Football teams tackle new season with heads high


Steven Rissotto ’20

Members of the varsity football team sing the alma mater after a recent game.

Cameron Bevan-Abel ’22, Sports Editor

Both the Riordan Varsity and Junior Varsity Football teams have gotten off to hot starts this season. First year Varsity head coach Mark Modeste has fit well with the team and has already changed the culture and philosophy of the ball club.

“I have worked really hard in creating a high school philosophy on defense, and am very committed to installing that here, and we’re getting there…I have no doubt that we will be able to maintain that kind of progression on defense. We have good talent there,” Modeste said.

The Varsity team’s success has mainly come from the running game after a total of 806 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in the first two games alone.

In regards to his run-first offense, Coach Modeste said, “I’ve always believed if you can run the football, then you can manage the game in terms of the clock and kind of dictate how you want the game to go, and so that’s always been my focus when I try to build a program that we want to run the football, and I believe that we can with the type of athletes that we have and I think you can do it in any program as long as you put a lot of time and energy into it…the progression to being a successful passing team takes a while to develop and the running game just complements that.”

The Varsity and JV’s combined pre-season record in the first three weeks was 5-1, yet all games have been on the road due to the construction of the new field.

“I think right now it has been to our advantage…what it’s created is an environment where there are some things stacked against us and we have to overcome,” Athletic Director Bob Greene said in regards to the no home-field advantage for the Crusaders.

The following Saturday, Riordan faced the Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks in another non-league match. The Crusaders noticed their ground attack against Terra Nova was 300 yards, 4 touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry and still thought they could do better. They were right.

Against the Hawks, they ran for 506 yards, 6 touchdowns and 9 yards per carry. Fazon Ruth only needed 24 touches to get 255 yards and 2 TDs. The Crusaders also had two other 100 yard rushers with Aden Jackson ’21 gaining 107 yards and a TD on only 11 carries, and Kemoeatu Kefu ’22 rushing for 106 yards and 2 TDs. The end result, a 39-27 Crusader victory.

The Crusaders’ two-game win streak sadly came to an end after a bitter loss against the then 3-0 Justin-Siena Braves. The game was neck and neck until the end, and Carlos Valencia ’21 of the Crusaders even made a clutch field goal late in the fourth quarter to take a 31-28 point lead, but disaster followed.

Justin-Siena KR Solomone Anitoni ran the kickoff 96 yards back for a touchdown. The Braves capitalized on the Crusaders’ error just a couple plays later with a forced fumble and again Solomone took it to the house.

That was his fourth TD of the game with two receiving touchdowns earlier in the game. Final score: Justin-Siena Braves: 43, Archbishop Riordan Crusaders: 31. The Varsity team looked to rebound from this tough loss two weeks later against Serra, the 131st ranked team in the nation at the time, in their first conference game. Sadly, they got blown out 41-0. After Aden Jackson’s ’21 long run in the 1st quarter, the run game just could not get going.

The Crusaders’ Junior Varsity team got off on the right foot to start this season as well. Against Terra Nova, as a team, Riordan ran for 251 yards and 5 three- touchdown performance on only 8 carries by Tailback Jaren Estillore ’22.

Curtis Jones ’22 contributed with 2 rushing touchdowns as well. QB Emilio Cruz ’22 threw for 72 yards and 2 TDs, with only one incompletion. The Crusaders cruised to a 48-0 win.

The crusade continued the next two weeks with a 27-7 victory over Tamalpais and a 28- 14 win over Justin- Siena. The Junior Varsity team’s first conference game was also against the Serra Padres.