No matter how close the game, Bellarmine College Prep finds a way to get what it wants.
The Bells did so last week when it seemed as if Serra would score the touchdown that would dethrone the defending Central Coast Section Open Division champions.
They did so five weeks ago when St. Ignatius needed a stop to give its high-powered offense one last shot to erase a deficit.
Friday night, Bellarmine will try to hold off St. Ignatius once again when the West Catholic Athletic League teams meet at San Jose City College for the section's Open Division championship.
Bellarmine will bring an 11-game winning streak to the title game, including five wins decided by no more than a touchdown.
"It's incredible to think that we could go two years in a row winning WCAL and CCS and potentially going to state again," quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels said. "It's awesome."
For Bellarmine to land in the pool of teams that could be selected for a Northern California regional game next week -- teams will be chosen Sunday -- it must defeat a St. Ignatius team that has lost only to the Bells, Serra and Marin Catholic.
St. Ignatius quarterback Jack Stinn is a threat both running and throwing, and his group of tall receivers gives him big targets to find downfield, as Bellarmine discovered in its 35-28 win over the Wildcats in San Francisco on Oct. 27.
"They're tall and have good hands and run extremely good routes," Bellarmine coach
Stinn threw a touchdown pass Saturday to 6-foot-4 tight end Nik Bell in a 25-22 semifinal win over Archbishop Mitty and also likes to call on 6-5 receiver Andrew Vollert.
When Stinn isn't throwing or scrambling, the Wildcats turn to shifty running back Elijah Dale.
The Bells have relied on senior Kenneth Olugbode. He has rushed for four touchdowns in the playoffs, including two last week against Serra, and also stands out at linebacker.
"He's the heart and soul of our team, I think, on both sides of the ball," Janda said. "He gets the tough yard and makes the tackles that are critical."
Olugbode has helped put the Bells on the cusp of another title. Friday, he hopes to complete the task.
"Our coach talks about it's not the person who has your back, it's the person who has your side that are the most important people to you," Olugbode said. "That's what it is for us -- want-to."