EUREKA, Calif. - Host St. Bernard's roared to 59 first-half points against Albany on Saturday afternoon, as the entire roster contributed during a 61-28 victory over the visiting Cougars in the first round of the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs.
The fifth-seeded Crusaders (7-4) got a big game from senior Luke Fairfield, who displayed his multiple abilities from the very start. Less than a minute into the game, Fairfield put St. Bernard's on the scoreboard with a 45-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. A couple minutes later, the Crusaders added to the lead when junior quarterback Will Omey found Logan Simoni for a scoring pass, following an interception by Lane Thrap, and St. Bernard's really created some early separation with two more scores before the end of the first quarter.
St. Bernard's dug into its bag of tricks on its third possession of the game, as Fairfield took a toss from Omey and found a wide open Thrap for a 70-yard score and a 20-0 advantage. Fairfield then reached the end zone again himself before the end of the first 12 minutes, as he hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Omey to make it 26-0.
After Omey ran for a score on the Crusaders' next possession, Fairfield completed his phenomenal day with a punt return for a score, and St. Bernard's led 40-8 at the time. Talimaivao Fonoti added a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and Bode Joyner connected for scores with both Justin Hagler and Sebastian Taylor before the end of the half, putting the game far out of reach.
"Luke (Fairfield) was brilliant, and played like a senior leader," said St. Bernard's coach Matt Tomlin. "Not only did he score in four different ways, but he also added a 65-yard kickoff return to their 20-yard line. Our Crusader quarterbacks were also very efficient in limited action."
Omey finished the game 4-for-4 for 79 yards and two touchdowns, while Joyner was 4-for-5 for an identical 79 yards and two scores.
St. Bernard's advances to face four-seed San Marin in the section quarterfinals, a rematch from last year, when the Crusaders cruised past the Mustangs, 64-21.
San Marin had a first-round bye after going 7-3 and sharing the MCAL title during the regular season.