February 26, 2024
Ta'Jir Golden, running behind a veteran line, rushes for 186 yards and three TDs and the defense finishes with seven sacks in dominant performance.

SAN JOSE — This time, there would be no overtime.

This time, McClymonds overpowered Bellarmine on the stat sheet and the scoreboard, making the storied Oakland school’s season-opening trip to San Jose City College a one-sided affair.

Final: McClymonds 40, Bellarmine 0.

One year after needing OT at home to edge Bellarmine by three points, Mack finished with seven sacks — many swarming — and held the Bells to minus-15 yards rushing and 27 yards passing.

The visitors led 14-0 at halftime and put the score out of reach with a dominant third quarter as running back Ta’Jir Golden carved up the Bells behind a punishing and veteran line that longtime coach Michael Peters said would be the key moving forward.

Golden, who played wide receiver last season, ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns in 22 carries, and Sharky Tamale added 62 yards and a touchdown.

Mack finished with 280 yards on the ground and 91 through the air. The game ended with a running clock.

“I’ve got to put everything on the line right now,” Peters said. “That’s our MVP. All of them. Not just one. They played as one and we’re going to go as far as they can take us.”

Bellarmine opened its season with a 17-14 victory over Menlo-Atherton a week earlier, an outcome that looked good on paper.

But it was clear from the outset Friday that Mack was going to be a handful for the Bells as the Oakland school controlled the line of scrimmage.

Bellarmine’s defense kept the score competitive in the first half but wore down after halftime.

“Everything we want is in front of us,” said Bellarmine coach David Diaz-Infante, who was hired in June. “But we’ve got to learn from it, like anything else. It’s an opportunity to learn about who we are and what we are and what we’re made of.

“I didn’t see that coming. We can only leave our defense out there hanging for so long. They’re a good football team. It was a good benchmark for us. Probably thought we were a little better than we were after last week. We’re a young team, and we’ll figure it out.”

Mack went ahead 7-0 with five minutes left in the opening quarter as Golden weaved his way to the end zone from 33 yards out.

The score did not change until quarterback Isaac Espinosa scored on a 2-yard run with 22 seconds left before halftime.

After the break, Mack needed only three plays to score as Golden got loose on a sweep, dashing 42 yards for a touchdown that made it 20-0.

Golden’s 9-yard run with 4:05 left in the third widened the margin to 26-0.

“It’s kind of easy,” he said. “It’s easy for me to see the holes with my speed and my acceleration. Once I see the hole, I get through it.

“We came in knowing we were going to win and we just did what we have to do. When they got tired, we kept running the ball.”

Mack stretched the lead to 34-0 in the final minute of the third quarter when Espinosa launched a strike to Rahsjon Duncan for a 71-yard touchdown.

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Tamale’s 18-yard run with 11:14 left made it 40-0 and started the running clock.

When it ended, Mack players ran wind sprints — a tradition at the school — and loaded up the bus for the trip home.

“We’ve got to clean up some stuff,” Peters said. “But it wasn’t bad.”

Up next for Mack: A home game next Friday against Bishop O’Dowd, followed by road games against San Ramon Valley and De La Salle.

Bellarmine finishes its non-league schedule next Friday at Monte Vista.