Chaminade Football steps up vs. St. Bonaventure

Terrell Newby may want to watch out, because his record for touchdowns in a Chaminade jersey may stand for only a few more years. Sophomore running back T.J. Pledger started off the season with the best game of his young career. Pledger finished the game with 278 total yards and scored each of the Eagles’ five touchdowns as Chaminade beat St. Bonaventure by a score of 32-30.

One of the story lines coming into this game was the quarterback position between UCLA commit Dymond Lee and University of Washington baseball commit Tommy Costello. Although the two both took snaps on Friday night, Costello started the game with Lee on the outside. Despite the dominant running of Pledger, Chaminade’s first drive was all about the quick hitters and screen passes. Costello connected with four different receivers on the first drive, which led to an 11-yard touchdown for Pledger in Croson’s famous power-pitch play up the middle.

The Seraphs responded with an impressive drive of their own, led by dual-threat quarterback Darius Vines, who also plays basketball and baseball.  The quarter ended with the two teams tied at seven apiece.

Mid way through the second quarter, St. Bonaventure forced a fumble at just around the 50 yard line.  The drive started with a 40-yard pass down the middle of the field, putting the Seraphs in good position to go up a touchdown. However, the Chaminade defense prevailed, and forced the Seraphs to settle for a field goal.

The next drive for the Eagles was an interesting one. Track superstar T.J. Brock got the drive going with a nice return to the 44-yard line, the first of two kickoff returns past the 40 yard line.  The next play, Pledger exploded for 56-yard touchdown that was brought back by a holding penalty at the line of scrimmage. A few plays later, another sophomore running back Andrew Van Buren picked up 33 yards with a run of his own, giving the Eagles a first and goal at the three yard line. A failed communication between the quarterback and Van Buren on a pitch play resulted in a nine yard loss, and the Eagles couldn’t make up the distance.

The Eagles ended up failing to convert on fourth down, but quickly got the ball back and picked up another touchdown right before the half to put Chaminade up 13-10.

To start off the second half, outside linebacker Anthony Tucker forced a fumble to give Chaminade an opportunity to go up by double digits. Tucker, a potential Ivy-League bound recruit, had an impressive game, with several tackles that saved a possible long play. The Eagles had no problem capitalizing on this opportunity. After a a pair of long receptions by Pledger and Mike Wilson, Chaminade was able to pound it up the middle for Pledger’s third touchdown of the game.

St. Bonaventure responded nicely with a 19-yard touchdown pass. Jordan Chin blocked an extra point. Down three points, the Seraphs attempted an onside kick, which was not successful. On the first play of the drive, Pledger broke loose for his longest touchdown of the day at 65 yards, which didn’t surprise many people at that point in the game.

After another Seraphs touchdown, Pledger was able to score his last touchdown of the game, and arguably his best. It seems like Pledger made every player on the St. Bonaventure miss at some point during the 35-yard touchdown run.

Vines was able to lead one more touchdown drive for the Seraphs to get the game within two, but at that point there was not enough time to stop the Chaminade offense.

Overall, the Chaminade offense looked a lot better in the second half, when the sophomore running back tandem of Pledger and Van Buren got the ball almost every play. The Seraphs’ passing game kept it close throughout.

Chaminade will play Redlands East Valley next week for their first home game. The Wildcats won Division II CIF and State Championships last year, just as Chaminade did two years ago. They are ranked 13th in the state on MaxPreps, and are part of a very tough schedule that Chaminade will face going forward.

-Matthew Patterson, Eagle Business writer, Class of 2016.