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.
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: email@example.com, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.