Senior running back Kai Hall, shown scoring on a 10-yard run, was the workhorse for St. Vincent de Paul in its victory over St.Helena
Harold Abend/Prep2Prep

St. Vincent de Paul dominates St. Helena

September 11, 2022

PETALUMA, Calif. – Two teams that both like to run the ball, came into the game with 2-0 records, and have developed a healthy rivalry the last few seasons not only in non-league matchups but also in the North Coast Section playoffs, squared off in Petaluma. In the end host St. Vincent de Paul turned in a dominating but far from perfect performance in a 28-7 victory over St. Helena.

Since St. Vincent de Paul head coach Trent Herzog took over the Mustangs helm in 2018, his Mustangs have tangled with the Saints four times.

They lost in 2019 in the NCS Division 7 opening round of the playoffs, but since then they’ve won three straight after this Saturday afternoon’s win. The teams didn’t meet in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but in 2021 the Mustangs won in a non-league game on the road, 14-13, and then they bested St. Helena 54-32 in the NCS Division 7 title game.

With this season’s impressive win St. Vincent de Paul (3-0) has now established itself as a favorite to repeat as the NCS D7 champions.

“I’m happy with our effort and I’m happy with how physical we played and how tough we played,” Herzog said. “But a lot of penalties on offense and we probably left another 21 points on the field that we didn’t put on the scoreboard.”

“Overall defensively I thought we played great,” Herzog continued. “Offensively we need to be more consistent as the season goes on but overall I’m really happy with our performance and the effort we played with.”

Senior running back Kai Hall was certainly consistent. He only found the end zone once, but he was clearly the dominant force on offense, finishing with 23 carries for 156 yards and the one score. Senior quarterback Jared Bosarge ran for a 29-yard TD and then completed the St. Helena scoring with a 66-yard pass to sophomore Tye Nickens, who also had a rushing score.

The Mustangs defense certainly did make a huge statement, particularly in the first half when the tone of the game was set. They only had a 14-0 lead after two quarters, but despite some mistakes and penalties that hindered the offense, the defense limited the St. Helena offense that’s modeled after the vaunted veer of De La Salle, to 43 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.

Rather than talk about his running, Hall wanted to talk about the defense and the lines.

“We were bringing it back from last year when our defense was the high point even though our offense was pretty good,” Hall said. “Today our offensive and defensive line kept it rolling.”

“Coach Trent is a defensive mastermind,” continued Bosarge, who also plays defensive back. “He always seems to have us lined up in the right situations.”

“We prepare for St. Helena the same every year,” Hall continued. “My freshman year they beat us pretty good so we’ve kind of formed a rivalry with them. This year we heard on social that we’re a brick wall but they were going to run right through us and that hit home for our defense.”

After an ill-fated decision by St. Helena to run out of punt formation on fourth-and-10 from its own 15 that gained only five yards, St. Vincent de Paul took full advantage and scored its first TD on a 7-yard end around by Nickens. An offside penalty on the conversion had Herzog go for the deuce and Hall ran it in for an 8-0 Mustangs lead.

The two teams exchanged punts before the St. Vincent de Paul defense made a stop that pretty much began the dominance on the line of scrimmage. The St. Vincent de Paul punt was for minus-3 yards and that gave the Saints the ball on the Mustangs 18-yard line.

St. Helena had first and goal from the six but on the first play, the St. Vincent de Paul defensive line, led by 6-3, 275-pound senior D1 recruit Cameron Vaughn, stuffed Saints senior running back Crean Clayton for no gain. On the next play senior cornerback Tobias Klein batted down a pass by Saints senior quarterback Meyer Wynton. Vaughn and company held Clayton to a 4-yard gain on third-and-goal and on fourth down a pass by Wynton fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Mustangs on their own 2-yard line.

From there St. Vincent de Paul marched 98 yards in 10 plays culminating in the 29-yard TD run by Bosarge. In the drive, Hall had eight carries for 65 yards. The extra point was wide right and the Mustangs had a 14-0 lead.

The rest of the half was all defense. St. Vincent de Paul senior linebacker Nathan Rooks sacked Wynton and forced a fumble he recovered. With not much time remaining in the half, Herzog brought in strong-armed senior quarterback Eddy Stone to go to the pass, but Stone was intercepted by his counterpart Wynton. On the next play the Mustangs turned the tables on the Saints to end the half when Wynton was picked off by the Mustangs junior defensive back Malcolm Rooks, the younger brother of Nathan.

St. Helena tried a pop-up type kickoff to open the second half and it almost worked, but in a big pile-up the Mustangs recovered and began a 10-play, 64-yard scoring drive that pretty much sealed the outcome. Bosarge completed two passes during the drive to the Rooks brothers, but it was mostly all Hall with the powerfully built 5-8 rusher carrying six times for 42 yards with the last carry going for a 10-yard TD run that gave St. Vincent de Paul a 21-0 lead with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

The Saints responded with an 11-play drive that went for 50 yards but the Mustangs defense responded by forcing an incompletion on third-and-eight and on fourth down a completion only went for five yards and they took over on downs once again.

The St. Vincent de Paul defense got a fourth stop on downs and then the offense scored in three plays to make it 28-0 with 3:25 left on the long pass play from Bosarge to Nickens.

St. Helena (2-1) scored with 1:30 left on a 37-yard run by Clayton, but by then Herzog had emptied the bench.

The Saints now need to regroup in a bye week before opening North Central I League play on the road at current 3-0 Willits.

St. Vincent de Paul will face 2-0 Oakland Tech on the road on Friday. The Bulldogs have opened with 32-0 and 30-0 shutouts of Mission-San Francisco and Alhambra-Martinez, respectively.

“Oakland Tech is very talented and has a lot of speed,” Herzog said. “We need to be disciplined and not commit penalties and I think we’ll be right in the game with a chance to win.”

Elsewhere in the Redwood Empire

Marin Catholic 45, Casa Grande 0

Transfer quarterback Joey Cook was finally granted eligibility and senior signal-caller got Marin Catholic to 3-0 after he went 12 of 24 for 207 yards and two TDs, one to senior JR Bosch and one to junior Charles Williams, all in less than three quarters of work. Williams also ran for 89 yards and three touchdowns and junior running back McKay Hawthorne added 73 yards rushing and one score.

Campolindo 28, Windsor 26

Campolindo (3-0) led 22-13 at the end of the third quarter but fell behind 26-22 only to win on the last play of the game on an 18-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Dashiell Weaver to junior wide receiver Scott Lyon on the final play of the game. Windsor now falls to 1-2 this season

Cardinal Newman 27, Vintage 8

Cardinal Newman (2-1) played without senior star Santino Acevedo but still rebounded from a loss to Vacaville two weeks ago with a solid win on the road in Napa. Junior quarterback Matt Hilden passed for 116 yards and two TDs and rushed for a third score. Junior running back Kaize Severson also rushed for a TD and had 79 yards on the ground.

San Marin 28, Moreau Catholic 14

San Marin (2-1) followed up a victory two weeks ago over Analy with a solid home win against Moreau Catholic. The Mustangs led 14-0 until there were around nine minutes left in the third quarter when Moreau got on the board. From there junior quarterback Dominic Ingrassia finished things off with a 16-yard TD pass to senior Ben Langford and a 1-yard plunge to close out the Mustangs scoring before Dean-Taylor Chapman got the game’s final tally for Moreau on a 71-yard TD run.

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