quarter

BD—Bennett 82 kickoff return, kick failed, 11:45

BD—Harris 5 pass from Stovesand, Vemo kick, 8:43

Fourth Quarter

BD—Shotwell 60 interception return, Vemo kick, 10:11

C—Beltran 13 run, Martinez kick, 3:02