OAKLAND — Without starting quarterback Jesse Madden, Bishop O’Dowd had to change up its offensive attack Friday night to knock off previously undefeated James Logan. But one thing remained the same, first-year coach David Perry said: standard.
The Dragons’ (3-1, 3-0) defense didn’t allow a single point and limited James Logan (3-1, 2-1) to fewer than 100 total yards in a 20-0 win that clinched O’Dowd at least a share of the Foothill title, in the newly combined West Alameda County Conference/Mission Valley Athletic League’s top division.
“It’s ridiculous the way these kids fight,” Perry said. “It was ringing in the back of my head that we were picked to finish last. They said we wouldn’t do it. … We say the standard is the standard — nothing changes for us. There’s just a certain standard I want to set here as a first-year head coach.”
Junior running back Matt White scored both of Bishop O’Dowd’s touchdowns and rushed for a game-high 134 yards.
With the absence of the Dragons’ starting quarterback, who had thrown for 720 yards in three games this season, White said he knew he’d be getting the ball Friday night.
“Jesse going down definitely hit us with some adversity, but I knew we’d overcome it,” White said.
He credited his offensive linemen and receivers for providing the running lanes.
“Once they opened the holes, I saw them and hit ’em,” White said. “Without them, I’m nothing.”
Madden separated his throwing shoulder late in O’Dowd’s win over San Leandro last week and participated in the pregame senior night ceremonies dressed in sweats with his right arm in a sling. During the game, as fellow senior Harrison Jenkins filled in behind center, Madden paced the sidelines with a sheet of plays. Jenkins completed 11 of 16 passes for 50 yards in his stead.
GO DEEP: John Madden watches his legacy live on at Bishop O’Dowd
Ultimately, O’Dowd’s defense played the starring role.
The Dragons intercepted James Logan quarterback Marcus Sanders on each of his first two pass attempts, the second of which fell into the hands of senior defensive lineman Sipili Fonua after junior Alijah Brown pressured and hit Sanders while he threw.
“I was getting double-teamed. I was kind of stuck,” Fonua said of his interception, which came just over three minutes into the game. “Then I saw my friend Alijah get the sack and I saw the ball get thrown up in the air. I tried to play it like it wasn’t coming down, then at the last second I got it.”
Leading by a field goal midway through the second quarter, a voice on the O’Dowd sideline said the Dragons could win this one 3-0. Turns out, that was right.
The closest James Logan came to the end zone was in the final seconds of the first half, when the Colts took over in O’Dowd territory and drove to the 5-yard line. Although O’Dowd was flagged for two pass interference penalties in the red zone, the threat was vanquished by a pair of incomplete passes and the horn for halftime.
Out of the half, the Dragons sent a soaring kickoff that James Logan allowed to land in bounds, and O’Dowd won the battle for the ball. Two plays later, White raced 20 yards into the end zone for the Dragons’ first touchdown.
O’Dowd defenders sacked Sanders five times. On one in the fourth quarter, junior linebacker Julian Wilson forced the ball free for senior defensive end Tyler Hunter to fall on it for the fourth and final turnover of the night.
“Part of the reason I was super fired up to become the head coach here was playing with this defense,” Perry said. “It’s a dream come true for an offensive coordinator. … We have the ability to eliminate a lot of stuff. It’s a pressure-style defense, and we try to just take stuff away.”
Of O’Dowd’s defense, the running back White said: “They go out and ball out every game. Goose eggs today.”
James Logan’s offense had averaged 37 points in its first three contests, in which it outscored its opponents 111-24. The loss was only the Colts’ second in league play since joining the MVAL three seasons ago. A merger with the WACC set up the first meeting between the two schools since 2016.
The Dragons finished last season with a losing record and began this year with a new head coach.
Both teams entered Friday undefeated through two league contests. James Logan was ranked 14th in the Bay Area News Group Top 25, while O’Dowd just debuted this week at No. 18; its only loss came in a non-league game at fifth-ranked San Ramon Valley in the first week of the season.
A showdown with Hayward (2-1, 2-1) next Friday will determine whether O’Dowd can claim an outright league title.