Football: Riordan can’t capitalize on early Mitty turnovers to lose WCAL home opener

Riordan senior cornerback Tre’ Gunter tries to corral Mitty junior running back Kyle Evans (left) on Saturday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Christian Chew)

By Jeremy Balan

The score at halftime may have been tied, but make no mistake, the Archbishop Riordan High School football team lost its West Catholic Athletic League home opener in the first half.

Mitty gifted Riordan five turnovers in the first half, but the Crusaders could not take advantage.

The Monarchs then eliminated the turnovers in the second half, scored 21 unanswered points and cruised to a 38-17 win on Saturday at Riordan.

The Crusaders (3-3, 0-3) took a 3-0 lead with a 33-yard field goal on their opening drive and followed the Monarchs’ (4-2, 1-2) first score with a 14-play, 65-yard touchdown drive, but didn’t score on any of the drives immediately following the five Mitty turnovers.

The Crusaders essentially netted minus-two points off Mitty turnovers, when the Monarchs fumbled on the Riordan 1-yard line with 4:39 left in the first quarter, then responded by taking down Riordan running back Jimmy Stasko two yards deep in the end zone for a safety on the following play.

Riordan junior quarterback Zach Masoli slips a would-be Mitty tackler on Saturday at Archbishop Riordan High School. (Photo by Christian Chew)

The turnovers created a disparity in offensive plays (Riordan ran 71 plays, Mitty ran 41), but the Monarchs still outgained the Crusaders 399-277.

“They gave us – well, we took – a number of balls from them, which is great to see,” said Riordan head coach Richard Sweeney. “We just gotta get some points out of those turnovers.”

Mitty rushed for 298 yards, led by 104 on six carries by senior running back Daniel Mosko, and only threw the ball three times in the second half, seemingly to limit further mistakes.

“Any time you turn the ball over five times in our league, you’re lucky to win,” said Mitty head coach Matt Haniger. “It was very sloppy and we have a lot of things that we need to work on. It was an animated discussion at halftime.”

You don’t have dig too deep, however, to see why the Crusaders faded in the second half. Due to injuries, Riordan suited up just 23 of its 31 rostered players.

Riordan went so deep in the depth chart that senior Kyle Craig scored both rushing touchdowns and had 25 yards on 10 carries. Craig, normally a tight end, came into the game with three carries on the season.

“He’s a pretty talented kid,” Sweeney said of Craig. “We went into a heavy formation and wanted to see if we could pound the ball a bit, and I think we did. Kyle stepped up.”

Craig also leads the Crusaders in receiving yards and receptions, and had four more catches against Mitty. Along junior Rob Valencia, the two tight ends were the main targets for Riordan quarterback Zach Masoli and combined for six of his 10 completions. Masoli threw for 73 yards on 10-of-16 passing and led the Crusaders in rushing with 79 yards on 18 carries.

“They’re good players and big targets,” Sweeney said of the tight ends. “We haven’t used them up to this point like we probably should have, but I love the tight-end part of the offense.”

Riordan senior running back Tre’ Gunter ran for 61 yards on 13 carries, but also played the majority, if not all of the snaps on defense at cornerback. Gunter, like many other Crusaders, showed visible signs of fatigue in the second half and had to be spelled often on offense.

“I don’t know if they overlooked us, but our guys hit them in the mouth and got a bunch of turnovers from them,” Sweeney said. “We made them play. It’s four quarters, though, and unfortunately we wore down a little bit in the second half.”

Scoring Summary

First Quarter
R: 6:31 – Angel Hernandez 33-yard field goal
M: 4:33 – Safety
M: 1:25 – Kyle Evans 3-yard run (Wyatt Hansen run on conversion)

Second Quarter
R: 7:00 – Kyle Craig 2-yard run (Hernandez kick)

Third Quarter
M: 8:16 – Chandler Ramirez 3-yard run (Daniel Rice kick)
M: 5:09 – Robert O’Leary 20-yard interception return (Rice kick)

Fourth Quarter
M: 9:18 – Evans 7-yard run (Rice kick)
R: 3:12 – Craig 3-yard run (Hernandez kick)
M: 1:06 – Trenton Sharrenberg 28-yard run (Rice kick)

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50 Comments

  1. Lance says:

    Give Riordan some credit. Although 0-3 they have played competitevly in 2 of the 3 games. Let’s not forget the three teams they opened with are three of the tougher teams in the league. I won’t predict a win over SI, but it may be closer than some(JJ) think.

  2. wcalsf says:

    Riordan’s thin roster and mounting injuries are key reasons that SI will be heavily favored , especially with their solid run game. Good luck Crusaders!

  3. Mr. Direct says:

    5 Mitty turnovers in the 1st half. 2 within the red zone for Riordan and they had 10 points at the half, -2 off of the TOs. He just needs more time. It’s not his fault.

    Sweeney’s offensive play calling was pathetic. Wasn’t he a below average low-level college defensive coach? What the hell is he doing calling the offense? With a talent like Masoli his inability to convert in the red zone is sad. I’ve never heard of a head coach who calls all of the offensive, defensive, and special teams plays and I’ve been watching football for 30+ years. Mitty sleptwalk through the 1st half and still beat them by 3 touchdowns without their biggest playmaker Monroe.

    • Colormepurple says:

      What he said ^^^! Play calling was suspect last season and it’s even worse this season. Sweeney has great assistant coaches all around him, but he’s too arrogant to listen! And the other sad part is he blames lack of talent, not the X’s and O’s yet, there are at least 10 talented atheletes who are NOT playing football this year. Why? Either he won’t let them play or worse, they don’t want to play for him. He should’ve stayed at the college level because he doesn’t relate to High School kids at all. No doubt Mr. Daly has done much good for Riordan but was Sweeney the right choice to take the program to the next level? It’s never too late to make changes.

      • JJ says:

        I’m so glad SI has great football coaches and an exciting offensive gameplan every week.

      • CrusaderNation says:

        Wow alot of Sweeney haters here. I was at the game at the play calling was much more creative, but, and this is a problem at every level of football, when you can’t control the line you lose the war. They used the run to sey up the pass, but execution is what becomes the problem. I don’t know where you come up with 10 talented athletes not playing, but it my understanding some wanted to concentrate on other sports. I watched SI play Friday night at St Francis and saw SI beat St Francis not because they were physically better, but their execution was much better and they held onto the ball. Riordan was in the game until midway through the third quarter, when lack of depth and two way players started to get tired. That is one of the key points besides not controlling the line. What cause questions in my mind is next year. The JV squad is thin in numbers and talent, so what will the program do? I don’t think the current freshmen except for a handful are ready, so that is the real question. I could put the greatest coach out there and the problem truly comes down to numbers, skill and physicality. As for the SI game, its a rivalry game and who knows. SH played them tough so who knows. That’s why they play the game.

        • Mr. Direct says:

          You say the problem comes down to numbers, skill and physicality. Who is ultimately responsible for those things?!
          Sweeney is the reason that the JVs are low in numbers and talent. Just as Colormepurple stated there are many athletes that would play football and want to, but don’t because of him. The skill part is what he is paid to do. Teach them football skills. And for physicality. There is no excuse for the team to be this weak strength wise. They obviously did very little in that new weight room they have. You cannot control speed (Riordan has that in the stands) but you can control strength for the most part. Ask yourself this question CrusaderNation. Why are all those talented athletes sitting in the stands watching the games? Do they have anything in common? In fact you should ask them yourself. You seem to know exactly who Colormepurple is referring to.

  4. Lance says:

    I think i’m going to vomit

  5. akcoachj says:

    It takes 4-5 years. He’s on year 2 guys. There is marked improvement since last year ie scores vs. Bellarmine & Mitty plus three wins. Direct you are on an absolute crusade against Sweeney. It’s obvious. Football is a numbers game. I’ll listen to your complaints and give them merit when the current sophs & frosh are juniors & seniors. I would never go by the complaints of high school kids in the stands on whether a coach is good or not. Devils advocate……………maybe those kids didn’t want to put the work in. Sweeney stepped up to do this tough job, support him or take your child or grandson somewhere else. Direct, you could not do a better job than him, but if I’m wrong about that put in for the head football job @ Riordan next time. Sweeney isn’t going anywhere unless he decides to. Daly is commited to him. Period. Everyone said Riordan needed to clean house. They did. Do they need to do it again in less than two years already?

    • wcalsf says:

      akcoachj, I am also remaining patient with Coach Sweeney and fully believe in his efforts…With the addition of several fine coaches in both the JV and Varsity levels, I hope Coach Sweeney does utilize their own talents and perspective to coaching in ultimately building a successful football program from top to bottom.

    • Mr. Direct says:

      What takes 4-5 years? Winning record in league? Not get blown out by 50+? To be top 2-3 in the WCAL? Please clarify.

  6. BeeFeez says:

    akcoachj,

    You’re absolutely right. Those kids in the stands who “weren’t allowed to play” were either attitude problems, didn’t want to compete, or decided they’d rather enjoy the summer while the rest of the team was working. They showed up a couple weeks before the season started and asked to play…Sweeney denied them, and rightfully so.

    Personally, If a kid doesn’t want to sacrifice over the summer, I don’t want him in the fall. If a kid doesn’t want to play football because the coach is a big fat meany, I don’t want him either. Go sit your asses in the bleachers and whine to each other about it. It’s disrespectful to the kids who busted their tails all summer and leave their guts on the field every week to even talk about the ones who didn’t.

    Is Sweeney a big teddy bear who farts warm and fuzzies? No. Has he made improvement in one year? YES. Does he know what he’s doing? YES.

    He’s got no reliable running game. Believe me, he’s got a couple HUGE ego’s to manage. He’s got no passing game to speak of. And he’s got a bunch of turds all around him who think of themselves as Bleacher Bill Belichick’s or don’t like him because he didn’t treat little Johnny the way his pop warner coach did.

    • Mr. Direct says:

      Let me translate BeeFeez’s post.

      Blame the players. Sweeney doesn’t know how to motivate or communicate with teenagers. Blame the players. Blame the parents. Blame the players.

      The lack of improvement so far has been troubling considering that the program had hit “rock bottom” before he got there. There was only one way to go right? We should see huge strides if Riordan went from incompetent to competent no? The physical improvement, skill improvement, and numbers improvement are non-existent or minimal at best.

      He has no passing game! He has no running game! The people are turds! The players have huge egos! OH no! Who’s the whiner here?

      There is no evidence to suggest Dick Sweeney knows what he is doing. NONE. His college record speaks for itself. What we see now at Riordan speaks for itself. As Bill Parcells said “You are what your record says you are.”

      His personality, coaching ability, and his lack of dedication and effort TRULY needed to make the football program what it is capable of is manifesting itself. Your loyalty and belief in him is nice, but the facts are the facts. He is who he is. In business, once you identify a bad investment you get out of it and move on. You do not double down and hope for it to get better with time. Dick Sweeney was a bad investment.

      • wcalsf says:

        Mr. Direct, is there anyone currently in the riordan football program that could turn things around without looking outside again? that s what i thought the reason was for bringing the jv coach into the program to assist sweeney? i am wrong to assume this? are you confident that Pres. Daly would take immediate action of his bad “investment”. the bottom line these days is sustaining enrollment through academics, the arts and athletics. This as we all know equates to $$$!! if one of these areas is failing, i’m sure Daly will take immediate action

        • Mr. Direct says:

          wcalsf, unfortunately I would say no. I believe the person needed for this job has to be hungry, enigmatic, enthusiastic and have the leadership and coaching capabilities that demand respect from the players etc. You cannot takes months off at a time. That doesn’t cut it. Not in the WCAL. That is not to say that some of the coaches currently on the staff could not work for the new head coach. That’s up to him. But yes you are wrong to assume that the JV coach was brought in to help Sweeney. He does not and was only brought in because Jefferson had to let him go. What if Jefferson didn’t have to? He’d still be there. Daly has shown he isn’t afraid to make tough decisions. wcalsf, the problem is there is no AD at Riordan right now. Who’s there to report on the state of the football program? It’s a bad situation right now.

      • Billy says:

        It is hard to see that the Riordan program has made any improvement in year and half. This is really bad football. We can talk about the “new” regime being put into place with Sweeney and the coaches he has brought in, but two staright 0-7 seasons means something is wrong.Make another change? I don’t know. But 0-14 in WCAL speaks volumes.They wil not win 2 WCAL games this year and they will be underdogs vs. SHC for sure.

    • Colormepurple says:

      Wow interesting, I think the only person I ever heard use the term ‘turd’ when describing a Riordan student athlete (that he didn’t like) was Coach Sweeney himself!

  7. Big guy 24 says:

    Colormepurple and Mr.Direct, I agree with what you 2 are saying here cause I heard it from ex-players(athletes) who decided not to play this year cause of Sweeney. He is very egotistacle and has never proven to be a good coach anywhere. Even back in the day when he was at SHC the kids didn’t like him and guess what? All he did was lose! I like the Jv staff and think they can do a better job then Sweeney 7 days a week. There are at least 5 really good football players who decided not to play for Sweeney this year in hopes that he”ll be fired and they play next year. The scary thing is they are all good athletes that would make Riordan better period. I hear many things from players and fellow coaches and hope that Mr.Daly looks into why kids won’t play for Sweeney. My opinion only.. Riordan will not compete until a new varsity coach is brought in period. Good luck to the 3 city schools!!

  8. Cityfootball says:

    When it comes to building a high school football program it all starts from the head varsity coach. He is the image of the program. Riordan obviously has been in the cellar for awhile it’s going to take more than Rich Sweeney to build it up. I have had a few encounters with Rich Sweeney and I can honestly say the man is out of touch with Riordan students and the modern high school football game, I have played college football on both bad and good teams. I can tell you being a college position coach on bad teams does not make you credible to be a good high school coach. HIgh school students need to be given instruction, need to be motivated by the head coach, need discipline. It’s obvious Riordan’s football teams are less than stellar in all these categories. I see kids who are grossly out of shape, I would often stop by Riordan in the summer and notice the lack of discipline and intensity in the weight room. You can see when they play they are behind in the basic fundamentals of the game. The students aren’t in proper stances, lack discipline in their reads, and are often out of position. Most importantly, if you look at the best programs in high school football you realize the season doesn’t start in the summer. It starts in December and January putting in work in the weight room, conditioning, and on the field. With a program like Riordan, It is going to take a coach who gets full participation out of the student body, someone who can motivate 15-17 year old teenagers to do their best year round. If you meet coach Sweeney and look at his track record it is obvious he lacks these skills. Maybe Sweeney should go back to coaching low level bad teams. Riordan is going to need a true leader and innovative football coach if it wants to compete and win in the WCAL. Richard Sweeney is not that guy.

  9. Lance says:

    I know it is a rivalry game SI v Riordan, but does Riordan stand any chance. Be honest and expalin how they can win.

  10. Colormepurple says:

    akcoachj: You say improvement over last year? I gave Sweeney the benefit of the doubt first year in, no problem. But improvement? Really? If you think 3 wins is an improvement, wow. We need to look at who the other WCAL schools are playing in preseason – everyone else is playing equal to or above WCAL competition. And I bet every one in the WCAL would have had those three wins easily where we struggled. Also 4-5 years rebuilding?? Remember Blake was released after ONE year. Why?

    I agree with Mr. Direct and Cityfootball it all starts with coaching. A few points: we lack strength, play calling creativity, execution and discipline. Did you see the Serra game? Our big OLine & DLine guys getting pushed around by 5ft 8″, 5ft 10″ and 6 footers with ease. Play calling – nothing creative, like in the red zone…run, run, run or pass, sack, pass, sack etc. – no element of surprise. Discipline, we must be the most penalized team in the WCAL – that is all coaching – lack of preparation. Especially when you’re not using your other coaches to help you coach. We wouldn’t have the problem of 2 way players being tired, if we had those 5 – 10 more players. And ok, so many of them played a second sport for Riordan during the Summer, you know a 2 sport athlete. A lot of other high schools have ’em and play ’em. Should they be penalized for playing summer sports for their own school when they are willing to play?

    Wcalsf – I may be hard on Coach Sweeney, but it’s hard to watch a team that has talent that’s not being used to it’s potential. There are good Coaches at Riordan who could probably take the Vars Head Coach job who could lead, be creative and be a players coach. I think Sweeney needs to either change, get help or step aside.

    • wcalsf says:

      If this is truly the state of the football program, I hope someone addresses this to President Daly. He did ax the AD after his failures…

  11. Akcoachj says:

    Sounds like we have knowledgable football people on the board. After you guys complain & get Sweeney fired put in for the job it’s apparently easy. No problem getting program as bad as you all say it is under Sweeney, to bridge the gap between Serra, Bellarmine & Riordan. 1-2 years right? Coaches are chomping at the bit to take Riordan over I bet. You’ll easily get a high quality guy after the last guy was ran after a year. Now Sweeney gets two. The only person I could honestly see turning Riordan around quicker is Peralta. But hey, why did he leave such an easy job? Why did Landridge quit coaching at Nirvana er Riordan? How could these guys stop such an easy job?

    • cityfansf says:

      Both Peralta and Langridge were coaching during the old regime with long-time AD Ron Isola. The WCAL had begun to pass him by, the facilities began to show their age, and it appeared that the school was not supporting all of the athletic programs as theycould have.
      The new President stepped in. With Academics, Drama, Music and band, the new Science wing and Techology Center already in place and thriving, it was time to “reinvest” in Athletics. Quality coaches were brought in at all levels, addition of lacrosse and rugby, new weight room, new field turf being installed next year, the renovation of the Crusader Forum (aka Restani Sports Complex) also to start next year. All of these changes, and a culture change, are setting up Riordan for the next few years. But the key is “buy-in” from everyone involved. I hope we’re not having this same conversation 2-3 years from now…

    • Mr. Direct says:

      Akcoachj, the job is a very hard one that requires a certain type of individual that Sweeney is not. It requires more than anything an immense amount of dedication and attention to detail and true love for the school and the program. I wouldn’t apply for the job because I am too old!! I’m not that person for the job either. Peralta left after coaching Riordan to its first WCAL title in about 30 years. Strange right? He didn’t want to leave. Langridge left for personal reasons I believe. Nothing to do with football.

  12. BeeFeez says:

    Co-sign. I can’t wait til Colormepurple takes over at Riordan and leads them to greatness. He’d turn it around in a year….tops!

  13. BeeFeez says:

    And the “turd” comment wasn’t directed or implied toward any student athlete. I keep my criticism at the adult level.

  14. FBC101 says:

    Quote from Mr. Direct.

    “There is no evidence to suggest Dick Sweeney knows what he is doing. NONE. His college record speaks for itself. What we see now at Riordan speaks for itself. As Bill Parcells said “You are what your record says you are.”

    So if we go off the Bill Parcels quote, the past few years records, points scored, points allowed, and the common League opponent, Then it has been a huge improvement thus far. Maybe not as fast as those on this board want or the results wanted, but it is an improvement. The numbers don’t lie. More points scored, less points allowed.

    2009 (record 1-9)
    Head Coach – Langridge
    After First Six Games:
    Points for: 105
    Points against: 220

    VS Bells (21-49 loss)
    vs Serra (13-35 loss)
    vs Mitty (14-38 loss)
    Points Scored 48 – Points Allowed 122

    2010 (record 0-10)
    Head Coach – Blake
    After First Six Games:
    Points for: 92
    Points against: 284

    VS Bells (7-50 loss)
    vs Serra (7-57 loss)
    vs Mitty (0-56 loss)
    Points Scored 14- Points Allowed 163

    2011 (record 1-9)
    Head Coach – Sweeney
    After Six Games:
    Points for: 94
    Points against: 218

    VS Bells (0-56 loss)
    vs Serra (10-35 loss)
    vs Mitty (21-40 loss)
    Points Scored 31- Points Allowed 131

    2012 (record 3-3)
    Head Coach – Sweeney
    After Six Games:
    Points for: 137
    Points against: 175

    VS Bells (10-28 loss)
    vs Serra (0-56 loss)
    vs Mitty (17-38 loss)
    Points Scored 27- Points Allowed 122

    Now would Coach: Janda, Walsh, Lee, Regalia, Navarro, Haniger, , or Machado Allow kids that did not participate in off-season training play for their team??? If you were a coach that accepted this BEHAVIOR then your tenure wouldn’t last long as a WCAL coach either.

    Kids that refuse to work hard need not be on the team period, and if they are in the stands whining, it is for this very reason.Football is not for everyone, even those GIFTED athletes.

    You may not like your boss, but if you don’t do what is asked of you, you will be waiting in line to collect that government check…

    • Mr. Direct says:

      FBC101, please stop trying to use the 3 pre-season games against bad teams as a case for improvement. The AAA is one of the worst leagues in the state. In fact the WCAL is ranked #40 in the nation. The AAA is #1975. Enough. And not that it makes much of a difference but Blake was 1-9 not 0-10 with the one win coming against SI. And the numbers for Langridge’s last year and Blake’s lone year were horrific. But let us look at the WCAL numbers you posted since that is who Riordan is measured against. I think your definition and my definition of “huge improvement” is much different:

      2012
      VS Bells (10-28 loss)
      vs. Serra (0-56 loss)
      vs Mitty (17-38 loss)
      Points Scored 27- Points Allowed 122
      2011
      VS Bells (0-56 loss)
      vs Serra (10-35 loss)
      vs Mitty (21-40 loss)
      Points Scored 31- Points Allowed 131

      Sweeney allowed players who currently play on the team to not fully participate in the limited weight training they had. The participation levels were abysmal. Please do not try to claim otherwise. The appalling lack of strength on the team makes this obvious, as others have stated on here as well. And if you don’t perform you get the axe. Let’s not kid ourselves; Dick Sweeney is well aware of this. A dozen schools in about two dozen years. Daly should make sure he stays on his current pace.

      • FBC101 says:

        Per your use of the Bill Parcels quote. The Crusaders record is better, granted against Teams that come from an inferior league, However i believe Lincoln would compete with most schools from the Peninsula.

        Correction, Blake was 1-9. Great win over SI.

        My statement of much improved, i still stand by. If you have been to the games, then you would have noticed that the EFFORT given by these kids has been much better than in years past.

        Let’s see what unfolds the rest of the season. My prediction, Crusaders win 2 league games.

        • wcalsf says:

          I would have to agree FBC101…Having watched a few Frosh games this season, the Varsity was on the outside of the field after both disheartening losses to Bellarmine and Serra streching out and doing sprints and drills…

        • Mr. Direct says:

          The effort against Serra was awful. But as you say let’s see what happens Saturday and the rest of games against WCAL schools. If there is real improvement then it will show in league.

          If Riordan is able to win 2 games as you predict, then I will tip my cap to Dick Sweeney and I will be proven wrong. I believe it will be 0-7 or 1-6 (with the one win most likely coming against lowly SHC) and the bottom of the barrel again…unfortunately.

          • ARHS Stats says:

            Maybe you should go to other games, than the Riordan vs. Serra game.

            Riordan played well against both Mitty and Bellarmine, and with few mistakes that don’t happen in those games, maybe the outcome is different.

      • akcoachj says:

        Direct,

        We can agree to disagree. I’m a retired Varsity head football coach, so I know the time it takes. My question for you is…….Where did you get the conference rankings from? I’d like to see how we stack up in Alaska vs. the AAA. My school I coached at played a WCAL team & a AAA team while I was coach, so I understand how bad AAA is. Please tell me where I can find these conference rankings. Again not a challenge very curious.

        • Mr. Direct says:

          akcoachj, If you go to calpreps.com you can go to the national/state power rankings and compare leagues and states etc.

          For instance last year California was ranked as the #1 state in football and Alaska was #49.

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