St. Vincent overcame a halftime deficit and a little taunting before returning to the field where the Mustangs dismantled Stellar Prep from Hayward 33-8 on Saturday afternoon at Yarbrough Field.
The Mustangs had a battle against the athletically talented Thunder in the first two quarters, and trailed 8-7 heading to the dressing room at intermission. A little good natured trash talking only helped light a fire under the hosts, who came out smoking, and the game completely turned around.
The difference between the two clubs was preparation and conditioning. While the Stellar Prep players were falling like cordwood down the stretch on the warm artificial surface, the prepared Mustangs rolled to four consecutive touchdowns and turned the game over to reserves.
"We were in much better condition," said a pleased coach Gary Galloway, "I told the kids that during halftime. Too many of their players limped off when the going got a little tougher. Most of them were able to come back into the game later."
Stellar Prep had a much quicker team, and looked in command when it scored to go ahead late in the first period. The Thunder had to bounce back after the opening drive of the game produced the first touchdown by St. Vincent on a near perfect 10-yard pass from quarterback Jack Richardson to Derek Murphy in the corner of the end zone.
Earlier, the Richardson-to-Murphy combo accounted for a 47-yard completion to quickly ease the ball into the red zone.
Quarterback Cameron Burston and running back Tre Von Hammer both proved very elusive ball carriers on the first Stellar Prep possession, as they broke tackle attempts by the Mustangs en route to the Thunder's only score of the afternoon,
A 10-yard strike from Burston to wide-out Chandler Gumbs narrowed the count to 7-6. A two-point pass from Burston to Josh Poole gave the visitors the early lead.
Burston displayed a terrific throwing arm, but most of the routes in the late going were for single receivers going extremely deep. They were eventually shut down by the savvy Mustang defenders as the Stellar Prep signal caller scrambled to stay upright under pressure from Mustang pass rushers.
Justin Sablick, Paul Gregorian and Danny Rodriguez all got a big push to torment Burston.
In the second half, the St. Vincent defense settled in to take most of the quick strikes by the Thunder out of the equation. Runs to the outside were snuffed by the Mustangs, and they recovered a couple of fumbles and forced a blocked kick up front. Recoveries by Patrick Garcia and Sablick helped keep the hosts in Thunder territory in the late going. George Sammon also pounced on a blocked kick when the Thunder linemen were forced back in front of Burston and the ball bounced backward.
Booming kickoffs by Richardson and another notable punt over 50 yards off the foot of Sean Healy kept Stellar Prep pinned in their own territory as the game moved ahead.
The second half was marked with a flurry of Mustang touchdowns which completely took the resolve out of any Stellar Prep comeback hopes.