Football: Bellarmine rallies in fourth quarter to beat Sacred Heart Cathedral

Bellarmine senior quarterback Travis McHugh stiff-arms a Sacred Heart defender on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Jeremy Balan

The feeling is familiar for Sacred Heart Cathedral’s football team, but that doesn’t make the Fightin’ Irish’s loss to Bellarmine on Saturday at Kezar Stadium any less painful.

In 2010, the Irish proved they could hang with the West Catholic Athletic League’s elite, but could not put games away. They started 2011 in the same fashion, with a 14-7 loss to the Bells.

Bellarmine senior Tim Crawley leaps to knock away Sacred Heart's final pass downfield on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

Everything seemed to be breaking Sacred Heart’s (3-1, 0-1) way, as the Irish defense held Bellarmine (3-1, 1-0) scoreless until early in the fourth quarter, when the Bells cut the Irish lead to 7-6 on 6-yard touchdown run from senior running back Tim Crawley.

Then, the Irish blocked the ensuing extra point to cling to a one-point advantage.

Still in control, Sacred Heart senior quarterback Jack Harrington fumbled the ball on the first offensive play after the Bellarmine score, and the Bells recovered the loose ball at the Irish 27-yard line.

Four plays later, Crawley scored again, this time from 9 yards out with 9:10 remaining, to give the Bells the lead for good.

Scrambling to tie, Sacred Heart turned the ball over on downs on its final two possessions of the game.

“We have them down 7-0 at the half and our defense played out of their socks,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “We just came up short and we have nothing to be ashamed of. We just played the No. 2 team in the Bay Area, probably one of the best teams in the state and we had them. These guys played their asses off, but we handed it to them.”

The Sacred Heart defense was it’s strong point again against Bellarmine, but the Bells’ double-wing offense, designed to wear teams down, was effective in the final quarter.

Crawley’s two scores capped a 143-yard performance on 19 carries and he also broke up the last Sacred Heart heave as a defensive back to effectively ending the game.

“We feel fortunate that we won the game,” said Bellarmine head coach Mike Janda. “We try to control the clock and run the ball into the fourth quarter and it paid off today.”

The Irish offense put one solid drive together in the second quarter, riding the back of Valentino Miles, who ran for 41 yards on the drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown, but struggled the rest of the way.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior running back Valentino Miles (right) is corralled by a Bellarmine defender on Saturday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

Miles finished with just 58 yards on 11 carries and the Sacred Heart offense only gained 94 yards in the second half.

Still, the Irish were in it until the end, but will now have to focus on next week’s rivalry game against Riordan.

“It’s going to hurt now, and we’ll let it hurt, but we’re going going to get ready for Riordan on Monday,” Lee said.

For Bellarmine, which slugged it out in overtime with perennial power De La Salle in its only loss of the year, the WCAL slate only gets tougher.

“The league is very strong this year,” Janda said. “From top to bottom, every game is going to be like this. We saw some last night and there will be games like this every week, but somebody has to win at the end.”

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter
SH: 1:35 — Valentino Miles 6-yard run (Jack Harrington kick)

Fourth Quarter
B: 10:58 — Tim Crawley 6-yard run (kick blocked)
B: 9:10 — Crawley 9-yard run (Alex Manigo pass from Travis McHugh on conversion)

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17 Comments

  1. IC Stars says:

    Oh, if they pulled this off….

    • Fan says:

      I was thinking the same thing. But you could see that physically they were getting on empty with the players getting cramped up and Harringtom taking some rough shotsnat the end. The defense was great but unfortunately they couldn’t sustain that level of perfection to the end. The O line was hanging tough but again in the 2nd half they started to look tired. Too many penalties, on both sides.

      I thought playing Miles on both sides was a key factor because on offense he didn’t have that burst of speed. And on defense he was using up a lot if energy. When he went down with the leg cramps he was not the same for the last 10 minutes of the game. He was taking too many hits playing both ways. Tapel, Gomez, Parker, Viliami etc you could see how physically draining the game was on them.

      I thought they could have run some screens to get Bellarmine off balance. Also whenever Tapel went in motion it was becoming predictable what the play was going to be either a handoff or a throw to him in the flat. I thought they could of used Parker a few times more running down the middle, playing on his size.

      Even after it was tied up. I thought SH could pull it out but when Harrington got hit and fumble that just took the wind out of their sails. You could see it on them and feel it in the stands.

      Morally they hung with a good team now if they could just put them away then that is an even sweeter victory.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why dont mission or lincoln get a article

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a great game SHC vs Bell. SHC played well but could not put it away SHC needs to give Miles the Ball more what can your beat player do if he does not have the ball. You give him the ball he scores TD’s under 20 carries game SHC will not make the playoffs.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You can put SHC’s #5 on any other team in the WCAL and they would be a championship team what a waste of a player .The Fan

    • one of the shc linemen says:

      its not a waste of a player we just thought it’d be a good thing to have tino playing both sides of the ball so until you become one of the SHC coaches keep the negative comments to yourself. The coaches are doing their best with what they have and watch what we will do with what we have.

      • city fan says:

        #5 is a good player, but you are stretching it by insinutating he alone would make a championship team. A team is more than one player. He is a great athlete, but there are others on the team that seem to have more heart and aren’t getting cramps or are hurt a few times a game. Sometimes they seem to be coincidental injuries. There was a player that was genuinely injured, not hurt but did not say anything and continued to play. He wanted to win no matter what. I know #5’s cramp was the real deal in the fourth quarter, but when a boy cries wolf a lot, it can be hard to believe when he isn’t. Great game by both schools, just unfortunate for the Irish.

      • IC Stars says:

        I thought Lee had a great game plan out there. I don’t suspect many teams will hold the Bells to 14 points.

        If the Irish get a good lead against Riordan on Saturday, they could give Miles a rest.

  5. big guy 24 says:

    A good job by the Irish football team to fight and give a tough team like the Bells such a good game. The 1 turnover seemed to be the killer for the irish, when the QB fumbled the bells punched it in right away and the irish players seemed dejected but still they kept fighting to the end. Bells deserve credit for not playing a great game but good teams find a way to win. Good game by both teams!!

  6. Cats Pride says:

    I’m really impressed that the game was this close. Good effort irish.

  7. wcalsf says:

    SI and SHC played very well this weekend. Great job!

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s good to get opinions on what we all think I agree in order for young men to go to the next in whatever sport they play you can’t teach Heart or toughness love the high school game.

  9. Rmbr26 says:

    Congrats to the Irish for a near upset of the highly ranked Bells who nearly beat DLS. No one & I repeat NO ONE gave the Irish any kind of chance in this game. The point spread favored the Bells by 3-4 TD’s or more.
    The fact the Irish led most of the way & game went to the wire is a testamwent to how far the SHC football program has come. Prior to the game SHC was considered probably the 6th or 7th team in the 8-team WCAL. Now that they’ve gotten everyone’s attention, it looks at though they are right in the mix and def a strong possibility for a CCS playoff spot..

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