SJCC outlasts Danbury, pulls away in the second half

BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR

FREMONT — Danbury’s offense put up plenty of points, but ultimately it wasn’t enough as the Lakers fell to St. Joseph Central Catholic, 57-30.

With 7:59 remaining in the third quarter, Tommy Owens intercepted a pass and returned it 102 yards for a touchdown. Kaden Conrad hooked up with Owens for the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 35-30.

But the Crimson Streaks (2-4, 1-2 SBC River) responded and scored 22 unanswered points to put the game away.

Logan Johnson scored on a 9-yard touchdown run and the ensuing two-point conversion pushed the lead to 43-30. Chase Harrison added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Johnson scored on a 27-yard run to close out the scoring.

“We knew it was going to be a tough night for us if we couldn’t stop (Chase Harrison) or (Grant Stepanic). What our thought going in was we’d be able to get ahead on some things offensively and leave them scrambling. We did a nice job of that. I think the moral of the story is we left about 31 points on the field when you look at turnovers and missed opportunities,” said Danbury coach Keith Mora. “Because of our size, it’s tough to be a complete team offensively or defensively.

We’ve got to find a way to turn (our opponents) over one or two times in each half. We were turning the ball over too much. If you count those turnovers as touchdowns, the game isn’t a 27-point differential.

“I was proud that they played a game as tough as they did and never quit. It was nice to be in that position. We’re not very used to playing with a lead, and if you’re not used to doing that, you start to get tight, you start to get tense. The turnovers — that was such a big deal, and if you make them touchdowns instead, we’re talking about going into halftime with upwards of 40 points.”

The Lakers (0-6, 0-3) led on two separate occasions in the first half at 8-0 and 22-21. The first score came when Conrad and Owens hooked up for a 50-yard touchdown, and the two connected on the two-point conversion to make it 8-0. SJCC countered with two touchdowns, one coming on a Harrison-Stepanic connection from 40 yards out, cutting the deficit to 8-7. Harrison then ran a touchdown in from nine yards out, giving the Streaks their first lead. Cole Shortridge scored on a 7-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14, and Harrison answered with an 8-yard touchdown run. Conrad and Owens reconnected for an 18-yard touchdown to give the Lakers a 22-21 lead with 11:54 left in the second quarter before Harrison scored on a 2-yard run with 1:28 to play in the first half, giving SJCC the lead for good at 28-22.

Conrad had a great game, completing 25-of-46 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 14 tackles on defense. Owens caught six passes for 108 yards and two scores, Kody Sieger had three receptions for 43 yards and Danny Harris caught seven passes for 34 yards. Cole Shortridge carried the ball nine times for 41 yards and a score.

This Friday, Danbury hosts Tiffin Calvert. The Senecas are coming off a 34-32 loss to Margaretta.
“They’re a tough team. I’m sure that (Margaretta game) was a tough loss to swallow for them. I’m sure they’re looking to bounce back hard this week,” said Mora. “They’re a good football program, they’re good every year. They’ve got some skill players that can get down the field in a hurry. We have to build offensively on the success that we had. Defensively, we have to do the best we can to keep the ball in front of us.”

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