KENTFIELD, Calif. - Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.)
High School football coach Mazi Moayed hesitated making the comparison but then, after careful consideration, made it anyway: "He's got that cool, like a Joe Montana."
Moayed was talking about his Cal-bound quarterback
, who brought the Kentfield power from a two-touchdown third-quarter deficit with three second-half touchdown passes in a 28-21 home win over St. Ignatius (San Francisco, Calif.)
on Saturday in a matchup of San Francisco Bay Area powers.
Goff, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior ranked the No. 15 dropback quarterback in the country by MaxPreps, wasn't razor sharp, completing 14 of 30, but he made all the throws he needed late, for 344 yards.
His third-down 20-yard TD strike to 6-4, 190-pound senior Colton Hanley
(4 catches, 84 yards) on a crossing pattern broke a 21-21 tie with 1:43 remaining. Earlier Goff fired TD passes of 80 yards to Andrew Celis
(6-159) and 2-yards to Hanley on the first play of the fourth quarter.
St. Ignatius (0-1) had one last chance and drove to the Marin Catholic 30 behind gritty southpaw quarterback Jack Stinn
(15 of 32, 241 yards), but for the second week in a row junior safety Sam Killpack
intercepted a pass to seal it for Marin Catholic (2-0).
The game was almost a carbon copy of last year when Marin Catholic fought back from a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit to beat St. Ignatius 28-26. It also used late heroics to defeat Vacaville (33-29) and Berkeley (35-27).
"We seem to find a way to get it done," Moayed said. "It helps to have a quarterback like Jared."
St. Ignatius changed up defenses nicely in the first half and Goff missed on 12 of 19 attempts. A 22-yard yard touchdown pass from Stinn to a leaping Andrew Vollert
and Goff 3-yard TD run left the game tied at 7 at intermission.
A pair of touchdown runs by impressive junior Elijah Dale
(13 rushes, 113 yards) of 2 and 62 yards gave St. Ignatius a 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
But there was little squabbling on the Marin Catholic sideline and just two plays later, Celis made a spectacular one-hand catch on a cross rout and outraced the St. Ignatius defense to close to 21-14.
"We needed to make a play and Jared put it right out there for me to grab," Celis said. "One way or another someone is going to step up. St. Ignatius is a great program and it took everything we had to come out on top."
The two touchdown grabs by Hanley were especially significant because the tall rangy receiver had struggled earlier in camp and wasn't getting a lot of targets.
When top threat Nick Devere
was lost for the season with a knee injury in the team's scrimmage with Cardinal Newman, and Celis went down twice after halftime with leg cramps and a rib injury, Hanley was Goff's go-to guy.
Both touchdown passes – the first came on fourth down – Hanley was the No. 1 option.
"When you're number is called you have to respond," Hanley said. "When both plays were called, I got very excited on the inside. The line gave Jared time to throw on both plays and Jared made perfect throws each time. I had the easy part really – just make the catch."
St. Ignatius seemed to have its longtime season-opening rivals on the ropes. If not for a case for a case of the dropsies – receivers had at least five drops, two that resulted into interceptions – the defending Central Coast Section Division III champs would have had a bigger cushion and likely would have put Marin Catholic away.
Stinn's stats would have also been considerably more impressive, all water under the bridge according to St. Ignatius coach John Regalia.
"This isn't a case of woulda-coulda-shoulda," he said. "We simply have to keep building to make plays at the end of the game. Marin Catholic is a very good team. We did a lot of good things. Now we have to go through the films and evaluate just where we are." 10 Takes from Marin Catholic-St. Ignatius1. This is a great rivalry.
One you can bank on. It was the third straight win for Marin Catholic, after St. Ignatius had won five straight. Since 2004, St. Ignatius owns a 5-4 lead but Marin Catholic owns a slight overall edge in points, 217-213. 2. The magic number is 28.
Marin Catholic has scored 28 points in the last four meetings – rather remarkable - and the winning score over the last seven years has been: 28, 28, 28, 29, 26, 29 and 35.
3. Sportsmanship is not over-rated.
Beyond the tight nature in score, I really enjoy the true sportsmanlike and respect level between the two programs. It's not phony, though both programs do preach it – nothing wrong with that. I thought Celis put it best afterward. "St. Ignatius has such good guys. There's not any smack talk out there. Every player just goes all out and then afterward, gives respect. I really like that." Ditto. 4. Andrew Celis is star in the making.
He's 6-foot, 178 pounds and junior and on a field with a load of good athletes, he might be the best. He not only is Marin Catholic's star receiver, but starting cornerback, kicker and punter. He can also play quarterback. "He's starting to get a lot of interest," Moayed said. "There's not much he can't do." 5. Goff's best trait is poise.
His arm and footwork is strong, but what I like most about the son of former major league baseball player Jerry Goff is how unflappable he is under pressure. He's humble, smart and confident – the definition of a field general.
6. St. Ignatius will contend with Serra for the West Catholic Athletic title.
The Wildcats have all facets. Strong line, superb quarterback, breakaway threats in Albert Waters and Dale, big physical receivers (Vollert, tight end Nik Bell
and Matt Emery
are all 6-4 or 6-5) and a solid sure-tackling defense led by Noah Bull
, the WCAL's leading tackler last season. They had Goff befuddled much of the day. 7. Marin Catholic's offensive line is stout.
Anchored by Colorado-bound Gunnar Graham
(6-4, 280), the line kept pressure off Goff almost the entire game. 8. Elijah Dale appears bigger than 5-8, 175.
The St. Ignatius tailback run extremely hard, broke numerous tackles and had a very nice spin move. He looks primed for at a 1,000-yard season. 9. Waters made the defensive play of the game.
While Celis' one-handed grab and touchdown would have made prep's Top 10 Plays list on offense, Waters leaping interception at the Marin Catholic 9 and then sterling 46-yard return set up St. Ignatius' first score.
10. Attitude is everything.
The best I witnessed – and saw many – was from a lad who didn't even play, DeVere. On crutches, wearing his No. 21 jersey and shorts, Marin Catholic's No. 1 breakaway threat somehow made his way up and down the sidelines for all four quarters. "This is more tiring than the game," he joked. Upbeat, encouraging, positive, DeVere was into the action all the way, helping his teammates the only way he could. After the game, DeVere couldn't have been more upbeat. He's sees the forest through the trees sort of teen, happy for his teammates, resolved in his commitment to get back on the field in college and overall upbeat – not easy when you have to watch from the sideline. Marin Independent Journal reporter Dave Curtis said DeVere – with 1,800 all-purpose yards last year - might have been the team's most important player coming back. He was the team's true breakaway threat. Asked about the bad timing and luck of the injury, DeVere just smile broadly: "It's adversity. You have to deal with. I'm still young and otherwise healthy and I'll definitely be playing football again. I just need to help my teammates the best I can now." DeVere was the last person I spoke to, a splendid ending to a superb high school football Saturday.
E-mail MaxPreps senior writer and columnist at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMax