Sean Gomez kicked a 20-yard field goal late in the third quarter as St. Martin beat St. Stanislaus 9-7 on Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (3-1) were aided by two personal foul penalties against the Rockachaws on the drive. The first advanced the ball to the Rockachaws 19 yard line. The second — half the distance — gave the Yellow Jackets first-and-goal at the 7-yard line. The Yellow Jackets picked up 4 yards, and on fourth down Gomez kicked the field goal.
The Yellow Jackets defense did its job the rest of the way, denying the Rockachaws a score on their final possession that started at the St. Martin 43-yard line. The Rockachaws picked up a single first down, but was forced to punt after facing a fourth-and-24 at the St. Martin 44-yard line.
With 4:01 remaining, St. Martin’s Jovann “Ham” McGee took over for the Yellow Jackets. The junior running-back rushed for 70 yards to give the Yellow Jackets to run out the clock.
Never miss a local story.
“We did a good job of mixing everything up. We sent our backers inside and out, then we showed and then backed out,” said St. Martin coach Eddie Whitehead. “First half they hurt us with the screen and stuff some. I think we did a lot better job with that in the second half.
“Early in the game McGee had a fumble or two. We knew if we were going to win the game he would have to have a big game. I knew he was disappointed that he put those two balls on the ground early, but there at the end he said ‘feed me.’ He said give me the ball and he was going to take care of business.
The Yellow Jackets got on the scoreboard first following a snap over the head of the punter which gave the Yellow Jackets the ball at the Rockachaws 2-yard line.
On the very next play, Mileon Graham dove over blockers into the end zone for the score midway through the second quarter. The PAT kick failed and the Yellow Jackets led 6-0.
J.D. Rutherford returned the second half 21 yards to the 27 yard line, and Rockachaws rode the momentum, picking up four consecutive first downs for a 7-play drive and score. Andrew Trapani broke through the middle for a 12-yard gain on first down, then Greer connected with Harrison Brewer for 17 yards to the Yellow Jackets 43. On the following play, Greer would keep for 11 yards, and on the next play Cahill Marlowe broke outside for a 15-yard gain. Marlowe capped the drive three plays later for an 8-yard carry and the Rockachaws only score.
“We left opportunities out there on the field,” said Rockachaws coach Jeff Jordan. “First of all we’ve got to give credit to St. Martin, their players and their coaching staff; they played a heck of a game. We had way too many penalties and too many missed opportunities. Defense played well enough to win. Obviously that snap over the head was a backbreaker, but again, we left some plays out there on the field.”
Mcgee led the Yellow Jackets with 147 rushing yards. Graham added 30 yards and a touchdown. Marlowe led the Rockachaws with 37 rushing yards and a touchdown. Greer rushed for 31 yards and completed 10 of 20 passes for 137 yards.
“They (defense) played really well," Whitehead said. "They flew to the ball. Stanislaus is a physical team. They drove down there on us, but we straightened it out after that. Field position played a big part in the game tonight, a couple of big stops for us tonight on defense and really played into our hand. Proud for our guys tonight. Both sides fought as hard as they could fight. An excellent football game.”