Berean Christian High football downed Salesian on Saturday for the first time since 2001 with a second-half surge powered by inserted quarterback Vince Guarisco and an interception returned for a score by Isaiah Hodgins in the 47-30 win.
Berean Christian coach James Hodgins said he prepares his team to treat all games with the same importance. “But the reality is,” he said, “it had some special meaning to us because we hadn’t beaten them in so long and because the rivalry has been so lopsided over the years.”
For example, Salesian has won the last four matchups by a combined score of 188-27. This time, Salesian took an early 8-0 advantage and led 8-7 at halftime, ceding only a 92-yard punt return for a score by Isaiah Hodgins — the coach’s son.
But the third quarter proved problematic for the Pride. Guarisco, who came into the game in the second quarter, found senior receiver Michael Fulton for a 28-yard score that put Berean Christian up 14-8. After Salesian tied the game at 14-all midway through the third quarter, Guarisco tossed a checkdown to Joshua Smith which the senior receiver ran 84 yards for a touchdown.
“He turned on the jets and took off,” James Hodgins said of the 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound Smith. “I tell the colleges when they come around that he’s the biggest guy on the field, but he’s also the fastest.”
Then Isaiah Hodgins snagged his second interception of the game and returned it 46 yards for the pick-six for a three-score advantage. Salesian junior Alex Hutchison ran the kickoff back to edge Salesian within 34-22 before Berean Christian senior Joey Esco scored a 74-yard rushing touchdown. Salesian scored again but couldn’t convert an onside kick, ending its comeback attempt.
“Our guys just made plays,” James Hodgins said. “Those big plays gave us the momentum and gave us what we needed to put it past them.”