Jalal Beauchman was ready for a nap.
After an exhausting, challenging and ultimately rewarding end to football week, the new Bellarmine coach was planning to celebrate his first win on Saturday by catching up.
His team, which played at home in San Jose, rallied for two touchdowns behind, beating San Benito 17-14.
That score and comeback only tell part of the story.
Bellarmine, on the heels of losing his season opener last month after leading through three touchdowns, had to postpone his game against rival St. Francis a week ago due to positive COVID-19 tests within the San Jose school curriculum.
Many players, including four-fifths from the offensive line, and one coach were quarantined on Saturday for contact tracking.
Beauchman and his staff had to scramble to promote members of the junior varsity earlier in the week and call for players to stand in unfamiliar positions.
Then they were 14 points behind in their first varsity game on their campus field in decades.
The Bells normally play a few miles away at San Jose City College, where there are lights and large bleachers. But larger locations are not necessary because the crowds are limited due to the virus.
So the Bells played at home on Saturday – their real home – and when it seemed like the result wasn’t going to go their way, they fell back to win.
Nicho Domine’s field goal narrowed the team’s deficit to 14-3 at half-time.
The Bells closed to 14-10 in the third quarter when Tommy Anderson threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Sawyer.
Sawyer’s eight-meter run with 4:39 left gave Bellarmine a 17-14 lead, and Adam Hayashi’s interception in the last two minutes sealed the Bells’ first victory under their new coach.
Afterwards, Beauchman told his players that the result was “a validation” of the work they had done last week.
It was almost a bit emotional because we had a lot of setbacks, ”he said. “We eliminated 21 men. In short, our entire line of attack and defense was out. Sophomore of JV. We had to move men who were not attacking linemen or defensive linemen. They had to learn the position in a week.
At the end of the day, we said this is going to be a grinder, a close game, and it’s about wills. And we were successful. I am extremely proud of our boys and our technical staff. We had every reason to give up and not believe in ourselves and not think we could win and stop – and we didn’t.
“I just feel really good now. That’s exactly how you want to get your first win.
The team also played with a heavy heart as the school mourns the death of legendary water sports coach Larry Rogers, who school president Chris Meyercord said died in his sleep on Wednesday.
Rogers, 74, won an unprecedented swimming and water polo championships in 59 sections before retiring in 2017.
“When I was a student here, Larry was here, and I remember him screaming vividly from the pool deck as I walked past it,” said Beauchman, who graduated from Bellarmine in 2006. teacher too. I had a bit of a relationship with him and always had fond memories of him.
“I like to think that the boys did this, not only for the boys who were quarantined at home, but also for Larry Rogers.”
With the win, Beauchman now only needs 285 to catch his predecessor, Mike Janda, the Central Coast Section’s most winning coach of all time.
“Let’s just get two,” Beauchman said, laughing. “I’m just worried about getting to two.”
Next on the schedule for Bellarmine: a home game next Saturday against Valley Christian.
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