VENTURA -- St. Bonaventure scored two lightning-quick touchdowns against Canyon in the quarterfinals of their CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game. One was on a punt return by speedy Montre Lee. The other was on an interception return by lumbering defensive tackle Patrick Kenney.
Both third-quarter scores came in a 10-second span and St. Bonaventure eliminated Canyon, 38-17, from the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Lee scored on a 45-yard punt return and Kenney returned an interception 26 yards 10 second later at Ventura High School on Friday night.
After building a 21-3 lead at halftime, St. Bonaventure’s two quick strikes from a pair of unlikely sources put the game out of reach for visiting Canyon (9-3).
Lee said he told his coaches before the game he was going to return a kick for a touchdown. He has been hurt the last few weeks and not playing at 100 percent health.
“This whole game I was hungry,” Lee said. “I told my coaches I was going to take back a return, I was going to take back a punt or a kick return and I was ready for that one.”
Kenney scored his first career touchdown on the interception return. It was only his third career high school interception.
What little hope Canyon had of rallying in the second half was squashed by the touchdowns by Lee and Kenney.
“We already had a commanding lead,” St. Bonaventure coach Todd Threrrien said. “That kind of put it out of reach.”
Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez said the two touchdowns in the third quarter by St. Bonaventure (10-2) didn’t decide the game, but it made it a challenge to come back.
“I didn’t think it was it,” Gutierrez said. “It put us in kind of a bind. We were a few scores away. Now it was at a distance.”
St. Bonaventure, the third-seeded team in the Northern Division, scored the first touchdown on a 45-yard run by running back Shaun Wick. The senior was nursing a bruised calf, and played sparingly against Canyon, but he broke off a long scoring run from midfield to give St. Bonaventure a 7-0 lead with a 1:29 to play in the first quarter.
He had only four carries and gained 57 yards.
Canyon cut the lead to 7-3 on a 27-yard field goal by Bonafacio Rojas early in the second quarter, but that was as close as the Cowboys would get. St. Bonaventure, the No. 11 team in the ESPN Los Angeles prep football Top 25 rankings, scored the next 28 points and had a 35-3 lead in the third quarter.
Cameron McDaniel caught a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marc Evans to give St. Bonaventure a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Evans connected with Nick Arbuckle on an eight-yard touchdown pass just before halftime to give St. Bonaventure a 21-3 lead.
Evans passed for 139 yards and threw two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions.
Lee made it 28-3 when he scored on his 45-yard punt return. The Canyon coaches were furious when they thought they saw Lee call for a fair catch. The referees did not see the fair-catch wave from Lee and he scrambled past the Canyon defenders to the end zone.
After the game, Lee said he thought about fair catching the punt but changed his mind at the last second.
Ten seconds later, Kenney intercepted a shovel pass at the 26-yard line and returned it for the first touchdown of his career. St. Bonaventure went up 35-3 with 9:36 to play in the third quarter.
Canyon receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, one on a 84-yard reception. He caught seven passes for 175 yards.
Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal was 17-for-28 passing for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
Canyon’s Garrett Miller intercepted two passes from Evans and Adam Evans picked of one in the fourth quarter. But Canyon couldn’t convert the turnovers into points.
St. Bonaventure moves on to the semifinals of the Northern Division playoffs and will play second-seeded Oaks Christian next week. Oaks Christian beat St. Bonaventure, 36-24, in the second week of Marmonte League play.