Earlier this season, Bellarmine defeated Serra 35-34 in West Catholic Athletic League play after the Bells stopped a two-point conversion attempt. In a similar conclusion, Bellarmine held on to defeat Serra 17-12 on Friday.
On fourth-and-goal from the three yard line, each team's season came down to one final play. Serra was forced to go for it, but the Bellarmine defense made a stop at their own one yard line with 43 seconds left to hang on.
"It was just like last game," said Bellarmine head coach Mike Janda. "We had to stop them, if they score they win and if we stop them we win, and fortunately we got it done twice."
The game was a defensive battle in the first half, as Serra was held to 62 yards of total offense while Bellarmine only had 59 yards of their own. Serra took a 5-3 advantage into the locker room after a safety just before halftime.
In the second half, Bellarmine started to pull away. The Bells recovered a fumbled snap on the first play of the second half, which led to a short 23 yard touchdown drive. Bellarmine added another touchdown by senior Kenneth Olugbode early in the fourth quarter to take a 17-5 lead, but the Padres refused to go away.
On the ensuing drive, Serra went 80 yards in less than two minutes for a touchdown to cut the deficit. The Padres got the ball back with 6:37 left in the game, but Bellarmine made their stand in the final minute.
Serra was led by senior running back Eric Redwood who ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and also had a key 34 yard catch on third down of their final drive. Unfortunately, he was injured on his next carry and was unable to touch the ball in the final five plays.
The Bells were led by Olugbode, who had 61 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also made a key tackle on third down on Serra's final possession to set up the final play. The San Jose State-bound linebacker had a very productive performance on both sides of the ball.
"There's a reason why he's the WCAL MVP," Janda added about Olugbode. "He plays hard and gets the guys going."
Bellarmine will now look to defend its CCS Open Division title next week against the winner of the St. Ignatius-Mitty game, two teams the Bells defeated in the regular season.
"We have to give a lot of credit to Serra, they really played a great game," Janda finished. "Great defensive plan, great running on offense, but fortunately we just made one more play than they did."
Serra - 3:07 - Anthony Toms 37 yard field goal 3-0
Bellarmine - 10:40 - Grant Bush 30 yard field goal 3-3
Serra - 1:32 - Safety (Daniel Lavulo Sack) 5-3
Bellarmine - 9:12 - Olugbode 1 yard run (PAT Good) 10-5
Bellarmine - 10:19 - Olugbode 11 yard run (PAT Good) 17-5
Serra - 8:27 - Redwood 5 yard run (PAT Good) 12-17