Football: Sacred Heart Cathedral’s offense falls short in loss to Mitty

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior running back Valentino Miles tries to shake Mitty defensive lineman Dion Windom on Friday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

Defense has been the strength of the Sacred Heart Cathedral football team all season, but it has been the struggles of the offense that have held the Irish back recently, and those struggles came to a head on Friday night.

The Irish only ran 21 offensive plays through three quarters, totaled minus-4 yards, didn’t complete a pass and didn’t earn a first down until the 6:48 mark of the fourth quarter in a 21-7 loss to visiting Mitty at a rain-soaked Kezar Stadium.

Mitty senior quarterback Andrew Barna throws a ball into the Sacred Heart Cathedral defense on Friday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Sacred Heart finished with 131 total yards, most coming on an 80-yard touchdown run from Valentino Miles in the fourth quarter. Miles finished with a game-high 96 yards on 12 carries, but didn’t have a carry in the second quarter and only had two in the third.

“I don’t know where our offense has been. I’m frustrated and I’m disappointed,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “We work all week on schemes and they seem to go out the door once the game starts. We have the athletes, but we don’t focus. That’s what is hurting us right now.”

Still, without any offense through three quarters, the Irish were in the game late, when senior cornerback Gino Regusa recovered an onside kick, following Miles’ score, with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Irish then drove down to the Mitty 12-yard line, but on a fourth-and-long play, inexplicably ran a wide receiver reverse that fell well short of the first down.

“I was trying to get something going and one of my assistants suggested it. Then we realized we didn’t have [Zach] Tapel,” Lee said. “That was a mistake on my part. I’m wearing that one. That was not the right call there.”

Tapel, who plays wide receiver, linebacker and returns punts and kicks, was injured late in the second half, did not return and could be in doubt for next week’s Central Coast Section playoff opener. After the game, Lee was unsure of Tapel’s status.

“I just don’t know yet. Hopefully he goes to the doctor tonight and is good to go,” Lee said. “That kid is the heart and soul of our team in every phase. He never leaves the field. He does it all. It will be challenging [going forward without him], but that’s a part of life and football. Guys have to step up, because he plays such a big role for us.”

The biggest reason Sacred Heart remained in the game was another standout performance by the Irish defense. Although Sacred Heart gave up some big chunks of yardage, it held the Monarchs scoreless on two key red-zone opportunities, and two of the Mitty scores came on short fields.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral defense swarms a Mitty ball-carrier on Friday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“Our defense plays with heart and the offense has to find that heart,” Lee said. “When we needed them, they made a play.”

The Monarchs did sustain drives, however, and dominated time of possession. Mitty totaled 211 yards rushing on 48 carries and got three touchdown runs from senior Cail McClenahen. Mitty quarterback Andrew Barna added 45 yards rushing of his own and threw for 31 yards on 4-of-4 passing.

“We’ve been throwing the ball a lot this year and we’ve done a good job with that, but with these conditions we wanted to go straight ahead,” said Mitty head coach Matt Haniger. “We did a pretty nice job of running the ball and controlling the clock.”

With the regular season over, the Irish now can only wait for the CCS playoff brackets to be released on Sunday, where they will likely go on the road in the first round.

“We’ve lost that spark. There was a spark we had and we’ve misplaced it,” Lee said. “We need to find it next week and we’re starting fresh [in the playoffs]. Everyone is 0-0 and we’re going to get after it.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
M: 5:57 — Cail McClenahen 2-yard run (Cameron Vaca kick good)

Second Quarter
M: 3:28 — McClenahen 4-yard run (Vaca kick good)

Third Quarter
M: 5:59 — MCClenahen 10-yard run (Vaca kick good)

Fourth Quarter
SH: 8:14 — Valentino Miles 80-yard run (Jack Harrington kick good)

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  1. Paul B. says:

    I hope that Tapel’s injury is not that serious so he can play hoops w/ Taylor Johns, Josh Fox, & Herman Pratt this upcoming season.

  2. I See Red says:

    Why was this game played? Last year against St. Francis there was barely a trickle and the game was moved. Now it’s pouring rain and they play. A valuable player got injured and Miles had no carries in the second and only 2 in the third? I don’t usually rip on Lee but there’s a tattoo saying “I blew it” waiting for him. I know who the better team is, and it’s not Mitty.

    • cityfan says:

      it was and is not Lee’s decision whether the team can or cannot play at Kezar. He is at the mercy of Park and Rec. They decided last year that the field was too wet to play on and that this year (after pouring rain all day) the field was ok. Bad decisions I agree.
      Hopefully Tapel will be ok.

  3. SCH says:

    Hopefully Tapel’s injury is not very serious and will ready to go SCH has on OFENSIVE LINE what so ever if you take away the SM game and other no league games they are WEAK they don’t come ready to play. They have been exposed with no QB they are 0 for how many completions alot of fumbles and no solution, if have have not noticed that you have #5 runs he scores that’s the way the season has been no carries LOST.

    • IC Stars says:

      Why don’t you throw-out the 14-7 Bellarmine game too? If SHC (Who is “SCH”?) plays mistake-free ball, they win. There are plenty of teams who will appear “WEAK” vs. teams like Serra, VC and Bellarmine. Also, why take away the St. Mary’s and other non-league games? St. Mary’s won 5 games. Terra Nova won 8 games with a good shot at another CCS title and SHC beat them. If anything, throw out the Jefferson and Riordan games. They’ve only won 3 games combined.

      As for #5, I agree that he needs more touches and the Irish have a better shot at winning. It’s inexcusable to give him the ball only two or three times during one half of football. The Irish do have good quarterbacks, they just need better pass plays to run along with better receivers. That’s not Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce out there.

    • Fan says:

      Grammar is not a strong point in your written opinions. Like IC says who is SCH? It’s either SH, SHC, OR SHCP. What’s your deal with getting a few letters in the correct order. It’s like your trying to write badly.

      For the faithful it was a tough end to what started out as a great beginning. Hopefully the team can get it together when the playoffs start. Hopefully Tapel can play and also play for basketball.

  4. ... says:

    uh just give tino the ball please……

  5. Irish fears says:

    The offense has stunk for three weeks and has been inconsistant all year. I feel bad for that defense, they play their hearts out but just dont have the size to stay on the field all night in this league. At some point a change has to be made on offense and that doesnt mean the revolving qb’s. put someone back there to hand it to #5. quit running plays that make slow qbs carry the ball.

    Dont out coach youself Lee, other coach’s in this league dont need your help.

    • cityfan says:

      I seriously doubt Lee or any other coach calls a play that he thinks will fail. Coaches call plays they believe will work, gain yardage, get a first down, etc. It’s what the kids do when the play is called. Are they reading their keys, blocking the right person, giving ther QB time to do their job? The players get the answers to the test each week (scouting report). How they use the answers is up to them.

      • Irish fears says:

        Dont doubt he calls plays he thinks will work but when #5 gets the ball ( SI,Riordan,Jeff,TN) they win and the Defense gets to play more aggresively. maybe they need to be taught, not given answers??? I have a cliff note for you, run the ball with #5 20+ times and throw out of your run formations once in a while. just ask SI.

        Didnt know Mittty was the 85 bears. -3 yards for 3 qts and no first downs till 8mins left in the game. wow!!! I guess its the kids fault, teach them dont scream at them. keep it real

    • GCJ 01 says:

      Both of you have great points, however, a coach can only coach. It’s up to the players to execute. The coach could be calling all of the right plays, but if there is no execution, then things won’t turn out the way they’re supposed to. SHC does have a lot of talent on their team, and they are being taught well. This is obvious by their strong defensive unit. It could be possible that they just have poor execution on the offensive side of the ball.

  6. Waiting says:

    Waiting the entire season to see why this has not been fixed why have a runner to run if you use him to go from palce to place without the ball come people get it together use what works and no carries in the 2nd and 2 in the 3rd that’s a slap in the face to the person you have running the ball.

  7. sports time says:

    Alot of frustration at SHCP right now, coaches need a deep breath and players need accountability period. Coaches coach and players play, now get a game plan and run it at 100% all game long. Seems like a win vs SI has SHCP thinking the season is over. The energy and enthusiam seems gone…Get back to basics and punch teams in the mouth. Good luck kids.

    • IC Stars says:

      I think they’ll be ready for the playoffs and think of it as a new season. Everybody is 0-0 and it’s not every day the Irish bring back some football hardware.

  8. Cityfan says:

    The kids have been taught…majority for the last four years. I think after the win against SI, they thought they’re invincible. Lesson learned. Each week is a new game, a new team abd a new challenge. They must step up. I agree their pep is gone, they aren’t in sinc. Coaches teach abstea yelling is a part of coaching. Every sideline of every school has a coach that is yelling. They aren’t yelling at the kids. It’s a wake up call…wth happenned out there? I guess Irish fears was never yelled at but coddled and got a trophy just for showing up. Giving # 5 the ball is the goal, but when the O line isn’t making holes for him to run through or blocking, he isn’t gonna get far. They need to regroup as a team and as a staff to get through the playoffs.

    • Irish fears says:

      They havent woke up in three weeks. all im saying is as a coach take some resonsiblity and fix what is in your control. have some faith in the run and the big guys up front and i gaurantee the wins will come. Yarnway carried to school to its first championship with a decent defense and that should be the formula this year. we want the same thing, just not happy that the team is underacheiving and Lee going away from the blue print.

  9. Anonymous says:

    #5 can’t run on WCAL teams other than Riordan and SI….yes he broke an 80 yard run but was in check all night except for 1 play. You give him the ball you still lose against every Peninsula/South Bay team. You all need to quit kidding yourselves and accept the fact that none of the city schools can play with the other WCAL teams.

    • IC Stars says:

      Race him. See who wins.

    • Anonymous says:

      “none of the city schools can play with the other WCAL teams”

      That’s a pretty ignorant statement, considering that SI tied Mitty (should’ve won, too; they missed two extra points and Mitty had to score a TD and get a 2pt conversion on the last drive). Also, SI only lost to Valley and St Francis by 3 points each and it took a St. Francis TD on a desperation pass to the endzone on 4th and 20 with like 30 seconds left in the game. Yes, they did get blown out by Serra and Bellarmine, but who doesn’t?

      • Anonymous says:

        Whta’s ignorant is that you keep saying you CAN. The numbers don’t lie. If you total up the records for the 3 city schools, they are something like 0-14-1 against remaining league teams.

  10. Waiting says:

    SF WCAL they are clowning us up here that’s BAD saying we can’t hang. SHC if the varsity line doesn’t want to block bring the JV players up I bet they will block. As far is #5 please give him line he will torches the peninsula.

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