By Bonta Hill
Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach John Lee was upbeat after the Irish got their first opportunity to hit different colored jerseys on Friday.
Defensively, the Irish didn’t allow Tamalpais, Deer Valley, or Sacramento to reach the end zone in a scrimmage at Kezar Stadium.
Offensively, Zach Tapel and Valentino Miles made some plays for the Irish, but overall, Lee would have liked to see more consistency out of his unit.
“The defense was outstanding today and they didn’t give up a point. They bent a couple of times, but they didn’t break.” Lee said. “On offense, we have some things that we need to work on. We moved the ball and scored, which was outstanding. We showed some glimpses, but when we needed some plays in [key moments], there was small breakdowns.”
Some of the glimpses he saw offensively came from two players expected to produce for the Irish – Tapel and Miles.
On their fifth offensive play in the scrimmage against Deer Valley, Irish quarterback Jack Harrington found Tapel streaking into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
Tapel would also haul in a 35-yard pass from Harrington in their session against Tamalpais.
“We started off slow this summer, but things are starting to get going for us,” Tapel said. “We have a young offensive line and we’re just trying to get things together by next week.”
In the session against Sacramento, Miles took a handoff from Harrington, ran to the right and broke through the Sacrament defense for a 22-yard touchdown, punctuating the run by running over a helpless Sacramento defender at the goal line.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to jump, but [the defender] came up high, and I just had to lower the shoulder,” Miles said.
Miles had runs of 21 and 22 yards, but throughout the day he didn’t have much room to run. The passing game also had trouble moving the ball consistently, but Harrington’s two touchdown passes on the day was enough to convince Lee that he’s the best man for the starting quarterback job going into their first game.
“Harrington did a job nice job,” Lee said. “There were a couple of times he was off, and his throwing motion was [off], but that’s something mechanical and something we can fix. He’ll be our starter going forward.”
The Irish defense held firm against Deer Valley’s double-wing offense, intercepting two passes and not allowing a completed pass in their session.
After allowing Sacramento inside the five-yard line, the Irish defense countered with three sacks in the next four plays.
“We take pride in our defense and with eight returning starters, we just tried to fight through adversity and move through it,” Tapel said.
Even with a bit of mixed results, Lee was excited going into their first game against Terra Nova, the defending Central Coast Section Division III champions from last year.
“We’re pretty excited about playing Terra Nova,” Lee said. “Coach [Bill] Gray does an outstanding job over there and we’ve had some good battles with them in the past. Should be fun.”