“We couldn’t stop their passing attack,” Aguirre said. “They adjusted to our defenses.”
Partyka ran the ball effectively as well, gaining 78 yards in 15 carries and a touchdown.
The passing attack of the Mariners (2-4, 0-2), however, was as dominant as the Bell-Jeff rushing attack. But even through Partyka and company marched up and down the field, the Guards’ three-headed rushing attack answered every touchdown with one of its own.
“They were passing like crazy, and we were running like crazy,” Aguirre said.
Partyka completed the ball to six receivers. Daniel White led the way, catching five passes for 96 yards, and Tommy Murray had seven receptions for 70 yards.
For the Guards, Micah Shirley carried the ball 15 times for 177 yards, including the game-clinching 30-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds remaining in the game — his second rushing touchdown of the night.
Alex Davidians had 128 yards in 13 carries with a touchdown and Abdo Hajj also chipped in with two touchdowns.
“Their running game was superb tonight,” St. Monica Coach Larry Muno said. “They had us guessing all game.”
Overall, the Guards’ offense was able to score a touchdown on six of their 11 possessions, as it kept the Mariners trailing throughout.
Bell-Jeff jumped out to a 22-7 lead after Shirley intercepted a Partyka pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
With 14 seconds left before halftime, Partyka found Kyle Farber for a 13-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 28-21. The score capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive.
The fourth quarter saw a slew of touchdowns. A pair of Bell-Jeff rushing touchdowns from starting quarterback Brenden Alferez and Hajj gave the Guards their largest lead of the game, 41-21.
However, Partyka came back with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Young. The score, along with an eight-yard rushing touchdown, brought the Mariners back to within a touchdown.
Then, with the Guards trying to kill the clock, Shirley broke a couple tackles and ran for a 30-yard bolt into the end zone.