Bishop Diego Shows Improvement in Loss to Grace Brethren

Cardinals fall to Grace Brethren in Camino League opener

Mark Vehslage drags Grace Brethren defenders after making a catch on Friday night at La Playa Stadium.

Victor Bryant

Mark Vehslage drags Grace Brethren defenders after making a catch on Friday night at La Playa Stadium.

For the second consecutive year Bishop Diego had no answer for Lontrelle Diggs in crunch time as the Grace Brethren running back bulldozed his way to 193 yards on 16 carries in a 42-21 victory for the visiting Lancers on Saturday night.

Last season it was Diggs who scored the game-winning touchdown for Grace Brethren in double overtime to give Bishop Diego its only loss in what was otherwise a dreams season.

This time around Diggs erased Bishop Diego’s upset bid by running wild in the second half to break open a close game.

“Obviously their running back is a load and I think he was a difference maker in the game,” said Bishop Diego coach Tom Crawford of Diggs.

Despite the loss, it was perhaps the most impressive game of the season thus far for Bishop Diego against quality competition. Grace Brethren was fresh off a 24-6 victory over a Westlake team that was ranked No. 15 in the state at the time according to Maxpreps.

The Lancers struck first on the opening play of the game on an 80-yard pass from quarterback Mikey Zele to receiver Nathan Bennett. Bennett was one of four Grace Brethren players that gained eligibility this week after completing the transfer sit out period.

“We definitely have more playmakers. We weren’t in sync the way we’d like to be on offense,” said Grace Brethren coach Josh Henderson. “We’ve got some new guys and there were some things there, but overall the offensive performance was extremely strong.”

The Cardinals responded to the shocking opening play with a nine play, 59-yard drive capped off by a ten-yard touchdown pass from Jake Engel to Luke Knightley. Engel lobbed the fade perfectly to the corner of the end zone and the sophomore Knightley went up and over a Grace Brethren defensive back to go get it.

Grace Brethren added touchdowns on its next two possessions on runs of 16 and three yards by Diggs to go ahead 21-7 at the 10:21 mark of the second quarter. But Bishop Diego answered again, this time with a 51-yard touchdown run straight up the gut by Soracco with just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Zele connected with Bennett again for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 5:11 remaining in the second quarter, increasing the Lancers’ lead to 28-14 going into halftime.

A Knightley interception set up a four-play, 42-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by Engel with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter. A 36-yard throw and catch from Engel To Isaiah Morones highlighted the drive, but that’s as close as Bishop Diego came to victory as Diggs added two late touchdown runs to put the game away

Soracco finished with 107 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown to lead the Cardinals. Bishop Diego will travel to unbeaten Camarillo next week.