East County Sports

Richter tips scale in Sultans’ favor

Michael Richter carries for Santana on Friday. / Liz Shawcroft

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

SANTANA 33, MOUNT MIGUEL 23

 

By Jim Lindgren

 

SPRING VALLEY – Two freaks of football nature met on the gridiron Friday night in a battle of unbeatens at Mount Miguel.

Both were still standing afterward, in fact, embracing and praising each other, after an epic record-setting duel in which Santana outlasted Mt. Miguel 33-23 in front of about 500 fans – thanks, in large part, to Michael Richter’s four touchdowns in only his second game playing running back.

Jacob Laverdiere carried 31 times and threw 25 times, accounting for every one of the Matadors’ 56 plays, which at least ties an all-time record for percent of the offense.

At least 17 times, the Matadors’ senior quarterback was wrestled into the synthetic turf by Michael Richter, a three-year starting linebacker who posted 16 tackles and a sack – as well as a late-hit penalty when he drilled Laverdiere in the chest after a short pass attempt.

“He’s a baller,” Laverdiere said of Richter, shortly after they hugged on the field several minutes after the final whistle. “I had never met him … until tonight.”

Richter rushed 12 times for 71 yards and three touchdowns and caught his first two ever passes for 85 yards, including a 49-yard score. Laverdiere rushed for 160 yards and threw for 156.

“I give No. 5 (Laverdiere) props,” Richter said. “I hit him hard a number of times, and he kept getting up to run another one. That guy can play.”

Richter gained 110 yards and two TDs on seven carries in his first game at running back two weeks ago in a win over Kearny. He was limited to defense last week in a victory over El Capitan.

He did everything against Mt. Miguel but explained the offensive effort rather simply.

“It’s not that hard to get behind the fat guys and run,” Richter said. “All you have to do is run the football. A great offensive line makes it easy.”

Santana’s offensive line is anchored by seniors Andrew Golembiewski, Isac Sanchez, Caleb Curry and Dominic Gamboa but also features junior Joey Goedker and Jaxen Dolan and sophomore Nathan Diveley.

“I’m not the shifty guy,” Richter said. “I’m the power guy. We need a first down, I say, ‘Coach, put me in.’ I’m way more of a defensive guy.”

On that scale, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Richter had 95 tackles and a school-record 19.5 sacks as a junior in assisting the Sultans to the San Diego Section Division IV championship game last year. Richter had 13 tackles, but the Sultans lost to Serra 37-7 in the title game. They haven’t lost since.

Santana scored on its first drive against Mt. Miguel after Richter hauled in a 36-yard pass from Drew Temple and then rushed for 3 yards and 4 more for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead to cap a seven-play, 70-yard drive.

The Matadors came right back with six consecutive rushes by Laverdiere for 38 yards, including a 2-yard plunge to tie 7-7 midway through the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Richter made it 13-7 by corralling a mid-range pass from Temple and turning it into a 49-yard gain by turning up the middle seam into the end zone.

Laverdiere promptly turned in runs of 18 and 14 yards to lead to a 24-yard field goal by Saul Salagado to make it 13-10 at halftime. He had 114 yards on 20 touches by then.

Keep in mind, Laverdiere threw for 6,256 yards and 59 touchdowns over 21 games the past two seasons.

This season, Mt. Miguel coach Troy Starr has shifted his star into a runner. Laverdiere gained 206 yards in an opening win over Kearny. He rushed 37 times for 172 yards last week in a 29-24 win over Valhalla. In that game, he scored the first 28 points. His sister, junior Juliana Laverdiere, scored the 29th point to make them the highest scoring brother-sister combination in the history of football anywhere.

Juliana was on the field ready to attempt her first field goal near the end of the second quarter Friday, but was waived off the field by Salagado, a sophomore in charge of longer attempts. Good thing he made the boot.

Juliana got on the board again in the first minute of the third quarter after Daelen Hayden pulled in a great pass by Jacob Laverdiere and turned it into a 72-yard touchdown. Her kick was perfect, once again, as if she was playing center midfield like she normally does for the Matadors’ girls soccer team.

Juliana’s kick gave Mt. Miguel a 17-13 lead, but most of the rest of the game belonged to the Purple People Eaters.

Three minutes later, Temple nailed James Beeson for an 11-yard TD that gave the Sultans a 20-17 lead.

Midway through the third quarter, Joseph Castillo had an interception for Mt. Miguel. Next play, Andrew Petersen had an interception for Santana. Two plays later, Castillo had another interception, his fifth of the spring.

But depth, experience and training started showing for Santana, which forced a punt on the ensuing possession and then drove 60 yards in 11 plays and took a 26-17 lead on Richter’s third touchdown.

After a three-and-out, Anthony Santiago blocked the Matadors’ punt to set up a 2-yard TD sweep by Richter for a 33-17 lead.

Ever the fighter, Laverdiere connected with Ruben Hernandez for a 16-yard gain that jump-started an eight-play, 60-yard drive that Laverdiere finished with a 4-yard score. His 2-point conversion pass attempt was intercepted by Jared Forster with 4:13 to play.

Temple completed 12-of-26 passes for 225 yards. Beeson caught seven of those for 112 yards. Forster added three receptions for 27 yards and Richter two for 85. Forster also rushed for 39 yards on five carries, and Kayvion Jones gained 37 with eight touches.

Laverdiere has know rushed for 538 yards on 94 carries with eight touchdowns. The rest of the team has 14 touches for 85 yards and one tally.

“Obviously, we knew who was going to run the ball,” Estes said. “But we still had to stop him. That’s not easy to do. They’re a very physical team. Coach (Troy) Starr and his staff do a great job.”

Mt. Miguel plays host to Santa Fe Christian (4-0) next week before finishing the spring at Monte Vista (3-0).  Santana plays host to Valhalla (0-3) on Friday before zipping down Mast Boulevard to meet West Hills (0-3) in the annual Mayor’s Cup.

After the first Friday in April, Laverdiere and Richter appeared to want 12 more rounds.

Just for fun!

“My goal,” Richter said, “is to give this jersey to the next guy next year with as many holes and rips as possible.”

SANTANA 33, MOUNT MIGUEL 23 

Santana 7 6 7 13 – 33  

Mt. Miguel 7 3 7 6 – 23  

S – Michael Richter 4 run (Jackson Scott kick)

MM – Jacob Laverdiere 2 run (Saul Salagado kick)

S – Michael Richter 49 pass from Drew Temple (kick blocked)

MM – FG Saul Salagado 24

MM – Daelen Hayden 72 pass from Jacob Laverdiere (Juliana Laverdiere kick)

S – James Beeson 11 pass from Drew Temple (Jackson Scott kick)

S – Michael Richter 6 run (kick blocked)

S – Michael Richter 2 run (Jackson Scott kick)

MM – Jacob Laverdiere 4 run (pass intercepted)

RUSHING – Santana: Michael Richter 12-71-3, Jared Forster 5-39-0, Kayvion Jones 8-37-0, Logen Jorden 2-23-0, Drew Temple 9-7-0, Nick Brase 3-6-0. Mt. Miguel: Jacob Laverdiere 31-160-2.

PASSING – Santana: Drew Temple 12-26-225-2 (1 TD). Mt. Miguel: Jacob Laverdiere 6-25-156-1 (1 TD).

RECEIVING – Santana: James Beeson 7-112-1, Jared Forster 3-27-0, Michael Richter 2-85-1. Mt. Miguel: Jorge Verduzco 2-32-0, Ruben Hernandez 2-31-0, Daelen Hayden 1-72-1, Kojo Miller 1-21-0.

DEFENSE – Santana: Michael Richter, 16 tackles, sack; Andrew Petersen, interception; Anthony Santiago, blocked punt; Jared Forster, interception on conversion. Mt. Miguel: Joseph Castillo, 2 interceptions; Daniel Landry, blocked PAT; Martine Moya, sack; Christian Lopez, sack.

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