Gabe Fertitta earned his 20th win as Catholic High School’s coach, and the Bears were strong and steady in their regular-season finale Friday night, taking a big first-half lead en route to a 55-20 win over Broadmoor.
The Bears used three quarterbacks but were led by Jackson Thomas, who completed 15 of 19 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns through the first half.
Landon O’Connor also added 50 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Addison Ainsworth played the majority of the fourth quarter at quarterback, going 2-for-7 with completions of 29 and 53 yards.
“We played three different quarterbacks tonight and all three of them executed the offense great,” Fertitta said. “They took care of the ball, which is big. I’m proud of them and their preparation.”
Broadmoor coach Elliott Wilkins commended his team for its effort and its ability to still make explosive plays when down.
“Just keep playing, that’s our motto,” Wilkins said. “With the schools that we play against and the schedule that we have, you just have to keep playing. You can’t stop playing and you play to win the game.”
Catholic began the game with a slow march down the field that shaved almost six minutes off the clock. A 5-yard run by running back Charles Barhorst capped the drive, putting the Bears up 7-0.
Catholic needed just four plays to score again.
The Bears took over with a short field, and Thomas hit receiver Solomon Singleton in the end zone to put Catholic up 14-0 with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
Broadmoor later got an interception by defensive back Patrick Lee, and on the first play of the Bucs' next drive, quarterback DiMarco Nobles hit receiver Donald Jones in the end zone to leave the Bucs trailing 14-6.
Catholic took no time coming back with a touchdown of its own, and Barhorst capped the Bears' next drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, extending their lead to 21-6.
The game was still within reach at that point, but Broadmoor fumbled in the end zone, and Bears defensive back Hunter Thomas recovered for the touchdown, putting Catholic up 28-6 with 5:32 left in the half.
“We were all really excited for Hunter,” Fertitta said. “That’s a senior on our team that’s worked really, really hard. He’s come back form injury after injury, and for him to score tonight was fantastic.”
The Bucs had a chance to score after a 52-yard pass from Nobles to running back Maleek Mitchell put them in the red zone, but Catholic’s defense was able to get a turnover on downs before halftime.
Making matters worse for Broadmoor, Thomas hit Michael Grizzaffi for a 37-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears up 34-6 with 54 seconds left until halftime.
Broadmoor came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, scoring on the first play on a 62-yard pass from Nobles to Jones again. The Bucs still trailed 34-12 with 11:37 left in the third quarter.
The Catholic defense stopped Broadmoor at the goal line with 2:05 left in the game to finish off the win.
“I was really proud of our young guys,” Fertitta said. “We had freshman out there, even in the first quarter. So, I’m really proud of the young guys and the coaching staff for developing those guys and them getting the chance to play tonight.”