High School Sports

Christian Brothers rallies past Jesuit in Holy Bowl: ‘We were tired of losing to them’

Coaches hugged coaches. Players hugged each other and coaches and anyone within arm’s reach.

Students rushed the field, a proud old athletic director held back tears and the first-year coach was numb from all of it.

That’s what happens when a team snaps a nine-year losing streak to its fiercest rival and when that rival has owned the series, winning 25 of the previous 27 meetings.

Upstart Christian Brothers High School beat Jesuit 30-27 on Saturday night at Hughes Stadium in one of the more dramatic Holy Bowls since the series started in 1969 (the game was not played in 1977 and ‘78). Jesuit leads the series 32-16-2.

Justin Douglas scored on runs of 4 and 30 yards, and quarterback Jacob Stewart hit Luke Jones for a 15-yard touchdown and then scored the winner on a 5-yard run to seal it as Christian Brothers overcame Ace Saca’s three touchdown runs to set off a wild scene at Hughes Stadium that included some 10,000 fans.

The Christian Brothers rooting section — “The Falcon Force” — raced onto the playing surface. Athletic director Dale Milton got misty, soaking in his first Holy Bowl victory in CB blue colors, and Principal Chris Orr was all grins.

John Wiley, the Falcons’ coach, hugged players, coaches and especially wife Melanie and their children, Jared and Juliana. Wiley even jumped into the arms of assistant coach Jimmy Ghalardi.

Wiley was on the CB coaching staff with Ghilardi before, absorbing more setbacks to Jesuit than he cares to recall.

“We went through a lot of battles with Jesuit together,” Wiley said. “That hug meant a lot more because it meant we finally got a win over Jesuit. This is about our players who have played in this game the last nine years and about our community. When you look around, this is why I’m so blessed just to be the coach here.

“That’s the atmosphere you want. This is a memory that will last them for the rest of their lives. Our senior class has worked their butts off since January for this moment. We are coming together as one.”

Stewart, a junior, plotted the Gatorade dumping on Wiley after engineering the winning drive. A year ago, Stewart was under siege from the Jesuit pass rush during a 46-7 Marauders victory.

On Saturday, Stewart overcame mistakes and remained poised, impressing his coach, who said of his field leader, “He stuck it out. For every turnover he had, he bounced back and made plays for us. That’s a true sign of a warrior.”

Stewart won’t forget Saturday. CB is 3-1 heading into its Capital Athletic League opener at defending champion Capital Christian.

“It feels like a dream,” Stewart said. “We have planned on rushing the field after a win forever. We were tired of losing to them. We knew this was our best shot this year.”

The Orr name is synonymous with athletics in Sacramento. Chris Orr said he loves his job as the CB principal, where he supports athletics and encourages students to get involved. His brother, Mark Orr, is the Sacramento State athletic director, and their father, Greg Orr, is a decades-long baseball scout for the Yankees.

“This is what happens when you believe and work hard — you have opportunities like this,” Chris Orr said of the CB win and atmosphere. “This is a big rivalry game that has great energy between two schools. The rivalry between Christian Brothers and Jesuit is amazing. To have the community support from both of these schools is big. Whenever two schools come together like we do against Jesuit, it’s a good thing.”

Jesuit is 0-3 and plays another rival in Rio Americano on Friday at Del Campo. Jesuit’s Delta League schedule starts Sept. 27 against Franklin.