Football: Sacred Heart Cathedral defense holds strong against Riordan

A pair of Sacred Heart Cathedral linebackers pursue Riordan sophomore quarterback Zach Masoli on Saturday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Jeremy Balan

The Sacred Heart Cathedral offense was certainly effective in its win on the road against Riordan on Saturday, but it was the Irish defense that was dominant — and they seem to be getting better every week.

The Irish defense held the Crusaders to just 48 yards through three quarters and 134 overall in a 35-7 rout, to clinch the Stanfel Cup for the fourth consecutive year.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior running back Valentino Miles carries the ball upfield against Riordan on Saturday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

“That the key to our defense. Pressure, period,” said Sacred Heart senior linebacker John Morello. “We’ve got guys playing with fire every week, guys who want to come out here and play for each other. That’s why we’re doing so well.”

The Irish (4-1, 1-1 in West Catholic Athletic League) applied constant pressure to the Riordan (1-4, 0-2) backfield and sophomore quarterback Zach Masoli, who was sacked three times. The Riordan ground attack was also limited to just 27 yards rushing.

“The whole point of this defense is to attack and that you don’t know where we’re coming from,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “If we can continue to do that to league opponents, that takes them out of their game, and puts the ball in our hands.”

When the Irish did have the ball, they moved it impressively on the ground, led by standout senior running back Valentino Miles’ 153 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries. Miles also led the Irish in receiving, with 64 yards on four receptions.

“We just try to get him the ball in space, anyway we can,” Lee said.

All of Miles’ scores came in the first half, and after a 24-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jack Harrington to tight end Villami Uikilifi with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter extended the lead to 35-0, Sacred Heart removed its offensive starters. Harrington threw for 133 yards on 10-of-16 passing.

“Sacred Heart has a really good team. That’s all it is,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “We did not do very well up front and part of it was a credit to them, but part is that we’re not where we need to be yet.”

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior quarterback Jack Harrington winds up for a throw against Riordan on Saturday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

Sacred Heart may have rested its offensive starters, but the first-team Irish defense remained in until the end, and in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders finally put together a solid drive.

Masoli, who had thrown for just 43 yards on 4-of-13 passing through three quarters, came alive on the Crusaders’ lone scoring drive going 3-of-3 through the air for 64 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown strike to senior D.J. Harvey.

“We’ve got some playmakers, but we just have to get better,” Sweeney said. “That’s really all it is.”

For the Irish, every win is crucial in terms of Central Coast Section playoff eligibility, but with an upcoming game on the road against St. Francis, which is currently 1-4, no team will be taken lightly.

“It’s still St. Francis. It’s not like they’re getting smacked by 70,” Lee said. “We’re going to go down there on Friday night and it’s a great setting. We’re going to be focused and we’re going to be healthy.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
SH: 7:00 — Valentino Miles 2-yard run (Jack Harrington kick good)
SH: 1:58 — Harrington 2-yard run (Harrington kick good)

Second Quarter
SH: 4:33 — Miles 1-yard run (Harrington kick good)
SH: 0:08 — Miles 4-yard run (Harrington kick good)

Third Quarter
SH: 5:46 — Villami Uikilifi 24-yard pass from Harrington (Harrington kick good)

Fourth Quarter
R: 6:05 — D.J. Harvey 10-yard pass from Zach Masoli (Jose Rodriguez kick good)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sanfran preps b ridin


    Too bad McFarland was not in the game.

  3. Anonymous says:

    SHC was supposed to win so what are they going to do when they play Serra who put up almost 600 yds rushing or are they going to say they had a higher ranking than them so ??

    • Pablo says:

      Hey Anonymous, what planet are you on, SH held the no 2 Bells scoreless for 3 quarters last week in a fantastic game! in the end they were beaten not because of heart or excuses, they just got worn down by a dominant Bells running offence. No one is saying that SH can beat Serra, but hey I wouldn’t be shocked, one thing is for sure though Serra will not have 600 yards of offence against this tough, fast SH athletic defense. Kudos to SH and SI for a solid start to the season, the tied is changing for SF football teams in WCAL and watch out for the Crusaders they are not far away from being a solid Football program again.

  4. big guy 24 says:

    SHC did what their suppose to do, and thats win cause they are a better team period. They dominated from the start of the game and coach Lee did not want to pour it on the crusaders cause you never know how karma will come back to bite you in the butt. SHC was better at all aspects of the game period. It was a clean sweep as the frosh and Jv’s won too. Riordan will take its lumps this year and should bounce back better for it next year. Good luck to all 3 city teams in the season. WCAL is a tough game every week in league…

  5. Charles Manson says:

    Lets not forget their 55-6 Win Last year and the year before, Im just surprised they didnt break 50 this game. The Stanfel Cup will and always will be at Sacred Heart, unless some magic happens over at the riordan program.

    • wcalsf says:

      that “magic” is seeing shc’s male enrollment vanish over the next few years as the incoming freshmen will want to attend riordan. great changes in administration, athletic dept, boarding school, new/renovated athletic and school facilities and increasing enrollment are already happening.

      • WCAL Fan says:

        New arena for the Crusaders will hopefully breakground in July 2012. Take a look at the plans on the website. Should be real nice. I love my Crusader but SHC was impressive on Sat. All schools have there ups and downs and R is on it’s way up.

  6. Scott says:

    Wcalsf, all you ever mention is that shc male enrollment is declining. Well, SHC has just the same amount of girls as it does boys in the incoming class. Who would want to attend Riordan? SHC has better academic standards as well as is pretty well respected, so I disagree that everyone wants to attend Riordan.

    • COncerned Citizen says:

      Scott, I believe you’re terribly mistaken. Boys only want to attend Sacred Heart because the girls are there. I don’t even want to disclose what happens there. SHC is a party school, plain and simple. Riordan offers more AP courses than any Catholic school in the city. That means more than SHC. Riordan has a better music and drama department than SHC will ever have. They will even be on the decline in athletics after this year. All of the star athletes in the school are seniors. And if you think SHC has a better reputation that Riordan think again, because people outside of the Sacred Heart walls are certainly aware of what goes on within them.

      • IC Stars says:

        CO, I would give Riordan the edge on the band but you just won’t top SHC’s drama dept. The new theatre is very impressive and so are the students who are part of it.

        • wcalsf says:

          Stars, Riordan’s theater and drama department have been tops for over 50 years. Lots of quality plays and musicals set in beautifull classic auditorium.
          Also, I gotta give it to the Crusaders for the best spirit over SI and SHC. Yeah, there’s a great turnout for the Bruce, but that’s it! During the CCS hoops tourney, Burlingame had more fans and spirit than the home team Cats. SHC has dismal attendance in their brand new gym. Go to a Crusader home game and you got the band and many students and alumni all in attendance!

  7. True Crusader says:

    SHC better academic standards? By who’s standards? Yours? And you say well respected? Another subjective statement. Don’t come on here with baseless facts. These things go in cycles so enjoy your athletic achievements now but for you to imply SHC is a better academic school and more respected is absurd.

    Miles transferred in from Balboa. You will probably argue Balboa is comparable to Exeter Academy academically. Get real Scott!

  8. Anonymous says:

    what happened to mcfarland …or where was he you need a runiing back in league if you want to compete

  9. Anonymous says:

    SHC’s offense needs to step it up

  10. Scott says:

    Ok, I guess based on your STANDARDS Riordan is a better school, if you say so. I wasn’t referring to Miles either. But I do agree SHC, SI, Riordan schools do rotate on the talent that they get year in and out.

  11. Fan says:

    Calm down fellas! Each school I am sure has things in their respective schools to be proud of on the academic side of things. Over time many things change with city demographics from the number of children in the city to schools closing their doors or combining with other schools to stay afloat. 30 years ago you had a number of schools with in the catholic education system to choose from if you were a young woman and young men went to the all boys schools: SH, SI or ARHS. Times have certainly changed and will continue to do so. Everyone has an opinion which makes for great discussions. But back to the football game, SH has played well on defense and that will need to continue as they go through league play. Reading the article on the SI V SERRA game, obviously stopping the run is important and SH has been doing a good job of not allowing long touchdown runs. Riordan has talent and hopefully they will put it all together in the near future to have a successful program.

  12. True Crusader says:

    I never said Riordan was a better school, but YOU said SHC was a better school. I was saying that was a subjective statement on your part. I believe SHC to be a very good school as is Riordan.

  13. Justa Fan says:

    Good Job SH. Great season so far. Games have been a pleasure to watch, keep it up! And good luck to Riordan in their upcoming games.

  14. WCALOBSERVER says:

    Overall, Riordan can have Byron Marshall in their backfield and still not be very good. That offensive line needs A LOT of work. It’s only a matter of time before Pres. Daly goes overseas and bring in big samoan boys.

  15. big guy 24 says:

    SHC and SI are better teams than Riordan this year and thats due to the ups and downs of the 3 city schools. Riordan is young and getting better every week just don’t expect them to be successful this year. SHC and SI are strong now and should have good years all the way to the end. The 3 schools are doing a good job to make all their alumni’s feel proud. Keep up the hard work kids and it will pay off…

  16. sports time says:

    Mr Patrick Daly is doing a wonderful job getting kids into our city school. Daly is working hard to help the youth and help the kids who can’t afford it otherwise. Riordan will be back soon and be competitive and winning real soon. Good job Mr.Daly…

  17. Crusader Alum says:

    I attended the Alumni acttivities last Saturday at Riordan and came away very impressed with their future plans and conceptual models: Renovation of the gym and gym lobby dedicated to Kevin Restani, a NEW Student Athletic Center, with pool, wrestling room, additional gym, student fitness center, lockers, and rooftop facilities, A new athletic field that will include football home and away lockers next to the field with glass-enclosed “sky boxes” built above for alumni. These much needed improvements will keep Riordan competitive in attracting students for years to come.

  18. Bugs Bunny says:

    Why are we not talking about what is wrong on the field. This team has 100% more talent than last years and it looks like the only win is going to come against a public school. I understand these things take time but we should be doing better. It is a good thing Mr. Daly is tight with his new coach because by his old standards. Well you know.

    • ARHS Stats says:

      The only Public School on the Riordan Football Schedule is Dougherty Valley. Riordan did not win the Dougherty Valley game.

      Saint Mary’s is private catholic school, who, a long time ago, was in the same league as Riordan (Catholic Athletic League).

      The C.A.L., which included Bishop O’Dowd, St. Joseph’s, and St. Elizabeth for basketball, and Serra, St. Francis, and Bellarmine for both football and basketball.

  19. Bugs Bunny says:

    Thanks for he correction Stats. Care to answer the question about our play?

    • ARHS Stats says:

      I thought Riordan had a chance to maybe beat Valley Christian in the first league game, but that did not happen.

      For Riordan to win their first league game, the Riordan Defensive Players need to stop the opposing team’s running game, no matter who it may be.

      I think the Riordan offense can score 21 points on any WCAL team as long as they are playing as a team, with all players following team rules.

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