RICHMOND -- Bellarmine College Prep quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns as the Bells took a 28-25 win over El Cerrito on Saturday night at De Anza High.
The entertaining battle featured elusive Gauchos quarterback Keilan Benjamin and the power running of the Bells (1-0) out of the double-wing T.
Samuels, who is headed to Vanderbilt, ran five times as the Bells ran out the clock after Kyle MacAuley recovered a fumble at the Bellarmine 25-yard line with 4:17 left.
Benjamin passed for 289 yards and ran for 85 more, accounting for three touchdowns, two running and one throwing. He completed a 3-yard touchdown pass his twin brother, Keith, at the end of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 28-25.
Bellarmine, the defending champion of the West Catholic Athletic League, is ranked No. 1 in South Bay high school football polls, and the Gauchos are coming off a banner 13-1 season in which they reached the North Coast Section Division III championship game.
With machine-like efficiency, Bellarmine ran for 273 yards, and El Cerrito (1-1) traveled mostly by air with its dynamic skill-positions players. El Cerrito played without standout Jalen Harvey, a Cal commit and wide receiver/defensive back serving a one-game suspension after being ejected in the Gauchos' season-opening 34-14 win over Sutter.
El Cerrito turned two Bellarmine fumbles into touchdowns. After the Bells marched in for a score on their first possession, the Gauchos pulled to within 7-6 when D. J. Calhoun returned a fumble 15 yards for a score after Jawian Harrison jarred the ball loose with a mighty hit on a Bellarmine running back. The Gauchos' James Houston also recovered a fumble on a botched Bellarmine pitch at the Bells' 48 in the third quarter to set up Keith Benjamin's 3-yard touchdown reception.
During an entertaining first half, El Cerrito led 12-7 on Keilan Benjamin's 6-yard run, which capped an electric drive in which Benjamin completed four passes for 68 yards and ran 18 yards beating the blitz.
Bellarmine marched in for a score on its first possession of the game, a seven-play drive capped by a Carta-Samuels' 1-yard run off a play fake. Later in the half, Bellarmine retook the lead 14-12 on a 5-yard Carter-Samuels run. The strong-running quarterback, who only passed three times in the game, set up the score with a 40-yard run.
Bellarmine upped the margin to 21-12 on a 2-yard run by Brandon Puccini with 2:27 left in the half, but the Gauchos answered with a 2-yard Keilan Benjamin run off a play fake with 37 seconds left in the half. The two-point try failed and the Gauchos trailed 21-18 at halftime.
Then the Bells opened the second half as they did the first half, with a touchdown march capped by a Carta-Samuels touchdown run.
El Cerrito continues its challenging nonleague schedule on Sept. 14 with a game at Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Monte Vista 20, Berkeley 6: Led by the rushing attack of Matt Rood and Zach Cribb, the Mustangs powered their way to a nonleague win on Sept. 6
Rood reached paydirt twice for the Mustangs, and Cribb contributed a long touchdown run in the third quarter. Rood finished with 91 yards on 17 carries, and Cribb ran for 143 yards on 11 carries.
The Mustangs (1-1) struck first on a 1-yard run by Rood in the second quarter. Rood added to the Mustangs' total after halftime, with another short touchdown jaunt. Shortly before the start of the fourth quarter, Cribb weaved through the Yellowjackets defense for a 35-yard scoring run. Monte Vista quarterback Nikita Zamora finished 10-for-15 with 89 yards.
Berkeley quarterback Noah Suszckiwicz had a solid night in a losing effort, going 16-for-27 with 192 yards and one touchdown -- to Travis Dennis in the fourth quarter. Dennis caught six passes for 78 yards for the Yellowjackets (1-1).
Berkeley will try to get back on the winning track with a home game on Sept. 13 against San Mateo. The kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
-- Justin Lafferty, correspondent
Miramonte 36, St. Mary's 13: The host Matadors' quick-strike offense got a big day out of quarterback Drew Anderson, who threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a win over St. Mary's (0-1) on Sept. 7.
Leading 21-13 early in the fourth, the Matadors (1-1) struck fast, scoring on one play as Anderson hit Fuller for a 62-yard score to help put the game out of reach. Miramonte never trailed, as it took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
St. Mary's received a game-high 124 rushing yards from senior Lorenzo Logwood. The Panthers will host Archbishop Riordan-San Francisco on Sept. 14 at 1:30 p.m.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent
St. Patrick-St. Vincent 43, Albany 0: The host Cougars (0-2) fell behind 16-0 in the first half before the Bruins (1-1) scored 21 points in the third quarter to take total command on Sept. 6. Albany was limited to 103 yards total in the loss. Albany will travel to face Piedmont on Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.