O'Connell quarterback

Bishop O’Connell High School quarterback Ben Cogar attempts a pass during his team’s Sept. 3 opening game before leaving the contest with a leg injury. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

Facing a solid opponent but having their starting runningback and quarterback suffer game-ending first-half injuries proved too much for the Bishop O’Connell Knights to overcome in the high-school football team’s Sept. 3 season opener.

O’Connell lost to the visiting St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Saints, 14-7, in non-conference action in Arlington.

Knights’ starting runningback Zach Harrison (24 yards rushing) took a hard hit and left late in the first quarter. With 4:18 remaining in the first half, O’Connell quarterback Ben Cogar injured his left leg and was gone for the remainder, as well.

“I thought our offense was better than that, but obviously it hurt to lose those two starters like that on offense,” O’Connell coach Ken Lucas said.

The game was scoreless at halftime. Then the Saints took a 14-0 second-half lead on touchdown passes of 21 and 26 yards and two extra points.

O’Connell’s touchdown came with five seconds remaining in the game when third-string quarterback Jonathan Nguyen threw a deflected six-yard scoring pass to Cameron Lee and Tyler Fontenot booted the extra point.

Nguyen completed 5 of 8 passes for 60 yards on the 65-yard, nine-play drive.

Colin Harris caught a couple of passes on that drive with Josiah Rose and Aidan Joseph snaring one each.

“He made some plays on that drive,” Lucas said of Nguyen.

Harris had three catches for 33 yards in the game and Joseph three for 24. Nate Harrison had 16 yards rushing. Zach Harrison had one catch.

O’Connell had a scoring threat in the first half end when Fontenot’s 46-yard field goal attempt was easily long enough but barely missed wide left. He had two punts covering 52 and 50 yards.

The Knights’ defense was led by Kellen McConnell with eight tackles, Jai Thompson with seven and Colin Richardson, Nate Harrison and Samson Ogunade with four each. Ogunade had two tackles for losses, Thompson had two sacks and McConnell one. Aiden Munroe had two interceptions, Zach Harrison had one, Rose and Franke Johnson broke up passes, and Lee recovered a fumble.

O’Connell held St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes to 58 yards rushing and 56 passing.

“Our defense played well, but we had a couple of breakdowns on those touchdowns,” Lucas said.

O’Connell hosts Mount Zion Prep Academy on Sept. 10 at noon in its second game.

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