Soracco, special teams fuel Bishop Diego’s win

Bishop Diego's Michael Soracco makes a cut downfield in Friday's game. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports Photos)

Bishop Diego’s Michael Soracco makes a cut downfield in Friday’s game. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports Photos)


Special teams and a heavy dose of Michael Soracco was a winning formula for Bishop Diego on Friday night as the Cardinals blasted visiting Immanuel, the No. 1 team in the Central Section’s Division 5, 43-20.

Two special teams plays in the first half turned the tide after Immanuel scored first to take a 6-0 lead. The Cardinals set up their first touchdown when Julian Tico blocked a punt in Eagles territory.  Immanuel threatened to regain the lead again on its next possession but instead of three points on a field goal, AV Bennett was able to block the kick and Tommy Murillo picked it up and ran it all the way back down the field for another Cardinals touchdown.

Bennett and Murillo, Bishop Diego’s fastest players, saw an opportunity and pounced.

“On their first extra point, you could tell we could block one. Both AV and Tommy were all over that and then it was a foot race,” said Cardinals head coach Tom Crawford. “But whenever you can take points away from them and get that sudden change when you’re putting points up, it’s really a dagger.”

Bishop Diego took its 14-6 lead into halftime.

Soracco helped wear down the Eagles, taking 24 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

“We knew they were going to come out throwing and I think we adjusted how we were going to play defense. But we knew on offense we were going to try and wear them out by running the ball the whole game,” Soracco said.

Soracco handled 24 carries and took it upon himself to tire out the Eagles defensive unit.

“I love getting hit. Every time I get hit it just feels better and better because it gives me more feel.”

His highlight was a 62-yard TD run on which he was caught from behind at the 10-yard line but broke away from the tackle and dove across the goal line. He said it was his favorite run of the night.

Cardinals sophomore Will Goodwin celebrates Bishop's safety in the third quarter.

Cardinals sophomore Will Goodwin celebrates Bishop’s safety in the third quarter.

“I usually run out of gas fast but I knew he was coming from behind and I knew I could shake him off and get into the end zone,” Soracco said.

His other scoring runs came from two yards and a 22-yarder.

Bishop Diego was the definition of a run-first team. Starting quarterback Spencer Stovesand attempted only six passes in the game. Stovesand’s one touchdown was a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter. Backup QB David Gladish came on in the fourth quarter and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Matt Shotwell on a 4th-down play.  The TD catch made the score 43-14.

Besides special teams, Bishop Diego benefited from a safety caused by a bad snap into the end zone that Immanuel quarterback Caleb Paulson had to fall on. Tico made another great play in the second half, forcing a fumble by Paulson that was recovered Michael Agnoli.

Immanuel’s Paulson threw two touchdown passes but was held in check for the most part. The senior QB has 14 touchdowns in seven games for the Eagles.

“I think we played pretty good defense throughout,” Crawford said. “That kid is a pretty prolific thrower.”

Kyle Dunigan scored Immanuel’s rushing touchdown, which came with 9:10 in the fourth quarter, on a one-yard run.

It was Immanuel’s first loss of the season while Bishop Diego improves to 7-0.