The game began with a Bell-Jeff turnover on the first play from scrimmage, when quarterback Chris Issakhanian fumbled at the Guards' 15-yard line. It ended in the midst of a furious late-game rally when Micah Shirley was intercepted by St. Monica defensive back Michael Doherty while trying to pass to receiver Kevin Yuenyongsakul.
In between a seemingly endless barrage of penalties, most commonly holding calls by both team's offensive lines, Bell-Jeff committed seven turnovers, while St. Monica racked up eight turnovers.
Had the Guards ever experienced such a peculiar ball game?
"No," Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando Aguirre answered without hesitation.
"I've never been in a game like this before," Shirley said, laughing. "It's wild."
Aguirre said he had not previously lost to St. Monica, and added that Bell-Jeff beat the Mariners, 33-0, a year ago.
The Mariners struck first with a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Holguin to receiver Kyle Farber. The scoring play was set up by two personal foul penalties for 30 yards, by Bell-Jeff (2-7, 0-3 in league).
Holguin ran for a touchdown on a keeper from 20 yards out, later in the first quarter, as St. Monica (5-3, 1-1 in league) jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Holguin rushed eight times for 89 yards. He went 12 of 23 for 161 yards and was intercepted once — by Shirley.
St. Monica running back Sean Martinez ran 13 times for 75 yards. The Mariners lost seven fumbles and had three touchdowns called back by penalties.
With 18 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Issakhanian was sacked for a safety, which bumped the Mariners' lead to 16-0.
"At the beginning of the game, I thought they were going to beat us, 40-0," said Aguirre.
Five minutes before halftime, Bell-Jeff running back Mario Marquez rushed for a 42-yard touchdown, but the score came back when the referees called running back Robert Guevara for holding.
"That's a stupid call. Those freaking referees killed us today," said Aguirre.