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Guards lose wild league shootout

Bell-Jeff not able to keep pace with St. Genevieve in suffering 64-40 loss.

October 29, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

NORTH HOLLYWOOD — With the score tied and a combined 54 points put up by the Bellarmine-Jefferson High football team and it's Santa Fe League opponent, St. Genevieve, by the end of a shootout first half Friday afternoon, it seemed likely the second half would come down to which team blinked first.

The Guards not only blinked, but took a proverbial nap on both sides of the ball in the third quarter, allowing the Valiants to score three unanswered touchdowns and break the game open en route to a 64-40 win that put a damper on homecoming at Bell-Jeff's home field at North Hollywood High.

"We made mistakes … and they capitalized with 14 points right off the bat," said Guards Coach Rolando Aguirre, whose team turned the ball over three times in the third quarter and five times overall in the second half. "That sort of took the wind out of us."

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The back-and-forth nature of the first half actually did continue through the first two series of the third quarter, when the Valiants opened with a three-play, 62-yard, go-ahead touchdown drive capped by a 45-yard scoring run by running back Asah Jefferson only to see Bell-Jeff (3-6, 0-3 in league) answer right back on its first possession of the half.

Guards quarterback Mitch Kellogg, who completed 14 of 27 attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns, lofted a pass to a streaking Michael Gomez down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown. After missing the extra-point attempt, Bell-Jeff trailed, 34-33, but would soon see the game slip away behind a disastrous stretch to end the quarter.

St. Genevieve (6-2, 1-1) marched right back 62 yards in six plays to take a 41-33 lead on running back Anthony Blue's one-yard lunge at the 7:33 mark and got the ball back on the Guards' 20-yard line moments later when Johnny Kassis intercepted Kellogg at the 31 and returned it 11 yards. Two plays later, Blue ran it up the middle for 18 yards to make it 48-33.

Josh Martinez (five carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns) then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff for the Guards giving the Valiants another short shot at the end zone from the 20. The defense held on fourth down to reclaim the ball on Bell-Jeff's own 18, but a fumbled handoff was recovered by St. Genevieve defensive tackle Brian Alvarado, who rumbled 10 yards into the end zone for a 55-33 lead with 3:09 left in the third.

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