Cincere Rhaney, Kai Honda lead Serra football past Notre Dame in Mission League opener

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SHERMAN OAKS — In a game where both offenses struggled to get anything going and both quarterbacks combined for 16 completions, Gardena Serra edged Notre Dame 13-7 in a Mission League opener Friday night.

Serra running back Cincere Rhaney scored on a 35-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jimmy Butler at the end of the third quarter to close out the game for the Cavaliers.

“Our defense has been carrying us all year, and obviously our running game, and we gotta get better at certain things if we wanna compete with these teams, but right now we’ll take this win and go back into the lab and figure out what we have to do,” said Serra coach Scott Altenberg.

Serra’s defense was strong throughout the contest only allowing 107 yards of total offense. Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Wyatt Becker was held to only 7 of 11 for 32 yards and was sacked three times. The only score of the game for Notre Dame came on a QB-sneak from Becker after the Knights (2-4, 0-1 Mission) were set up in prime field position at the Serra 3-yard line after Jamar Bell-Gonzalez of Serra had muffed a punt.

My interview with Rodrick Pleasant and Fred Williams III of Serra’s defense who held Notre Dame’s offense to 107 total yards tonight. @RodrickP16 @FrederickW_3 @Serra__Football @LAVarsity @breezepreps @Tarek_Fattal pic.twitter.com/q5e5MEU9VV

— Jack Gillespie (@dnsjackg) October 1, 2022

“I thought we played well tonight; we’re banged up and missing a couple guys, but we just kept battling,” Serra defensive back Rodrick Pleasant said.

Serra (4-2, 1-0) was led on offense by a two-headed monster in the backfield of Rhaney and Kai Honda, who provided all the scoring for the Cavaliers on the night. Rhaney had 15 rushes for 80 yards and two catches for 50 yards including the 35-yard touchdown reception to seal the game for Serra.

Honda added 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown and four receptions for 40 yards.

“I felt we could’ve done way better than what we showcased tonight, we came out kind of sluggish, and the defense saved us,” Rhaney said of the offensive performance.

My interview with running back Cincere Rhaney of Serra who had a 35-yard touchdown reception for the Cavaliers tonight. @officialcinn @Serra__Football @LAVarsity @breezepreps @Tarek_Fattal pic.twitter.com/9Bn0zNdAny

— Jack Gillespie (@dnsjackg) October 1, 2022

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Serra got the scoring started on its opening drive which took 15 plays and was capped by Honda’s 2-yard rushing touchdown. Serra’s offense was not able to get anything going the rest of the first half. Butler throwing two interceptions on the next two drives.

Notre Dame was not able to take advantage of the interceptions, scoring zero points with kicker Joaquin Arroyo also missing on a 27-yard field goal after the Knights got great field position from a Kenneth Royal interception.

Butler finished 9 of 14 for 144 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions for Serra.

Serra will take on Bishop Amat next week and Notre Dame will face fellow San Fernando Valley Mission League foe Chaminade.