Football: Miles scores six touchdowns to send Sacred Heart to CCS final

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior running back Valentino Miles works his way through the Christopher defense in the CCS Division III semifinals on Friday at Gilroy High School. (Photo by Clarissa Villanueva)

By Jeremy Balan

GILROY — As Valentino Miles goes, so does Sacred Heart Cathedral’s football team, and the standout senior running back had a night to remember in the Central Coast Section Division III semifinals on Friday night against Christopher.

Miles totaled 143 yards rushing on 26 carries, gained 133 yards on five receptions and scored every touchdown in Sacred Heart’s 42-23 win over the top-seeded Cougars at Gilroy High School.

“The touchdowns don’t matter. It was all about getting the win,” Miles said. “It was a good team effort. I just happened to be the one who got in the end zone.”

While the final score seems lopsided, Sacred Heart was trailing 17-14 at the half, but Miles only needed the first play from scrimmage in the second half to give the fifth-seeded Irish (7-5) the lead.

The play looked ordinary at most in development, as Sacred Heart quarterback Jack Harrington threw to Miles on the left wing behind the line of scrimmage.

Sacred Heart Cathedral senior quarterback Jack Harrington runs in a two-point conversion against Christopher in the CCS Division III semifinal on Friday at Gilroy High School. (Photo by Clarissa Villanueva)

With five defenders clustered in front of him and no blockers, Miles juked the first defender, broke a tackle, stepped over another, broke another tackle, then outran the rest of the Christopher defense down the left sideline for a 67-yard score.

“That was freakish,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “He took that play over. That was collegial and just a big-time play.”

Miles’ big plays came mostly on passes from Harrington, who threw for 214 yards on 12-of-21 passing, but his impact may have been greatest in the rushing game, where he wore down the Christopher defense despite not having a run over 11 yards.

The quintessential example of Miles’ running style came on his fourth score, which put the Irish up 28-17 in the third quarter.

Miles scored on a straightforward run from 7 yards out, but was hit at the 5-yard line and carried two Christopher defenders into the end zone.

“He showed up tonight and we just kept feeding him,” Lee said.

Two more touchdown runs from Miles put the game out of reach, but it was the standout Irish defense that slammed the door on the Cougars (10-2). Led by two sacks from senior John Morello and two interceptions from Brett Rasso, the Irish held Christopher to minus-8 yards rushing.

Rasso, a sophomore that was called up from the junior varsity team for the playoffs, also returned kickoffs and punts for the Irish and made a touchdown-saving tackle late in the second half.

The Irish largely held down the Christopher offense, but the Cougars did gain positive yardage, it came in bunches and they got started immediately.

The Cougars struck on the first play from scrimmage, when quarterback Brandon Pickens connected with speedy wide receiver Marcus Harrell on a 63-yard screen pass for a score.

“They had that first strike and I did not want to get into a shootout with that team,” Lee said. “I watched three [games on] film and they score so fast. We hunkered down, though, and we controlled the ball, ate the clock and scored. We deprived them of what they wanted.”

Pickens again connected with Harrell from 19-yards out to extend the Christopher lead to 17-6 in the second quarter. Then, after Sacred Heart opened up its big lead late, Harrell hit wideout Bryant Cid for a 52-yard score after Pickens sent a lateral pass to Harrell behind the line of scrimmage.

The win sends the Irish to a CCS title game for only the second time in school history and will face a familiar West Catholic Athletic League opponent in the final. St. Ignatius and Valley Christian square off Saturday in the other semifinal matchup.

“I don’t care who it is,” Lee said. “It’s not comfortable [playing against a league team], but those are guys I respect and we know what we’re going to get.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
C: 11:40 — Marcus Harrell 63-yard pass from Brandon Pickens (Herman Enriquez kick good)
SH: 3:38 — Valentino Miles 23-yard pass from Jack Harrington (kick failed)

Second Quarter
C: 6:59 — Enriquez 17-yard field goal
C: 5:43 — Harrell 19-yard pass from Pickens (Enriquez kick good)
SH: 1:27 — Miles 1-yard run (Harrington run on conversion)

Third Quarter
SH: 11:40 — Miles 67-yard pass from Harrington (kick blocked)
SH: 7:38 — Miles 7-yard run (Miles run on conversion)
SH: 0:13 — Miles 1-yard run (Harrington kick good)

Fourth Quarter
SH: 6:43 — Miles 8-yard run (Harrington kick good)
C: 6:26 — Bryant Cid 52-yard pass from Harrell (conversion failed)

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31 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Great Job, SHC, Let us hope SI wins so we can meet them at Kezar, what a treat for the city programs!!

    • ARHS Stats says:

      I doubt that will happen, (I mean playing at Kezar).

      The C.C.S. has sites reserved already, and I don’t think Kezar is one of the sites.

      The game might be played at Foothill College or San Jose City College.

  2. Fan says:

    Want a win! Props to Miles for going hard and making the most of his touches with the football. Rasso is a player to watch. That kid has heart and what a way to play after losing his Dad not long ago! Big Brett is smiling down on him. Always believed he is the best athlete of the 2015 class

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good win by the Irish….the Cats will face a very tough foe in VC. It will be VC vs the Irish next week for the title.

  4. Pablo says:

    Great win for the Irish, I was in the large SH cheering section and after Christopher scored on its 1st play from scrimmage some of the opposing fans were shouting across saying Oh these guys don’t know what they are doing! i think they were smelling a rout! wow that all changed in the 2nd and 3rd quarter when the Irish completely dominated on both sides of the ball! welcome to our world Christopher! you don’t compete week in and week out in WCAL league play if you don’t know what you are doing. Congratulations to Coach Lee and his supporting cast, also the offence particularly Tino, Jack and the O-Line but a huge shout out to Morello and his fantastic speed rush defense, most of these guys have grown up playing Rugby together with the Golden Gate Club and if definitively shows in their tackling ability. I do have one concern, in a lot of games this year we seem to come out very flat, just don’t seem to be ready to go on the 1st whistle, our team can not afford to go down early next week, its not as easy to come back against quality WCAL opposition. Good luck to SI tonight v Valley, it would be great to see an all City final.

    Go Irish,

  5. sfpatriot says:

    Congrats Irish!! Good Luck next week.

    The gilroy dispatch also has an article and some pictures (incl a good pic of Irish pass rush) from the game at http://www.gilroydispatch.com/sports/281055-football-christophers-postseason-run-cut-short-in-semifinals-42-23

  6. SHC FAN says:

    First I want to give a big shout to the Irish football team offense and defense for playing hard last night second to the fans that showed up last night this was the 1st game this year where it really felt like we could help push the team. So FANS and SCHOOL let’s come out in full support of our football team in this CHAMPIONSHIP GAME and let’s cheer them to a victory.

  7. JJ says:

    Where’s the Bruce Mahoney football game part deux gonna be??

  8. Pablo says:

    Should be Kesar

    • jbalan says:

      I’ve heard from some people that it will be at San Jose City College. If it is, I will be writing a column.

      • MikeM says:

        San Jose City College is not a good field – these teams deserve better! Please do write that column – hardly right for 2 City teams!

        • jbalan says:

          Looks like we have good news on that front. CCS updated bracket now says the game will be on Saturday night at Terra Nova.

          • Anonymous says:

            Jeramy, good news would be Kezar if CCS is smart they would hold the game at Kezar 11,000 capacity Terra Nova maybe 2,000 GO IRISH! Congrats to SI

            • jbalan says:

              I agree. Kezar would be the best spot, but there must be some reason why it’s not there. I will check with both athletic departments tomorrow.

              • Anonymous says:

                Let’s face it. It’s about money If CCS people are smart and took basic arithmetic Jeramy $5.00 to $10.00 student or adult multiply by 6,000 to 10,000 people your talking bank for the CCS $30,000 to $80,000 Please hold it at Kezar nice commute at least for SH fans.

              • JJ says:

                I think the game should be played at AT&T Park. Having the game at Kezar would give an unfair advantage to SHC, since that is their home field.

  9. JJ says:

    good thing they changed the venue, so that the environment won’t be polluted with more driving and fuel consumption

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t SI want to play at Kezar? I feel like more total fans would show up there than at Terra Nova. And it would be like a game of a lifetime if it was played at Kezar with a ton of fans.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bottom line is SI is holding it up. It’s there home field!!!! And how many times have you beat SHC at Kezar in the last ten years 8 times so I don’t think home field plays a factor in the game. I just think they want to control the location because they know SHC want’s the game there. They will have the same fan base. Stop crying and man up.

  11. JJ says:

    I’m pretty sure there will be less people at the CCS championship game than the Bruce Mahoney game. ALUMNI show up at the Bruce-Mahoney game, while the CCS game will be mostly students, parents, and hard-core WCAL fans

    • GCJ01 says:

      You’re probably right, but I do think that more fans will be there than people think. It sucks that the game isn’t being played at Kezar, which, probably would’ve brought in a few more fans. I do understand why it’s not being played there, but to have the two City teams travel to Pacifica when they can in their own backyard is a bit silly.

  12. starrkisha says:

    Good job irish. Shout out to my baby brother Tino Miles#5. Way to show God off!!!!

  13. WCAL Alum says:

    True, Kezar or Kezar Pavillion may have had a commitment and maybe CCS did not want to take a chance of Rec and Park closing field down in inclement weather (as they have been known to do).

    Security may have been an issue for CCS, as this game would attract more than alums, friends and family.
    Since CCS would be responsible for security (as opposed to SI/SHC), maybe they felt the outside element would be less likely to travel to Pacifica.

    As for neutral site – Open division in being played at San Jose CC and Bellarmine plays their home games there.

  14. SHC fan says:

    Kezar Would only cost $1000 to rent. SI doesn’t want to play there because it’s SHC’s home field and not a neutral site. That being said they both play there every year and have for 20+ years so what’s the real issue? Have fun parking miles away and not having anywhere to sit SI fan. The home bleachers go to the high seed and will be filled with green and white. The CCS has no idea what it’s missing.

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