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Saints finally find comfort in run game

09/23/2016, 11:40pm PDT
By Steve Brand

Isaac Taylor-Stuart finished with 138 yards rushing on 17 carries for St. Augustine.

St. Augustine High football coach Richard Sanchez has not been in his comfort zone this season.

In his book, the best offense is one that runs the ball first and if the opposing defense gives it to his No. 1-ranked Saints, then throw the ball.


So you can bet Sanchez was more than a little thrilled when junior running back Isaac Taylor-Stuart, filling for an injured Darrell Broussard, busted through the middle and used his track speed to race 62 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 to play, giving the visiting Saints a 26-14 victory over upset-minded Eastlake.

Prior to Taylor-Stuart’s dramatic TD, Eastlake had made a spirited comeback from a 20-0 halftime deficit to close to 20-14, but the Titans could get no closer than the Saints’ 38 before stalling.

Taylor-Stuart finished with 138 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Not that the Saints passing attack wasn’t potent behind QB Rodney Thompson, who finished 18 of 22 for 191 yards and two TDs, giving him 1,049 yards and 12 scores for the season.

He accounted for all of the Saints scoring in the first half as he tossed TD passes to Brendan Silvia (12 yards) and Noah DiNapoli (7 yards) as well as muscling his way in for a 1-yard score.

You can expect St. Augustine, ranked No. 19 in the state by MaxPreps, to try to run the ball a little more each game as the season progresses.

“We’re very young,” said Sanchez, pointing out that one side of his offensive line includes 6-4, 220-pound freshman Michael Ambagstsheer and 6-4, 285-pound sophomore Ty Carter.

“We take pride in running the ball but when you have great receivers like we have and a quarterback like Thompson (who is completing better than 70 percent of his passes with just three interceptions), we’ll throw more than run.”

Eastlake (1-4) has now lost to four teams, all of whom are in the top six in the Union-Tribune weekly poll.

Brand is a freelance writer.

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