Past Season Highlights & Results
Season Highlights & Results (2022)
Panthers Overcome Slow Start to Advance to NCS Semis
November 12th, 2022--In their first NCS playoff game, the Panthers hosted the Arcata High Tigers who came into the game red hot as they jumped on the Panthers early in the 1st quarter to take a 13-0 lead. However, that was all the Tigers could muster offensively as the Panthers had quite the response as they would score the next 42 points unanswered, beating Arcata by the score of 42-13 to advance to the NCS Semifinals for the first time since the 2014 season.
The Panthers scored their first points of the game on a 4th and 1 touchdown run by Senior Running Back, Kyle Goree, cutting into the early deficit by the score of 13-7. On their next offensive possession, the Panthers would find the end zone on another Goree touchdown run, giving the Panthers a 14-13 lead and they would never look back. Gore would finish the game scoring a total of 4 touchdowns on the day, which was also complimented by a 70-yard touchdown pass by Senior Quarterback, Finn Hartney, to fellow Senior Wide Receiver, Malachi Young. Senior Wide Receiver, Paul Wilson, would also contribute on the scoresheet as Hartney would find him on a touchdown pass late in the 4th quarter, putting a stamp on the Panthers victory.
Following the game, Wilson said that the team was not prepared, or awake, coming into the game. After they went down 13-0, they realized they needed to play hard, so they came together as a team for a good win.
The Panthers will host the Pinole Valley High Spartans on Saturday, November 19th, at 1pm, and will look to advance to the NCS Title Game for the first time since 2014. Go Panthers!
Panthers Accomplishment Historic Feat on Their Way to A TCAL Title
November 4th, 2022--On a cold Friday evening in Vallejo, the Panthers Varsity Football team traveled to take on the St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins (SPSV) which was the program’s biggest game of the year in over five years. This game showcased offenses that were basically complete opposites of each other in terms of pace of play as the Bruins featured an up tempo, no huddle offensive attack, whereas the Panthers offense were more "time of possession" oriented. At the end of the night, the latter would prove to be victorious as the Panthers would capture their first TCAL League Championship since the 2015-2016 season. Also, to add on to their league title, the Panthers would accomplish a historic feat as they would finish the regular season a perfect 10-0 for the first time in program history.
Similar to the JV game, the Panthers fell behind early in the first quarter following a touchdown by the Bruins to open the game, but the Panthers immediately responded with a 24-yard rushing touchdown by Junior Running Back, Samahdi Scott, giving the Panthers a 7-6 lead in the 1st quarter. The Panthers would then immediately extend their lead in the second quarter on a 81-yard screen pass from Senior Quarterback, Finn Hartney, to Senior Running Back, Logan Tanisaki. The Bruins would answer with a touchdown of their own late in the second quarter, but the Panthers would go into halftime with a 14-12 advantage.
The third quarter proved to be the best quarter of the season for the Panthers as Senior Standout and Team Leader, Kyle Goree, would take the opening kickoff of the second half all the way back for a touchdown. Goree would also add to his third quarter total by throwing a touchdown pass to fellow Senior Tight End, Austin Rogol, to give the Panthers a 28-12 lead. The Bruins would respond with one more touchdown, but it proved to not be enough as the Panthers defense held strong, sealing the victory and the TCAL Championship.
In regards to the defense, they were sensational the entire evening in shutting down the high-powered, up-tempo Bruins’ offense as they forced 4 interceptions. Senior Defensive Back, Malachi Young, recorded 2 interceptions, Senior Tanisaki recorded an interception as it was the first of his Saint Mary’s career, and Senior Defensive Back, Alejandro Tejeda Gonzales, recorded one as well.
Even though it was an evening to celebrate what the team accomplished, the Panthers will now shift their attention towards next week as they will begin their journey for an NCS Championship. The Panthers will find out their seed and their opponent this Sunday, November 6th. Congratulations Panthers!
JV Squad Captures TCAL Title, Finish 7-1-1 On the Year
November 4th, 2022--On a late afternoon in Vallejo, the Panthers JV Football Team traveled to take on the St. Patrick-St. Vincent Bruins (SPSV) in what was the biggest game of the season for this young squad. After falling early in the game by the score of 7-0, the Panthers responded late in the first quarter on a rushing touchdown by no other than Freshman Running Back, Marcus Hughes, cutting the deficit to one point, 7-6. However, the Bruins would start their next drive with big plays of their own until Freshman Defensive Back, Emiliano Ceron, ended the Bruins drive with a key interception. Both teams would end the first half with strong defensive play with the Panthers trailing at halftime by one.
However, in the second half, it was all Panthers as they would take the lead in the 3rd quarter by the score of 12-7 on a 1-yard run by Hughes for his second touchdown of the game. Late in the 4th quarter, the Panthers got a key sack on 4th down by Sophomore Defensive Lineman, Joseph Bryant, which was then followed by Hughes' 7-yard rushing touchdown, which was his third total touchdown of the game. The next Bruins offensive possession late in the contest was put to a halt as Sophomore Linebacker, Anthony Cammack, intercepted a Bruin’s pass to seal not only the Panther victory, but also propelled the Panthers to a TCAL Championship title, a major accomplishment and turnaround for this program after only winning one game last season. Congratulations JV Panthers!
Panthers Celebrate Senior Day with Win, Improve to 9-0
October 29th, 2022--In the final home game of the regular season, the Panthers celebrated Senior Day as they hosted the Maria Carrillo Pumas of Santa Rosa and capped off the celebration with a 19-7 victory to keep the undefeated season alive. The Panthers’ victory displayed a great rushing game that was complimented by strong defense. The Panthers opened the scoring as Senior Running Back, Kyle Goree, would cash in on an 8-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead. After a showing of strong defense from both teams following the early Panthers’ touchdown, the Panthers would extend their lead on a Kyle Goree pass to Senior Tight End, Austin Rogol, giving the Panthers a 13-0 lead at halftime.
The Panthers opened the second half going 3 and out, and a short punt by the Panthers allowed the Pumas to get on the board with a rushing touchdown, cutting into the Panthers lead by the score of 13-7. Following the Pumas touchdown, a defensive struggle would take place where both teams found it difficult to manufacture any offense. In fact, one critical turnover of the game came from Senior, Kyle Goree, who recovered a fumble deep within Panthers’ territory to deny the Pumas of an opportunity to score and take the lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Following the turnover, the Panthers would capitalize as Senior Running Back, Logan Taniskai, would score on a 50-yard run to make it a 19-7 game. The Panthers would then put a stamp on their victory as Junior Free Safety, Marley Filson, would put the game away, helping the Panthers improve to 9-0. After the game, Senior Receiver, Alejandro Tejeda Gonzales, said they practiced all week knowing this was a team that liked to run, and they showed up to play on defense. They couldn’t have done it without Kyle and the entire defense. Finn said they didn’t do anything differently this week. They played aggressive as always and got the win.
The Panthers will now look forward to their last regular season game of the season as they will take on another undefeated TCAL foe, the SPSV Bruins, in Vallejo on Friday, November 4th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm.
Panthers Take Down Red Hawks, Remain Undefeated
October 15th, 2022--On a Saturday afternoon at Brady Park, the Panthers took on fellow TCAL foe, the Vallejo High Red Hawks, and defeating them by the score of 35-7. The Panthers offense and defense set the tone earlier as the Panthers defense forced three consecutive 3-and-outs for the Red Hawk offense in their first three possessions of the game, and their offense would waste no time finding the end zone on back-to-back opening possessions as Senior Running Back, Kyle Goree, would find the end zone twice.
The Red Hawks would answer back with a touchdown of their own, cutting the Panthers early lead to 14-7. However, the Panthers would score on the following possession as Junior Running Back, Elijah Hines, would find the end zone on an 18-yard run. Hines would find the end zone, once again, on a 10-yard run, giving the Panthers a 28-7 lead at halftime.
The Panthers would then find the end zone one more time following a fumble recovery by Junior Lineman, Angel Rios, which was the first of his career, putting a stamp on a 35-7 victory.
The Panthers will look to extend their undefeated winning streak to 8 games as they will travel to Richmond on Friday, October 21st, to take on the Richmond High Oilers at 7pm.
JV Panthers and Red Hawks Tie in Defensive Duel
October 15th, 2022--In a season that has featured a highly successful rushing attack, the Panthers offense could not find the end zone against the Vallejo High Red Hawks. However, the Red Hawks also could not find the end zone either as both team’s strong defenses
were the story of the day in a 0-0 tie.
Both teams had opportunities to break the ice, but both teams came up with great plays on the defensive side of the ball, forcing turnovers and giving the ball back to their respective offenses. For the Panthers defense, Freshmen Defensive Back, Royal Smith came up with touchdown saving tackles to keep the Red Hawks off the board. Smith also came up with his 4th interception of the season that he almost returned for a touchdown but was eventually tackled before reaching the end zone. Fellow Freshmen Defensive Back, Emiliano Ceron, also recorded a remarkable diving interception on the 1-yard line to put a Red Hawks impressive possession to a halt.
Even though the Panthers did not lose the game, they will look to return to the win column when they travel to take on their cross-town rival, the Albany High Cougars, on Thursday, October 20th, at 6:30pm at Cougar Field.
Panthers Handle Eagles in TCAL Opener, Improve to 6-0.
October 9th, 2022—On a Saturday afternoon that featured two 5-0 teams, and what would be the Panthers toughest test of the season so far, the Panthers were up to the challenge as they soundly defeated the Kennedy High Eagles by the score of 37-0 to open
up TCAL play and improving to 6-0 on the year.
However, the first few plays of the game featured strong defensive play from both teams as the Panthers defense forced a fumble on Eagles second offensive play on the 5-yard line but could not capitalize offensively as the Eagles defense kept the Panthers out of the end zone. However, despite failing to score after forcing the early Eagles turnover, the Panthers defense would finally open the scoring as Senior Running Back and Linebacker, Kyle Goree, tackled the Eagles running back in his own end zone for a safety, giving the Panthers an early 2-0 lead. From that point on, the Panthers were in full control of the game as Goree would find the zone on the Panthers next two possessions with a rushing touchdown, and also his first ever passing touchdown in his Panthers career as he found fellow Senior, Austin Rogol, on an 8-yard pass, giving the Panthers a 17-0.
Senior Quarterback, Finn Hartney, would also get in on the action as he would find fellow Senior, Paul Wilson, on a 8-yard touchdown pass, giving the Panthers a 24-0 lead at halftime.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers defense would also find the end zone themselves as Junior Linebacker and Running Back, Samahdi Scott, returned an interception 65 yards to cap off a one-sided victory for the Panthers.
The Panthers rushing attack, as it has been all year, proved to be too much for the Eagles defense to handle. However, instead of Goree being the main focus of the ground game on the day for the Panthers, Junior Running Backs, Samahdi Scott and Elijah Hines, had great days on the ground as well, giving the Panthers a trio of running backs to choose from as they head in to league play.
Also, on the defensive side of the ball, this was the fourth time this season that the Panthers defense has posted a shutout.
The Panthers will look to build off their impressive victory as they will host the Vallejo High Red Hawks in another TCAL affair. The game is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th, at 1:30pm.
JV Football’s Rushing Attack and Defense Proves Too Much for Eagles
October 9th, 2022—On a Saturday afternoon that featured two tough teams where the expectations of a tightly conte sted game were on the horizon, the Panthers JV squad proved to be too much for the Kennedy High Eagles in what turned out to be a one-sided affair in a 25-0 victory.
As it has been the case for the Panthers JV team, the rushing attack that has featured Freshman phenom, Marcus Hughes, was on full display once again as the Panthers four touchdowns of the game came on the ground. Hughes scored three of the Panthers four touchdowns on the day and rushed for over 100 yards on the day. The Panthers other touchdown came from an unexpected player as Sophomore lineman, Joseph Bryant, who has been known for his great offensive line play and stout defensive line play, got in on the fun and recorded his first ever rushing touchdown in his Panthers career from one yard out.
On the other side of the ball, the Panther defense was also on full display as they stifled the Eaglesoffense, forcing three turnovers and keeping them off the scoreboard for the day. This was also the second shutout of the season for the Panthers defense as well.
The Panthers will look to build off of their impressive victory as they will host the Vallejo High Red Hawks next Saturday, October 15th, at 11am.
Panthers Dominate on Homecoming Day
October 1st, 2022—On a day where Saint Mary’s welcomed back their alums to Peralta Park, the Saint Mary’s Panthers were amazing from start to finish in their Homecoming Game against the San Lorenzo High Grizzlies, winning in decisive fashion by the score of 48-0. In the Panthers first drive of the game, the offense set the tone from the very first play as Senior Running Back, Kyle Goree, had a 50-yard rushing touchdown to give the Panthers an early 7-0 lead. Then, on the very next offensive possession, Goree would find the end zone once again, extending the lead to 14-0.
In the second quarter, Senior Quarterback, Finn Hartney, would get in on the action and throw two touchdown passes to Goree and Senior Wide Receiver, Malachi Young. Goree would also find the end zone for a 4th time to give the Panthers a 35-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers offense would score two more times as Junior Running Backs, Elijah Hines and Kamau Edwards would score on rushing touchdowns of their own.
The Panthers defense were also terrific throughout the whole game as the Grizzlies could not establish their offense and get into a rhythm, keeping them off the scoreboard for the day. This shutout victory is the 3rd time this season that the Panthers defense has kept their opponents off the scoreboard.
The Panthers will move into TCAL play as they will host the Kennedy High Eagles of Richmond. The game is schedule for Saturday, October 8th, at 1pm.
Panthers Offense Shines in Win Over Highlanders
September 23rd, 2022--On a Friday evening in Piedmont, California, the Panthers took down former Bay Shore Athletic League (BSAL) foe, the Piedmont Highlanders, in convincing fashion as they would go on to win 49-15.
The Panthers had a balanced offensive attack as both their rushing and aerial attack were sharp throughout the entire evening. In the 1st quarter, Senior Running Backs, Logan Tanisaki and Kyle Goree, opened up the scoring for the Panthers as they found the end zone on terrific runs, giving the Panthers a 14-0 lead.
In the 2nd quarter, the Panthers offense extended their lead as they would find the end zone three more times. Senior Quarterback, Finn Hartney, would find fellow Senior Tight End, Austin Rogol, on a touchdown pass giving the Panthers a 21-0 lead early in the quarter. In the Panthers next two offensive possessions, Tanisaki and Junior Running Back, Samahdi Scott, would find the end zone on long rushing touchdowns of their own to blow the game open, giving the Panthers a 35-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the Highlanders showed signs of life as they scored on the opening possession of the half. However, the Panthers would find the end zone two more times, giving them a 49-15 victory.
Tanisaki’s terrific game allowed him to rush for more than 100 yards for the evening, the first time he has accomplished this feat in his Saint Mary’s career.
The Panthers will return to Brady Park as they take on the San Lorenzo Grizzlies in their Homecoming Game next Saturday, October 1st. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm.
Ground Game and Defense Propel Panthers JV Team
September 23rd, 2022--On a late Friday afternoon in Piedmont, California, the JV football team held on to win 20-14 over former Bay Shore Athletic League (BSAL) foe, the Piedmont Highlanders. The Panthers jumped out of the gate firing on all cylinders as they took their opening drive for a touchdown
in the 1st quarter as Freshman Wide Receiver, Jayson Webb, scored on a touchdown run to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Webb’s touchdown was the only score of the half as the both the Panthers and Highlanders defenses showcased stingy defenses.
The second half of the game displayed more excitement as both teams would generate more points on the board. The Panthers extended their lead early in the 3rd quarter as Freshman Running Back, Marcus Hughes, took a handoff found the end zone on a 16-yard run, giving the Panthers a 12-0 lead. However, on the following kickoff, the Highlanders answered immediately as they took the kickoff to the end zone, putting the Highlanders on the board and cutting into the Panthers lead by the score of 12-6.
In the 4th quarter, the Panthers defense showed up in a timely fashion as Freshman Defensive Back, Emiliano Ceron intercepted a Highlander pass to put an end to the Highlanders drive that was knocking on the door of the end zone. Following the pivotal turnover, Hughes would find the end zone one more time on a 51-yard touchdown. On the two-point conversion, Freshman Running Back, Wyatt Swanson, would punch it in on a 3-yard run, giving the Panthers a 20-6 lead.
The Highlanders would answer on a touchdown and successful two-point conversion of their own to cut the deficit to 20-14. With two minutes left in the game, the Highlanders got one more opportunity to score, but the Panthers defensive line stopped the Highlanders on 4th and 2, sealing the victory for the Panthers.
The Panthers will have another bye week coming up, and then begin TCAL play at Brady Park against the Kennedy High Eagles of Richmond on Saturday, October 8th.
Varsity Football Shuts Out Arroyo; Improve to 3-0
September 10th, 2022--On a Saturday afternoon in San Lorenzo, California, the Saint Mary’s Panthers traveled to Arroyo High School and picked right where they left off from their 28-14 victory over Deer Valley last weekend. The Panthers rushing attack and stingy defense propelled them to a 35-0 victory over the Arroyo Dons. With the victory, the Panthers improved to 3-0 on the season, which is the best start in the program’s history since the 2014-2015 football season.
Senior Running Back and Middle Linebacker Kyle Goree made quite the impact for the Panthers on both sides of the ball. Goree had four total touchdowns on the day as he rushed for 3 of them and returned a kickoff for a touchdown to open the second half of the game. On defense, Goree also made over 10 tackles.
Like Goree, Senior Defensive Ends Austin Rogol and Michael Lewis Jr. combined for 5.5 half sacks on the day, constantly putting pressure on the quarterback and putting the Dons offense in tough situations all game long. Junior Free Safety Marley Filson also contributed on the defensive side of the ball as he made an interception to end the first half.
The Panthers will now head into the bye week and will have two weeks to prepare for their next game against the Piedmont Highlanders on Friday, September 23rd
JV Football Wins Defense Struggle; Outlast Arroyo 6-0
September 10th, 2022--A week after having their best offensive game in their early season, the JV football team found themselves in a defensive struggle against the Arroyo Dons. But with less than two minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Panthers forced a fumble and then followed it up with a rushing
touchdown by Freshman Running Back Marcus Hughes to put the Panthers up for good as they defeated the Dons 6-0. In addition to his game-winning rushing touchdown, Hughes was also superb on defense as he forced a fumble early in the 4th quarter, putting a halt to the Dons’ drive.
The Panther’s defense was the story of the game as they displayed a stout rushing defense up front, and an aggressive pass defense as they did not allow a completion in the game. Sophomore Kian de Souza had a strong performance in his first game back to start his 2022-2023 campaign as he had numerous tackles for losses to halt the Dons rushing attack. De Souza also blocked a punt in the first half of the game to give the Panthers offense great field position.
The Panthers will head into the bye week with a 2-1 record and will have two weeks to prepare for their next game against the Piedmont High School on Friday, September 23rd.
JV and Varsity Football Shine in Home Opener
September 3rd, 2022—The JV Panthers were fantastic against the Deer Valley Wolverines Saturday afternoon. Their strong performance started with a touchdown on the opening drive, followed by a fumble recovery and that led to another touchdown to start the game with a 12-0 lead. However, the Wolverines had an immediate answer with an 80-yard touchdown to cut the leadto 12-6 in the first half.
On the Panthers next drive, on 4th and 16 from midfield, the Panthers executed a successful fake punt on a long pass on 4th and 16 pass completion, putting the Panthers in the red zone with a prime opportunity to extend their lead. A few plays later, the Panthers would finish the drive with a rushing touchdown and increase their lead to 21-6.
At the start of the second half, the Wolverines showed a sign of life as they opened the second half with a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 27-12. However, the Panthers answered immediately with an offensive touchdown on the next possession, and then followed that up with an interception for a touchdown to seal the victory for the Panthers, winning by the score of 42-12. The Panthers look to build off their impressive win next weekend when they take on the Arroyo High School Dons.
In a game that featured a lot of defense in the Panthers season opening win against Middletown High School, the Panthers offense took center stage with a balanced rushing and passing attack on Saturday afternoon against the Deer Valley Wolverines.
Despite allowing the Wolverines to score the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter, The Panthers displayed an impressive response as they scored the next two touchdowns in the final three minutes of the first half, putting them in the lead by the score of 13-7. The Panthers followed up their strong finish to the first half with an impressive opening drive of the second half with a rushing touchdown by Senior Running Back Logan Tanisaki. Tanisaki would then get the following hand off on the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 21-7. The Wolverines scored one more time at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Panthers answered right away with a rushing touchdown by Junior Running Back Samadhi Scott, putting a stamp on the Panthers 28-14 victory.
Senior Quarterback Finn Hartney, who threw his first touchdown pass of the season to fellow Senior Wide Receiver Alejandro Tejeda-Gonzales, said after the game that it felt great having the support from the fans and the coaches. He complimented his teammate, Alejandro Tejeda-Gonzales, for a great game on offense and defense, but their focus now is to move forward with the goal of starting the season 3-0 in the next game when they take on the Arroyo High School Dons next Saturday.
Defense Vital in Season Opening Win
August 27th, 2022—In the first game of the John Trotman era at Saint Mary’s College High School, the Varsity Football Team made the long 3-hour drive to Middletown, California and came away with a season opening victory to kick off the 2022 campaign. The Panthers defeated the Middletown Mustangs for the second straight year by the score of 7-0 where defense was the story of the game Friday night.
The Panthers strong defensive performance consisted of a pair of sacks each by Senior Defensive Ends, Austin Rogol and Michael Lewis Jr., and over 10 tackles by Senior Middle Linebacker Kyle Goree, who also added a rushing touchdown to his impressive evening to kick off his Senior campaign. Goree’s rushing touchdown proved to be enough for the Panthers to secure the victory. However, even though Goree’s touchdown proved to be the game winner, it was the final defensive stop by the Panthers in their own red zone that secured the victory. The final defensive stop was highlighted by aforementioned Senior, Michael Lewis Jr., who came up with the sack on 4th down to put a stamp on the season opening win.
The Panthers will return to Brady Park for their home opener on Saturday, September 3rd, against Deer Valley High School (Antioch, CA) who they defeated in last year’s battle by the score of 20-8. The Panthers look to continue their consistent defensive play, while the offense looks to get in a fine rhythm.
Season Highlights & Results (2021)
Junior Mike Lewis II (#50)
Panthers Up, Then Down Against Hercules!
by Noah Zirkle & Tristan Huerta
October 23rd, 2021
Despite a playing a dominant first half on both sides of the ball, the Panther football team suffered a heartbreaking 20-12 loss to the Hercules Titans in their homecoming game on Saturday at Brady Park. In the first half, the Panther defense shutout the Titan offense and was seemingly in complete control. A first half touchdown run from junior Kyle Goree put the home team up 6-0 going into the locker room as things looked positive.
Samahdi Scott Runs Through The Defense
Sadly, defensive miscues and what appeared to be a tired offense doomed the Panthers in the second half as the Titans rallied back to score 3 times to secure the win.
The Panthers will be back in action again next Saturday, October 30th agaisnt the Jesse Bethel Jaguars. Game time is 1:30. It will be Senior Day at Brady Park so come and support our five seniors in their last home game as Panthers!
Player Profile: James LemMon
by Ryan Painter
This week, I caught up with James LemMon, senior co-captain of the Saint Mary’s Varsity Football team. He is an offensive lineman who has played football all of his four years at Saint Mary’s. We talked about his thoughts on the season and his connection to Saint Mary’s and football.
Q: How did you get into your sport?
A: Football has always been part of my family. My father and brothers have played before me. I have been playing for six years now, carrying on the family tradition and have fallen in love with the game.
Q: What do you like best about football at Saint Mary’s?
A: My favorite part of playing at Saint Mary’s is the comradery and motivation of the team. There is a strong, hard working culture where everyone gives it their all and supports each other. This unified environment keeps everyone on their feet and eager to improve.
Q: What has been the highlight or most memorable moment of your Saint Mary’s athletic career thus far?
A: The highlight of my Saint Mary’s athletic career so far was this year's scrimmage against Tamalpais High School. My brother (Mathew LemMon) is the head coach of Tam High Football, so being able to compete against the team he built was really fun.
Q: Many athletes are superstitious or very committed to pregame rituals or routines? Do you have any?
A: I don’t have a complex pregame routine, but I always do a handshake with my teammate Arnav Thapa. This handshake puts us in the right mindset for game time and gets us ready to compete.
Q: What advice would you give to a new player/teammate?
A: The most valuable advice I could give to a new player or teammate is to persevere through the difficulty. Every player and team will go through challenging practices, games, and even seasons, but being able to keep working and stay positive will only make you stronger. Facing setbacks gives you an even greater desire to win and compete.
Q: Any hopes or goals that you have for yourself and for your team this season?
A: My goal for the team this season is to win finish the season strong, on a high note. I also want to continue to improve my own ability and cultivate a stronger football culture at Saint Mary’s.
Julian Womack is a 3-Star recruit on the football team. The senior co-captain is a 4 year letterman who plays tight end/outside linebacker. He’s also been a member of the track team, basketball team, and Circle SM. While at Saint Mary’s, Julian says A.P. U.S. History and Physiology have been his favorite classes. Outside of school, Julian works part-time at the Oakland Zoo and enjoys going to car shows and hanging out with his friends and family. Julian hopes to play football in college and one day hopes to be a doctor. This week, I got a chance to sit down and talk with him about football and this year’s team.
Q: You’ve been on the team now for four years. How did you get into your sport?
A: I have been playing football since I was five years old. My father and grandfather introduced it to me and I played flag football up until high school.
Q: What do you like best about football at Saint Mary’s?
A: My favorite part about playing at Saint Mary’s is the team chemistry. Everyone works together and supports each other which has been a large component of our success. I also love what football brings out within the players. Football lets us express what can’t be expressed in daily life, so that shared experience with my friends and team is really great.
Q: What has been the highlight of your season thus far?
A: The best part of my Saint Mary’s athletic career so far has been winning the first two games this season. It was very motivating and got the season off to a powerful start.
Q: Do you have a favorite story you could share about one of the coaches or your teammates?
A: My teammate, Rob Young, said he was going to get a touchdown before the first game. On the last possession, there was a flat route and he caught it in the end zone for his first touchdown. It was great to see his reaction.
Q: Do you have a pregame ritual you don’t mind sharing with us?
A: The night before, I always eat spaghetti and drink two bottles of Pedialyte. The morning of the game, I have two eggs and one Gatorade protein bar. This puts my body in the right state for games.
Q: Any hopes/goals that you have for yourself and for your team this season?
A: I want us to go as far as they can in the playoffs, continue to improve, and strengthen our defense.
Q: What advice would you give to a new player/teammate?
A: Trust the program and the coach’s advice. Make sure to encourage and support your teammates, and work out in the off season. Football is a team sport and the better teammate you are, the better your experience will be and the better the team will be.
Panthers Down Deer Valley 20-8; Move to 2-0 on Season
Antioch, CA - Buoyed by a strong running game and stout defense, the Saint Mary’s football team moved to 2-0 on the season with a 20-8 road win against Deer Valley (Antioch) on Friday Night.
“Our defense played pretty well, coming up with key stops when we needed them,” said head coach Jahvid Best after the game. “We didn’t play mistake free football, but I thought we improved in some areas from last week to this week.”
Indeed, the defense didn’t allow a score until late in the 4th quarter after already being up 20-0. The Panthers running game, led by junior Kyle Goree, continued to pound out yardage and pick up timely first downs while building their 20 point lead. Running backs coach De’Angelo Hernandez, along with line coach Peter Sekona, were especially pleased after the game. “James, Arnav, Adam and the guys up played solid football tonight,” said coach Sekona. “They stayed with their blocks and allowed Kyle enough room to move the chains. They definitely deserve some credit.”
The Panthers opened the scoring with a 39 yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Finn Hartney to senior tight end/split end Julian Womack. Then, after some exchanging possessions several times, the Panthers running game came alive… culminating in a 5 yard touchdown run by Kyle Goree that made the game 14 – 0 at halftime.
A back and forth third quarter didn’t yield any points before Kyle Goree, again behind good line play, broke the game open with a dazzling, 20 yard touchdown run. Hemmed in on the sideline, surrounded by what seemed 3 or 4 Wolverines, the powerful Goree broke a tackle, picked up several key blocks, and cut back across the field to score. That touchdown marked the end for Deer Valley and cemented the game for the Panthers.
Next up for the Panthers will be fellow Christian Brothers school and perennial small school power Justin Siena (Napa) on Friday, September 10th in Napa. The JV game is at 4:30 while the Varsity kicks off at 7:00.
Panthers Use Big 4th Quarter to Beat Middletown
August 28th, 2021
On Saturday, the Saint Mary’s football team opened their 2021 season with a big comeback win against Middletown. The game, originally scheduled for Friday evening in Middletown, was instead played at Brady Park on Saturday afternoon because of poor air quality. According to first year head coach Jahvid Best, the venue change no doubt played a part in giving the Panthers an edge. “Playing in front of the home crowd undoubtedly gave us a spark,” said the former Cal great. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that the crowd’s energy helped us, especially in the 4th quarter.”
The Mustangs scored the game’s first touchdown on a 1 yard quarterback sneak midway through the 1st quarter before the Panthers answered with a long touchdown run by Kyle Goree. The Panthers failed to convert the extra point so the score was 7 – 6 after the first quarter. Middletown scored again in the 2nd quarter to go up 14 – 6 before the Panthers answered just before halftime to close the gap to 14 – 12.
After halftime, both teams botched scoring opportunities with penalties and mistakes – setting up a final quarter that would decide the game. “I loved the fight our players showed late in the game,” echoed coach Best. “Our numbers are down so a lot of the guys were on the field for most of the game. Heat and fatigue could have worn them down but they stayed after it and that decided the game. As we continue to say around here, good things happen when you continue to work.”
The varsity team is back in action next Friday night, September 3rd against Deer Valley in Antioch. Game time is 7:00, preceded by the Junior Varsity game at 4:30.
Excitement And Enthusiasm Ushers in 2021 Football Season
The 2021 Panther football season will, perhaps, be like no other in recent memory. The lingering global pandemic, highly touted new head coach, brand new coaching staff, and first year starting quarterback all greet the 2021 team and contribute to the high levels of excitement and enthusiasm that have dominated the locker room this summer.
Former Cal Bear star Jahvid Best was hired last spring to head the program and is anxious to get the season started. “My beliefs in running a program are rooted in a ‘building blocks’ philosophy,” said coach Best. “My goal is that each day our players and team improve; that they get stronger, improve their skill, understand the playbook, and support each other. I think the road to success depends on our players and coaches embracing this approach.”
Much of the improvement coach Best talked about has surrounded first year quarterback Finn Hartney. “Finn has really improved over the course of the summer,” said Best, referring specifically to his impressive summer passing league performances and his ability to understand and quickly digest the playbook. Another player coach Best spoke glowingly about is senior Julian Womack, who is making the switch from wide receiver to tight end. Coach Best explains the switch as a desire to involve Julian in both the passing and the running game and to best utilize Julian’s impressive athleticism and play-making ability.
Junior Kyle Goree looks to have a big season as the starting running back, as does junior Anthony Jones. who is described as an “exceptional athlete” and an “all purpose player who will spend time as a wide receiver, running back and kick returner.” Senior James LemMon begins his second year on varsity and returns as the team’s top lineman, where he’ll play on both sides of the ball. Another senior, Robert Young has also impressed the coaches, not only with his abilities but also with his leadership. On the defensive side of the ball, look for Robert to be instrumental as the starting middle linebacker and the defensive signal caller.
Overall, coach Best cited the 12 to 14 returners as the core of the team but acknowledged that the team’s success may depend on the ability and willingness of the newer, younger players to improve, commit, and buy into the changes and culture that coach Best says will “define a new era for Saint Mary’s football.
The Panthers open their 2021 with a home scrimmage against Tamalpais High School. From there, the Panthers will hit the road for games against Middletown, Deer Valley and Christian Brothers sister school Justin-Siena (Napa). In October, the Panthers kick-off their TCAL league games… traveling to St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Albany and Vallejo before hosting Hercules on October 23rd. Coach Best and the entire coaching staff and administration hope you’ll come out and support this new era of Saint Mary’s football.
Football Schedule & Results (2021)
|Junior Varsity Result
|48 - 6 (L)
|25 - 14 (W)
|8 - 0 (L)
|20 - 8 (W)
|45 - 8 (L)
|34 - 0 (L)
|Salesian (JV) / Fremont
|22 - 0 (L)
|42 - 0 (L)
|42 - 14 (L)
|28 - 8 (L)
|20 - 12 (L)
|44 - 6 (L)
|31 - 30 (W)
|31 - 13 (L)