In a rematch of last season’s CIF- Southern Section Division 6 championship game, many Golden Valley players and coaches were focused on capturing the win that escaped them last season.
“We really wanted this one and for the new guys, they understood that last year’s team, they carried this team to a new legacy and they brought a winning culture here,” said quarterback Zack Chevalier.
The Grizzlies were prepared. They had studied. They knew what they were getting into. But the Cardinals’ typical run-heavy offense took a sharp turn and incorporated some quality passing to throw GV off balance.
“Last year we weren’t ready for the run,” receiver and defensive back Johnathan Kaelin said.
“This year we were ready for the run. When they started passing, that’s when they started scoring.”
Bishop Diego (3-2) got on the board in its first drive of the game with a five-yard rush from Adrian Sorocco with seven minutes and 28 seconds left in the first quarter, but Golden Valley (1-4) held them off for the remainder of the frame.
Chevalier got to work immediately in the second quarter, launching a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kaelin to tie it at 7-7 just two minutes in.
“I think this year we had a really specific game plan and we knew what we were going to do,” Chevalier said. “We had a lot more energy coming into it.”
Opposing quarterback Jake Engel one-upped that, rushing 50 yards on a keeper to double the Cardinals’ advantage.
Diversifying his portfolio, Kaelin scored his second touchdown of the night, this time on the ground from five yards out to tie it at 14-14 with just 36 seconds before the halftime break. Six plays earlier, Kaelin went on a 68-yard tear to set up the scoring drive.
For the lone touchdown from either team in the third quarter, Engel threw a 28-yard touchdown
pass to Isaia Morones.
The Grizzlies had quickly regained some momentum on the first drive of the fourth quarter, only to have it snubbed out with a turnover. A 61-yard touchdown run from Sorocco nearly diminished it completely.
Kaelin suffered a hamstring strain and didn’t see action in the fourth quarter. Chevalier maintained his composure, going 3-for-4 for 24 yards in the final quarter. Overall, he went 10-of-18 passing for 111 yards and one touchdown.
“When you have a team like Bishop Diego, they’re going to come after you and put pressure on you,” said coach Dan Kelley. “Zack’s been under pressure all year and he’s done a great job with it.”
Golden Valley has a bye week, then will begin Foothill League play against West Ranch on Sept. 28.