In a continuing trend, the Holy Bowl has helped the Jesuit Marauders regain a sense of football spirit and meaning.
A year ago, an 0-2 start to the season was salvaged in quick order with a rout of Christian Brothers, igniting a 10-game winning streak and an unbeaten romp through the Delta League schedule.
On Saturday night at Hughes Stadium, Bee-ranked No 7 Jesuit - again backing in at an irritated 0-2 - dropped the hammer on the rival Falcons to the tune of a 46-7 runaway in the 48th edition of the area’s most heavily attended rivalry.
There were some 12,000 fans in attendance, including alums and scores of students in dueling rooting sections.
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Cade Cunningham rushed for 174 yards on 12 carries for Jesuit and scored on first-half runs of 1, 1 and 34 yards. Hank Harvego completed 7 of 10 passes for 197 yards and four touchdown passes, including strikes of 40 and 69 yards to Kendric Bailey, whose older brother Isaiah Bailey was a Jesuit star and now makes plays for Alabama A&M.
Harvego also hit Connor McIntee for a 20-yard touchdown and Spencer Vigil for an 11-yard scoring strike for the Marauders, who opened the season Bee-ranked No. 2 but suffered losses to regional powers Folsom and Granite Bay.
Cunningham ran for 148 yards in the first half to set a dominating offensive line tone, and he is proof that depth counts. The senior has filled in admirably for starting running back Jackson Canaan, who was lost for the season in a season opener at Folsom with a knee injury.
Cunningham can relate to injury heartache. He missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury. He also plays safety and is the holder for kicks.
Jesuit came up with three interceptions, one each for Cunningham, Anthony Chideme-Alfaro and Vigil. The Marauders pulled their starters before the fourth quarter, which included a running clock due to the 35-point mercy rule.
National recruit cornerback Isaiah Rutherford returned to action for Jesuit after missing all but a couple of plays of the season with an ankle injury suffered against Folsom. Laitu Latu, also a national recruit, showcased his skills at Hughes Stadium, making two remarkable catches as a tight end, pressuring Christian Brothers quarterback Jacob Stewart, including a sack, and booming a punt that rolled to the 1.
Jesuit leads the all-time Holy Bowl series 32-14-2. The rivalry started in 1969.
Luke Jones opened the second half with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for Christian Brothers (2-2), which plays No. 7 Capital Christian next Saturday at Hughes Stadium in a Capital Athletic League opener.
Jesuit hosts neighborhood rival Rio Americano at home on Friday in a rare night game as portable lights will be ushered in. The Marauders start Delta play on Sept. 21 against Franklin.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: firstname.lastname@example.org, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.