Football: Sacred Heart Cathedral can’t stop rushing attack in loss to Serra

Serra fullback Alex Bravo breaks away from a Sacred Heart defender on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

By Ernest Stone

Serra High School ran 73 offensive plays against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday at Kezar Stadium, of which 72 were run calls.

Unfortunately for Sacred Heart, Serra fullback Alex Bravo was called on for 31 of those carries, and his 173 yard, four touchdown performance lifted the Padres to a 35-14 win in West Catholic Athletic League play.

In the second half, the Serra (3-2, 1-1) dominated possession, running 43 plays while Sacred Heart ran just 18.

Sacred Heart Cathedral quarterback Sean Murphy tries to shake off a Serra defender on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Tawnya Gray)

“We knew that they didn’t want to throw,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach John Lee. “We made halftime adjustments we thought would work, but in the end we just couldn’t get to the point of attack.”

Early on, Sacred Heart’s (3-2, 0-2) balanced offense was equally as effective as Serra’s punishing ground game.

Up 7-0 and in field goal range, Serra’s lone pass of the day was picked off in the first quarter. On the ensuing drive, senior quarterback Sean Murphy led a 12-play, 75-yard march into the end zone to tie the game with 5:31 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Bravo touchdown run was followed by a botched extra point attempt, Murphy ran the ball in from three yards out to put the Irish up 14-13 heading into halftime.

Yet Serra’s commitment to its running game paid dividends in the second half, when, despite losing standout running back Erich Wilson earlier in the game, the team simply ran over Sacred Heart’s defense.

The Padres dominated the third quarter, scoring on a methodical 75 -yard drive and holding the Irish to just 24 yards of total offense.

After a 1-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Andrew McAlindon brought the score to 28-14 in the middle of the fourth quarter, the game was all but over.

“It was frustrating,” Lee said. “Once they got up 28-14 we lost ourselves mentally.”

After another Bravo touchdown with 3:56 left in the game brought the final score to 35-14 in favor of Serra, whose only negative gains in the second half came on quarterback kneels at the end of the game.

“In the WCAL, there isn’t enough time to recuperate from a loss, so I’m glad our guys had a short memory and came out strong,” said Serra head coach Patrick Walsh. “We get St. Francis next week, so we have to keep doing what we did today, but in this league that’s easier said than done.”

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior running back Valentino Miles, who has been a consistent threat for the Irish all season, was a non-factor on Saturday rushing for just 43 yards on 11 carries.

Still in search of its first league win, Sacred Heart hosts Bellarmine next week.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
JS: 9:10 — Alex Bravo 13 yard run (Parker Toms kick)
SH: 1:41 — Nickolas Grass 8-yard pass from Sean Murphy (John Harrington kick)

Second Quarter
JS: 5:44 — Bravo 1-yard run (Toms kick missed)
SH: 0:37 — Murphy 3-yard run (Harrington kick)

Third Quarter
JS: 2:47 — Bravo 1-yard run (John Vincent pass from Andrew McAlindon on conversion)

Fourth quarter
JS: 7:01 — McAlindon 1-yard run (Toms kick)
JS: 3:56 — Bravo 1-yard run (Toms kick)

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  1. Lancer Fan For a Week says:

    I’ll send a thank-you note to St. Francis when they hand Serra their helmets next week. As for SHC, quit letting the line get drawn-in. That’s how their running game took advantage. Tell these 240 pound marshmallows to pack it in and protect the line. See the St. Francis game next week and see how it’s done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We the coahes of Mitty and Serra would like to thank the Scared Heart coaches for not using what got you to a 3- 0 start. Not only do not you not give him the ball on a two point conversion you follow it up with a 11 carry game.Coaches don’t wait until there is two games left in the season to find out what everybody else in the league already knows!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can someone please tell me why are the coaches for Scared Heart are changing there offense why would change something that was working but working well. As far as the running game of course it’s going to be in affective when your running back gets only 11 carries sometimes we out coach ourselfs it’s good to ask your players what are they seeing because there the ones who are on the field lets not let pride get in the way.

  4. Reader says:

    Anon, when you play catch-up, you have to pass more to have a better chance to score. The problem was with the defense letting runners get by, not the offense, although they did seem out of synch.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tino Miles is arguably the best RB in Nor Cal! What blows my mind is that we have a tremendous talent itching and anxious to lead his team to victory but his number only gets called on 11 times??? I understand when you play from behind you’ve got to mix things up but talents like Tino don’t come every so often! I mean the kid from Serra racked up 170+ yards but it took him a whopping “31” carries to do so! Now try giving Tino just 20-25 of those carries and we’re talking possible record breaking performances here. The kid has that type of ability to make it happen! I’m just a fan but I definitely know if we were to use the running game and let him get in a groove he will bring and ressurect our season! Go IRISH

  6. REALITY CHECK says:

    It’s one thing to go 3-0 in preseason, it’s something totally different to win in WCAL play. SH played well against Mitty but came up short. The Serra game is a TRUE indication of how the city schools stack up against the Peninsula/South Bay schools. Miles is a good talent but NOWHERE near the VC kid Marshall. As Miles is seeing, doing it against WCAL schools is far more challenging than against Terra Nova. Even in the first half when SH led, Miles was not very effective. The good news for SH, they will get 2 league wins against Riordan and SI and after the way SI lost to Riordan, I say SH is in prime position to regain the Bruce-Mahoney Trophy. SHC is a good city team, but that’s all they are, a CITY TEAM, not at the level of the other non city WCAL teams.

  7. RABBIT says:

    What makes you think that SH will beat Riordan and SI? No game in the WCAL is easy and no team should be taken lightly. I will not be surprised if Riordan beats someone else and I dont mean SH, which I know they will beat.

    Go Riordan!

  8. REALITY CHECK says:

    Rabbit, I am not overlooking anyone. I am one of the few that picked Riordan to beat SI given what I have observed so far this season. I am basing my opinion, and it is only an opinion, on what I have observed for myself. Looking at this objectively, Riordan has a punchers’ shot to beat SH, but it is a slim shot. They have NO SHOT at another WCAL victory. SI has a chance to beat SH, albeit, a small chance. Actually, if they lose to SH, SI will go winless in the WCAL. I would love to see Riordan beat SH as I am an SI alum, but in all honesty, I believe this year SH has got our number. But as they say….that’s why they play the games. Just calling it as objectively as possible.

  9. football415 says:

    Miles was given 11 carries, he was not even given the chance to execute. The IRISH just had a bad game, and you say this about a reality check. Mitty is one of and if not the BEST team in Northern California. SHC came eye to eye with one of the TOP competitors in the WCAL. They were up at half but didn’t make the correct half time adjustments to stop the padre offense. More work is to be done and the Irish will prevail.

  10. IC Stars says:

    I think SF Preps should delete the imposter claiming to speak on behalf of the Mitty and Serra coaches. Mitty was tested big-time and could easily be 0-2 and Serra was measured at halftime while SHC didn’t bother to stop the run afterwards. Also, if I were a Serra fan, I’d be embarrassed at the tiny crowd from San Mateo.

    Tino is good… not another Yarnway but he’s good. Just give him the ball and a block.

    I say the Irish have a good shot at a CCS title and get the Bruce-Mahoney Trophy back in January.

  11. RABBIT says:

    Reality Check, speaking objectively of course, you are probably correct in stating that Riordan has no chance in winning another WCAL game this year, however games vs SI, Riordan, and SH dont always make sense, as you can attest too from last weeks game vs SI.

    Thus, in true form, the Rabbit senses another win, most likely against SH. Just a hunch, but my hunches are pretty good lately.

    Now to all the Blake haters out there, WHY SO SILENT? Give the man his due.

  12. REALITY CHECK says:

    Rabbit, Riordan beating SI was no surprise to me. I was at the game and I told my former classmates in attendance that I have a bad feeling about today. The band was playing and the Riordan fans were out in masses. It was a great homecoming environment. As painful as it is to say, SI is down this year. And unlike SH, Riordan hasn’t played a soft schedule. I know coach Blake and I know what he is capable of. His teams are always ready to play and play hard. Granted, SH is, in my opinion, a superior team to SI, and their outing against Mitty was quite impressive. But against Serra, they also showed they are not at the level of the Southbay schools. So I agree with you that they have a legitimate chance vs. SH, but I don’t think they can pull an upset. I do not consider the SI game an upset, I say the better team won. Here’s to hoping your hunch is correct.

  13. Anonymous says:

    First of all I just wanted to thank those who commented on the topic of the SCH vs. Serra game its good to here different input. Lets see if SCH can get back to the winning ways this season nothing against anyone just a fan of the game!!!!

  14. RABBIT says:

    Kudos @ REALITY CHECK, appreciate the input and objectrive analysis provided here; I wish all the citry schools well, even when they play against Riordan. I have coached several student/athletes over the years that have gone onto the city schools, I wish for them to always perform well and I am truly happy when they do, however, there is nothing like competition to bring out the best in all of us, and going up against SI or SH is always a big game. Bragging rights after all!

    Where are all the Blake bashers? Just can’t tip your cap to him, his staff, and most importantly his guys?
    The silence is making my ears hurt… so proudly!

  15. Riordan Hubris (that means excessive pride) says:

    Let’s relax on the talk RABBIT. One win does not a season make. Are you really that proud of a single win? Really? Langridge’s first team was 4-6, he won a CCS title the next year, and still didn’t receive enough administrative support to want to keep the job. I would be more embarrassed about losing to SHP than I would be proud of beating SI, but I’m not delusional.

    PS… What were the adjustments SHC made to stop Serra in the second half? Stay in a 50 and get gashed? Good coaching.

  16. Joe Callahan says:

    Sorry “SF fan for a week” that you’re reduced to rooting for other teams to do what your team can’t.

  17. Lancer Fan For a Week says:

    Sorry, “Joe Callahan”, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Go Lancers!

  18. Lancer Fan For a Week says:

    Looks like Westmont couldn’t beat Serra either.
    Serra 28 21 0 7 – 56
    Westmont 0 0 0 0 – 0

  19. City Watcher says:

    Reality Check hit the nail on the head. The city schools aren’t at the level of the peninsula/south bay schools right now. You can root for St. Francis Lancer fan for a week but SHC will still be 0-3 in league after this weekend. Hopefully, SHC will be beat SI and Riordan and maybe get into CCS at 5-5. It will be a stretch though.

    If Wilson played for Serra he would’ve had 200+ yards on less carries than Bravo. Other “adjustments” better be made before Friday night or the Bells will do the same thing that Serra did, and maybe worse.

  20. IC Stars says:

    The SHC defense is better than last year but they certainly need better line coaching to stop the run. The advantages the peninsula & south bay teams has been true for years. That’s why they go into shock when a City team beats them. I think SHC will get into the CCS with an even record.

  21. Joe Callahan says:

    Serra 7, St. Francis 6 (final). So “Lancer Fan for a Week” is a loser twice this weekend. On the plus side, you’ll save on some postage to St. Francis.

  22. Anon says:

    This Friday SHC will get beaten by Riordan this Friday at Kezar. SHC just doesn’t have a strong enough offense for Riordan’s new option oriented offense. Their combined running and passing ability will be to much for the Irish who couldn’t stop a run, even when they knew that was all Serra was running.

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