RELATED: Week 4 State Top 25 Scoreboard
Last week Terra Nova (Pacifica) took down defending CIF Central Coast Section Open Division champion St. Ignatius of San Francisco, in a 50-33 victory that was the first win for veteran head coach Bill Gray and his Tigers against a West Catholic Athletic League opponent since 2004 and in 11 tries.
This past Friday night on the coast 15 miles south of San Francisco, four-time defending Peninsula Athletic League champion Terra Nova (3-0) bolted to a 35-0 second quarter lead en route to a running clock 56-15 win over San Jose Pioneer.
The 56 points is a single-game school record for Terra Nova.
Now, at 3-0 and beginning to show some real legitimacy, the decision to move the Tigers up last week to Division I in the CIF NorCal Bowl rankings makes perfect sense.
In fact, should 43-year Tigers head coach and wily veteran Gray be able to catch lightning in a bottle, Terra Nova may very well make some noise in the CCS Open Division playoffs this year.
“You’ve got a great thing going here so don’t screw it up. You don’t want to miss out on this,” Gray told the boys after the game.
The Cal-Hi Sports and XOS Digital Caravan really made the 150-mile round trip mostly to see Gray’s junior quarterback Anthony Gordon. The 6-2 and approximately 170-pounder was only in his third varsity start but looked like a veteran. He throws a nice, smooth spiral with very good accuracy, and he can throw deep. As he gets stronger his velocity will increase and I think a slight improvement in his footwork will make him more agile and possibly more accurate. Still, he is as good a 2015 signal-caller as I’ve seen.
By the time the large, lively home crowd could take its seats, Gordon had completed 13-of-14 passes for 166 yards and the Tigers had a 28-0 lead after one quarter. He finished with 201 yards passing and the three scores
Gordon’s favorite target, wide receiver Jaylen Jones, didn’t get a lot of touches, but on four catches he had 98 yards and two scores of 69 and 20 yards. He also took a long kickoff to the house for a second-straight week, this time it was a 93-yarder for a third score.
Another player that didn’t see the ball much but had a standout game was John Wallace. The senior running back came into the game with 203 yards and four TDs in the first two wins against Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) and St. Ignatius. Against Pioneer, he had 14 carries for 180 yards and three touchdowns, including a 69-yard run.
“Did we live up to expectations?” Gray asked as he walked past me on the sidelines near the end of the game.
The answer is yes, but, and the but is this. Perennially great and disciplined teams don’t make the mental mistakes Terra Nova made once it had a lead and relaxed, or get some of the 15-yard penalties the Tigers took with what was a lenient officiating crew. It didn’t hurt them against Pioneer, but come CCS playoff time it will spell doom.
Last year’s 6-5 team went out in the first round to Bellarmine. The Tigers also lost a game in league which doesn’t look like it will happen this year.
That means Terra Nova will likely go into the playoffs 10-0 and their seed will probably have a lot to do with how St. Ignatius does in WCAL play.