Football

Valley Christian topples Bellarmine in a WCAL football opener

SAN JOSE — Valley Christian’s defense has been very good so far this season.

A micro example occurred on the first play Saturday of Valley’s game with Bellarmine. Middle linebacker Remy Hernandez sacked Bellarmine quarterback Parker Threatt for a 10-yard loss at the 5 and knocked the ball loose. A Bellarmine player managed to recover the fumble in the end zone for a safety, and so one play into the game Valley Christian had a 2-0 lead.

Sort of an indication of what was to come as well as what has transpired thus far this season.

After going 1-9 a year ago, the Warriors improved to 4-0 with a 23-7 victory over the Bells in a West Catholic Athletic League opener for both teams.

“Last year 1-9, we’re hungry, we’re starving,” linebacker Lovante Metcalfe said.

In those four games Valley Christian has allowed a combined total of 33 points, an average of just over 8 points per game.

“I think people will see that we have really talented players,” defensive coordinator Eric Scharrenberg said. “But even more important than that they play well together, they’re buying into a system, a philosophy of how we want to play. They also know there’s a great tradition here at Valley Christian, a defensive tradition. We talk about that all the time, about the guys that came before them. They accept that standard of a high level of play.”

Following the safety, Valley received the free kick and drove 53 yards in eight running plays with quarterback Joseph Stephens scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 9-0.

Bellarmine had its next two possessions end on a sack by Federico Cobarubio and an interception by Chad Arietta.

Valley was forced to punt from its own end zone and after a nice return the Bells took over at the Valley Christian 23. They needed only one play to score on a pass from Threatt to Reece McKeever.

The score was 9-7 at halftime with both defenses dominating. Valley Christian had 125 yards of offense at the break. Bellarmine had 65.

But after taking the second-half kickoff the Warriors went 73 yards in nine plays with Stephens scoring his second touchdown on a 12-yard run.

Valley Christian's Joseph Stephens (4) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Bellarmine in the third quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)Valley Christian’s Joseph Stephens (4) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Bellarmine in the third quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

The Bells, trailing 16-7 in the fourth quarter, decided to go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 29. McKeever was stopped for a 1-yard loss by Hernandez, and Valley needed to go only 28 yards for a clinching touchdown, a 4-yard run by Marcel Leggett.

After the slow start offensively, Valley Christian finished with 260 yards rushing. Stephens gained 88 yards on eight carries and Ekiah McLemore picked up 81 yards on 14 carries. Stephens was 5 of 14 passing for 63 yards.

Offensive struggles have characterized the early season for Bellarmine (1-3, 0-1).

On Saturday, McKeever was a bright spot with 54 yards rushing on nine carries in addition to the touchdown he scored on a reception. But with all the sack yardage added in, the Bells managed a net 36 yards rushing on 21 carries. Threatt was 9 of 17 passing for 76 yards.

Henry Clark had three tackles for loss for Bellarmine. Hernandez had two sacks for Valley Christian. Edgar Birelas had one sack and a tackle for loss.

Valley Christian’s defense will be challenged in its next game at Riordan, which beat St. Ignatius 41-34 earlier Saturday.

“Our defense likes challenges,” Valley Christian coach Mike Machado said.

Valley Christian quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) throws a pass against Bellarmine in the second quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)Valley Christian quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) throws a pass against Bellarmine in the second quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 
Valley Christian head coach Mike Machado speaks to quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) while playing Bellarmine in the first quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)Valley Christian head coach Mike Machado speaks to quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) while playing Bellarmine in the first quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 
Valley Christian's Joseph Stephens(4) looks up in pain after he cramped up during the 2nd half of the Wilcox at Valley Christian high school football game on Friday, August 25, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Valley Christian’s Joseph Stephens(4) looks up in pain after he cramped up during the 2nd half of the Wilcox at Valley Christian high school football game on Friday, August 25, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Valley Christian's Kai Hamilton (9) leaps to catch a throw by quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) while being guarded by Bellarmine's Billy Ladd (30) in the third quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)Valley Christian’s Kai Hamilton (9) leaps to catch a throw by quarterback Joseph Stephens (4) while being guarded by Bellarmine’s Billy Ladd (30) in the third quarter of their game at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023. Valley Christian defeated Bellarmine 23-7. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

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