By Jeremy Balan
In their meeting last season, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Terra Nova put on an offensive display — you could even call it a shootout.
Sacred Heart racked up more than 500 total yards and Terra Nova quarterback Chris Forbes threw for nearly 400, but it was only a few late Tiger turnovers that put the Irish up for good.
Sacred Heart head coach John Lee does not want to be in that situation again.
“We just happened to have one more bullet in the gun. We don’t want to get in that position again,” Lee said of the upcoming rematch with Terra Nova on Friday at Kezar Stadium. “It’s not a cakewalk. They’re defending Central Coast Section champions for a reason.”
The Tigers did go on to win a CCS Division III title after the season-opening loss and finished the year with a 9-4 record.
Terra Nova coach Bill Gray is happy with the look of his team after a solid scrimmage against D-I state champion Palo Alto last week, but is focused on eliminating the mistakes that sunk the Tigers against Sacred Heart last season.
“We made a tremendous amount of errors that I would like to think we’ll eliminate this time around,” Gray said.
For Lee, the focus is on Forbes, a dynamic and athletic quarterback that can change the momentum of a game at any moment.
“We need to stop Chris Forbes, hands down,” Lee said. “That guy can cause havoc. We can’t let him buy the time he’s used to and find those receivers. If we keep him contained to the pocket, it will go a long way.”
Forbes will be Sacred Heart’s focus on defense, and stopping Irish standout running back Valentino Miles will likely be a point of emphasis for the Tigers’ defense and every other stop unit this season. Lee doesn’t shrug off Miles’ importance, but also knows he will need contributions from other key players.
“We have viable runners in Zach Tapel and Jordan Gomes,” Lee said. “We know teams are going to be focused on [Miles], but we can’t be predictable.”
Mills (Millbrae) @ Galileo, 3 p.m.
The Lions have a ton of youth and still have plenty to prove, but Mills, which went 0-10 last year, may be the perfect opponent for a team that needs experience. Galileo won last season’s meeting between the two teams 41-20.
Stuart Hall @ Woodside Priory (Portola Valley), 4 p.m.
Last season’s 22-20 loss to Priory in the Oratum et Cor game has haunted the Knights all offseason. The young rivalry has already caught on with some players. Stuart Hall senior Alex Asadorian was frank when addressing the game during practice prior to the season. “I want my trophy back,” he said.
Riordan @ Dougherty Valley (San Ramon), 7 p.m.
The excitement surrounding the Crusaders this season is tangible, and many will be eagerly awaiting to see just how well they stack up to Dougherty Valley, which beat Riordan 36-14 last season.
Marshall @ Richmond, 7 p.m.
The Phoenix dropped last season’s meeting with Richmond by a score of 31-0, but so much is still unknown about exactly what Marshall will look like this season.
Marin Catholic @ St. Ignatius, 1 p.m.
What looked like one of the biggest games of the early 2010 season turned out to be a disaster for the Wildcats, who dropped last season’s opener to Marin Catholic 28-14. Now with home-field advantage and a new cast of characters at key positions, St. Ignatius could challenge the North Coast Section semifinalists.
Hercules @ Burton, 2 p.m.
The Pumas reached new heights is 2010 and will look to improve on last season’s 26-0 loss to Hercules last season.
Lincoln @ San Marin (Novato), 2 p.m.
The Mustangs’ historically bad 2010 season began with a 41-7 loss to San Marin last season, and nothing would help erase that memory more than a win.
Balboa vs. Kennedy (Fremont) @ Washington (Fremont), 7 p.m.
The Buccaneers carried a lead into the fourth quarter of last season’s opener against Kennedy, but ultimately fell to the Titans 28-26.
Mission vs. Tomales @ Kezar Stadium, 7 p.m.
The Bears were crushed by the NCS Division V finalists to open last season, but should show signs of improvement with a full year under the direction of head coach Joe Albano.