St. Ignatius football hoping to rebound after season-opening loss 

St. Ignatius quarterback Jack Stinn threw for - 300 yards in the Wildcats’ season-opening loss. (Eric Luis/Special to The Examiner) - ERIC LUIS/SPECIAL TO THE EXAMINER
  • Eric Luis/Special to The Examiner
  • St. Ignatius quarterback Jack Stinn threw for 300 yards in the Wildcats’ season-opening loss. (Eric Luis/Special to The Examiner)

As tough a pill as St. Ignatius’ 28-26 loss to Marin Catholic was to swallow last week, the excitement surrounding the football program is palpable.

The reason for the excitement is a revamped offense the Wildcats displayed against Marin Catholic, and first-year junior starting quarterback Jack Stinn.

Unlike the straight-ahead, run-heavy offensive attack the Wildcats have employed in recent years, Stinn completed 23-of-43 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown against Marin Catholic.

Now, riding Stinn’s live left arm, the Wildcats will host Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland on Saturday, but St. Ignatius coach John Regalia stressed the need for versatility.

“With offense, defense and even kicking, we have to adapt,” Regalia said. “There will be different opponents that run different things, or matchups will be different. Maybe this week we do or don’t throw 43 times. If we do, we’re doing that because that’s what puts us in a situation to be successful.”

St. Ignatius served the Dragons their only regular-season loss last year, before the O’Dowd fell to eventual North Coast Section Division III champion Cardinal Newman in the postseason.

The Dragons dropped their opener to Frankin of Elk Grove last week, but the aspect of a potential hangover from last week’s close loss is something the Wildcats can’t afford against a quality opponent.

“The focus has to be O’Dowd, whether we’re ready [to bounce back] or not, it has to be,” Regalia said. “I do think we’ve processed [the Marin Catholic] game and we are looking ahead and we’d be foolish not to. They’re a good team, they’re well coached and we have to be ready to play.”

The offense may have stolen the spotlight, but it was the St. Ignatius defense that was just as much of a factor early against Marin Catholic. The Wildcats only allowed 118 yards through three quarters, but could not stop Marin Catholic in the fourth.

Regalia also noted that the defense didn’t force any turnovers against Marin Catholic and showed plenty of room for improvement.

“We need to force takeaways and be that opportunistic defense.” Regalia said. “We know the things that we need to work on, and those are the things we have to maintain through four quarters of football. We need to address those areas and have to improve.”

Saturday will likely be a fervent atmosphere, as O’Dowd travels well and has a considerable fan presence, but Stinn and company are embracing the opportunity — they just won’t commit to the details.

“The number of throws or points, I don’t know,” Stinn said of a potential shootout against O’Dowd. “As long as it’s enough for us to win.”

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St. Ignatius vs. Bishop O’Dowd

WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m.

WHERE: J.B. Murphy Field, St. Ignatius

LAST YEAR: St. Ignatius defeated Bishop O’Dowd 28-14

LAST WEEK: St. Ignatius lost 28-26 to Marin Catholic; Bishop O’Dowd lost to Franklin (Elk Grove) 42-26

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Jeremy Balan

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