Football Game of the Week: Campolindo and Sacred Heart Cathedral are kindred spirits

There was talk over the summer about Sacred Heart Cathedral senior quarterback Jerry Peralta splitting time with sophomore Logan White, but he hasn’t released the reins yet. (Photo by Clarivel Fong)

By Jeremy Balan

The Sacred Heart Cathedral football team’s matchup against Campolindo this week will likely be its toughest test of the non-league season, but will also present a clash of kindred spirits.

A year ago, Campolindo was in the same spot the Irish are in now, early in the 2012 season.

Picked to finish last in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League, the Cougars went 14-0 and beat Marin Catholic in the North Coast Section Division III championship game, before falling to Washington Union of Fresno in the D-III state championship game.

Now, the Irish have been picked last by the West Catholic Athletic League coaches in their preseason poll, but surprised many when they dispatched Terra Nova with relative ease in their opener, a team that was ranked locally and regionally.

The Irish defense, including senior defensive back Nico Dizon (right), will be tested by Campolindo’s standout senior quarterback Brett Stephens. (Photo by Clarivel Fong)

“We always feel that we are for real,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach John Lee. “People who don’t think much of us don’t know us. People base a lot of stuff at this level on what you have coming back and that makes sense, but that happens every year.”

“We watched them on film and I was surprised they were picked last,” Campolindo head coach Kevin Macy said of the Irish. “When you lose a bunch of people that’s the formula people go with. We are both in the same boat.”

Lee spotlighted stopping standout Campolindo senior quarterback Brett Stephens as a key to winning Friday night at Kezar Stadium, needing another standout performance from an Irish defense that didn’t miss a beat against Terra Nova.

Stephens, a UCLA baseball commit, threw for 2,977 yards, 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season.

According to the Contra Costa Times, Stephens threw for 166 yards on 6-of-7 passing in the Cougars’ opener against Moreau Catholic, then added 296 yards against St. Patrick-St. Vincent last week. Both were 40-plus point totals for the Campolindo offense.

Despite both blowout wins, Macy is still cautious due to a lack of running back depth.

“We’re struggling to find a running back and in some positions we’re completely empty,” Macy said. “We don’t know how much we can rely on the running game, so Brett has to be the do-all. They’re going to bring a lot of pressure and it’s going to come down to our linemen to give Brett some time.”

Lee gushed over Stephens’ quick release and compared him to former Mitty quarterback Kyle Boehm, who is now a redshirt freshman at Cal.

“The key is stopping their quarterback,” Lee said. “That guy is the real deal. We need to pressure him, but we also need to contain him. He can run the ball and that’s what makes him so deadly.”

For the Irish offense, the ball again will be snapped to senior quarterback Jerry Peralta, who threw for 244 yards on just 8-of-16 passing and also added 53 rushing yards against Terra Nova.

Over the summer, Lee said Peralta would split time with sophomore Logan White, but felt he never needed to shift Peralta to receiver against Terra Nova.

“We were going to [put White in]. That was in the cards, but fortunately Jerry was doing such a great job, we didn’t need to,” Lee said. “It’s still in the game plan and Logan will get his playing time, but [Peralta] is that fiery guy that you want in there.”

What the Irish likely won’t be able to absorb against Campolindo, however, is another second-half lull. Sacred Heart had a 27-0 lead late in the second quarter against Terra Nova, then allowed the Tigers to score 14 unanswered points to get back into the game.

“We came out well in the first half and it showed, sputtered in the third quarter and picked it up again in the fourth,” Lee said. “We have to play four quarters of football. I think we will find out where we are and what kind of caliber of players we have [on Friday].”

Other Games


Tennyson (Hayward) @ Lowell, 3:30 p.m.
The Cardinals (0-1) have had two weeks to think about their opening loss to Terra Linda and will welcome the Lancers (1-0), a NCS Division III playoff team last season. Tennyson beat Albany 26-18 in their opener last week.

Marshall @ Oakland Tech, 7 p.m.
The Phoenix (0-1) looked equally good (on offense) and bad (on defense) in a 70-42 shootout loss to San Rafael in their opener, and will head over another bridge to take on the Bulldogs (1-0) in Week 1. Oakland Tech defeated Pinole Valley 45-21 in its opener and went 4-7 last season, including a 26-21 win over Balboa in non-league play.

St. Ignatius @ Terra Nova (Pacifica), 7 p.m.
We’ll get a good gauge about just how good the Wildcats (0-1) are, at least in comparison to rival Sacred Heart Cathedral, when they take on the Tigers (0-1), who fell behind early to the Irish last week and never fully recovered.


St. Mary’s (Berkeley) @ Riordan, 1 p.m.
The Crusaders (1-0) bested City foe Lincoln on the road in their opener and will head back to Phelan Avenue for their home opener on Saturday, against a team that gave them a close call in 2011. Riordan’s 37-33 victory over the Panthers (0-1) was its only win of the season, but St. Mary’s scored 26 points in the fourth quarter and nearly stunned Riordan in the East Bay. St. Mary’s had a bye last week, but opened their season in August with a 47-14 loss to Justin-Siena.

Stuart Hall vs. Mendocino @ Treasure Island, 1 p.m.
The Knights (1-0) looked awfully good on the road against Anderson Valley last week and will try to flip the script on another team that beat them last season. The Cardinals (0-0) dominated Stuart Hall last year in a 43-16 win.

Balboa @ Terra Linda (San Rafael), 2 p.m.
The Trojans (2-0) have already proven they can beat a Academic Athletic Association team this season (they beat Lowell 32-8 in late August) and will now welcome the Bucs (0-1) and standout senior running back Antoine Crecy.

Gonzales @ Galileo, 2 p.m.
With a less-than-encouraging tie to start the season against perennial Peninsula doormat Mills, the Lions (0-0-1) will open George White Field against the Spartans (0-0) which they beat 26-19 on the road last season.

Lincoln @ Hillsdale (San Mateo), 2 p.m.
The Mustangs (0-1) will head to the Peninsula for their second game of the season, but their record against teams to the south have not been great in recent years. Lincoln has gone 0-4 against Central Coast Section Squads since 2009 and 3-9 since 2004. The Knights (0-1) went 3-7 last season and opened their season with a loss to Cupertino last week.

Mission vs. Menlo (Atherton) @ Kezar Stadium, 2 p.m.
The Bears (1-0) and senior quarterback Antoine Porter began their season impressively with a double-digit win over Hercules last week, but will likely have their hands full with the Knights (1-0) this week. Menlo beat Mission 16-12 in Atherton last season, made the CCS Division IV playoffs and blew away Santa Cruz in its opener last week, 66-14.

El Camino (South San Francisco) @ Washington, 2 p.m.
After a bye in Week 0, the Eagles (0-0) take their fist step of the post-Karl-Finley era against the Colts (0-1), who were shut out by Menlo-Atherton (final score: 26-0) in their opener last week. New head coach Taylan Plasch had designs of installing a new offensive system over the summer and should not see a dip in talent for the perennial AAA contenders.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. SI Sports Radio says:

    To listen live to the following games, just use your computer, smart phone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

    Friday, Sept 7 at 640pm Campolindo vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral on Irish Sports Radio

    Friday, Sept 7 at 650pm St.Ignatius vs. Terra Nova on SI Sports Radio

  2. JoJo says:

    Riordan will also be broadcasting games this year. The first one is on Saturday, September 8 @ 12:40 pm

  3. Football fan says:

    Correction, defensive back Nico Dizon is only a junior

  4. The truth says:

    Are you for real? Let’s see tonight.

    Sounds like Campo and SH are very similar. Two stud qb’s and no run game. Lol.

    • jbalan says:

      Who are you talking to?

    • JJ says:

      After 1 game, and you call Peralta a stud QB? If he plays like that for the whole season, then you can make that claim. Still early, but he reminds me of a young right-handed Tim Tebow, especially wearing 15 and their uniforms look like the NJ JETS. Great running ability, but suspect arm.

      • Ari Gold says:

        He can probably throw farther and with more zip than either you or me. How many steps do you need to take to throw a 20 yard pass JJ? And no lobbing the ball doesnt count.

  5. Chris says:

    JJ, no one here is saying he is a STUD QB. However, he didn’t do bad in his debut as a starter against Terra Nova.. You are right that Peralta has bettter legs than his arm, he will be the first to tell you that as well but his arm is serviceable. Young Logan White will probably be the SH quarterback for the future and I dare say he has a rifle arm but his legs are not like Peralta’s either at this point.

  6. The truth says:

    J.Lee said in the article that they are always for real. So I said we’ll see tonight.

    Tim Tebow.? Really JJ.

    • JJ says:

      Yes, he’s like Tim Tebow because Peralta has great leadership abilities like the real #15. Logan White is like Mark Sanchez but maybe with less interceptions and less hoopla. In 10 years, I think Peralta will be SHC’s new head football coach. by the year 2022, SHC could have their own football field and with Peralta at the helm, sky’s the limit.

      • Ari Gold says:

        i will bet you anything, i mean ANYTHING, that SHC will not have their own football field within the radius of the campus by 2022 or by 2050. I will probably be dead by then anyways. But you should stick to your SI predictions and not dream about the future of SHC facilities. We got a spanking new gym / life center and that took 20 years of fundraising. And that was easy because we built in on property SHC owns.

        Unless the arena league football becomes a high school sport, then SHC can build on their practice football field an arena. But other than that good luck getting the permits and the cash to purchase land in SF.

        • Chris says:

          Ken or Jerry…Ken obviously a very good coach. Not sure if Jerry is interested in coaching he said he wanted a degree in business.

  7. Turtle says:

    They have a field. KEZAR!!!

    • in the know says:

      kezar is only for games!! they do NOT have a field to practice on! Touring around SF and getting any field is what they have. I also wouldnt put too much on them EVER getting a field. Outdoor sports are on the administratrions back burner. Volleyball and basketball get everything, facilities, support and the players they want and need (with full financial aide)

      sad but true

  8. Big guy 24 says:

    Lets go irish, play hard and like a team. Peralta is a smart QB but Tebow he is not and never will be. He is a different kind of QB, listens well to the coach and runs the offense. These kids don’t need added pressure of being compared to an all-american QB like Tebow. The kid should have a solid year. Good luck kids.

  9. Turtle says:

    Keep your heads up Irish.

Leave a Comment

Comments that advocate violence, racism, or libel, as well as comments featuring profanity will not be permitted. Repeat offenders will have their commenting privileges suspended. All comments must abide by our Commenting Code of Conduct.