By Jeremy Balan
SAN JOSE — If last week’s win over rival St. Ignatius was the peak of Sacred Heart Cathedral’s season, it didn’t take long for the Irish to hit rock-bottom.
The Irish were outclassed in every aspect of a 47-6 West Catholic Athletic League loss on the road against Valley Christian on Friday night.
Sacred Heart’s (5-3, 2-3) play was contradictory to everything the Irish have been known to do well this season, and the numbers speak for themselves.
The same Irish defense that held powerhouse Bellarmine scoreless for three quarters and dominated St. Ignatius was gashed for 423 yards by the Warriors’ high-octane running offense, led by 190 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries from standout senior running back Byron Marshall.
The same Irish offensive line that overpowered St. Ignatius and allowed standout running back Valentino Miles rush for over 300 yards last week was dominated by Valley Christian (4-4, 3-2), and Miles was held to just 11 yards on 15 carries.
Sacred Heart was limited to just 125 yards of total offense and Miles, its greatest offensive weapon, was constantly hit by the Valley Christian defense before he could even get to the line of scrimmage.
“We didn’t show up to play tonight,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “We got overloaded [on the offensive line] and they’re a quick and really fast defense.”
As much as the Irish offense struggled, it was the defensive effort that was completely out of character for the Irish stop unit that has been a strength all year.
Marshall took the Warriors’ first offensive play for a 68-yard score and Sacred Heart never seemed to recover, allowing seven plays of 20 yards or more, including two more touchdown runs of 51 and 80 yards.
Senior Jarrod Lawson also had a sparkling performance for the Warriors, running for 175 yards on just 10 carries.
In the end, the only thing that could stop the Warriors was the clock, which halted Valley Christian drives at the half and at the end of the game. Other than those instances, the Warriors scored a touchdown on every one of their drives.
“We watched film, we’ve seen them play, but our guys finally came to a point this year where we realized we have to start moving forward,” said Valley Christian head coach Mike Machado. “Offensively, our big-play guys finally put it together as a group.”
One of the lone bright spots for the Irish was the play of junior quarterback Jerry Peralta, who entered in the second half after an injury knocked starter Jack Harrington out of the game at the half.
Paralta led the Irish on a 16-play scoring drive in the fourth quarter, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Miles to give the Irish their only points of the game.
Next up for the Irish is another high-powered running offense in Serra, and Lee is optimistic about the improvements the Irish can make in the upcoming week of practice.
“The only place we can go is up,” Lee said. “We hit rock-bottom, I’m not going to lie, and hat’s off to Valley Christian, they played light’s out. We just need to let this go, come back next week and get ready for Serra. We just have to show up.”
VC: 10:18 — Byron Marshall 68-yard run (Phil Ramirez kick good)
VC: 3:19 — Ryan Severson 17-yard run (Ramirez kick good)
VC: 11:08 — Jarrod Lawson 51-yard run (kick failed)
VC: 10:06 — Marshall 10-yard run (kick failed)
VC: 1:21 — Marshall 80-yard run (Ramirez kick good)
VC: 11:16 — Michael Deans 32-yard pass from Jay MacIntyre (Ramirez kick good)
VC: 4:53 — Lawson 21-yard run (Ramirez kick good)
SH: 6:36 — Valentino Miles 1-yard run (conversion failed)