By Matthew Snyder
Sacred Heart Cathedral’s football team endured a brutal tale of two halves against Valley Christian of San Jose in a West Catholic Athletic League matchup on Friday night at Kezar Stadium.
After heading into halftime down just 8-0, the Irish conceded 35 points in long, one-sided third quarter that powered the Warriors to a 43-0 victory.
“The wheels came off in the second half,” said Sacred Heart head coach John Lee. “The special teams, on the first two kickoff returns, puts us inside our own [10-yard line] . . . So, when you start with your backs against the wall, it’s not very easy to dig out of that hole.”
Valley Christian (3-3, 1-2), coming off a heartbreaking 28-27 loss to St. Francis last weekend, racked up 314 rushing yards on 40 carries, and while quarterback Jay MacIntyre had just two completions in the game, both went for touchdowns in the third quarter.
The Warriors’ defense forced four Sacred Heart (1-5, 0-3) fumbles in the game, including three in the second half. They held the Fighting Irish to just 129 total yards of offense.
“We just came out with a different intensity in that second half,” said Valley Christian head coach Mike Machado. “I thought we were flat to start the game, but our guys came out and executed what we’d adjusted at halftime. That’s the big thing we always talk about – finishing, and that’s what we did. We’re a young team, but the young guys are growing up and tonight I thought we took a step in the right direction.”
Junior Brett Rasso, Sacred Heart’s top playmaker on offense and defense, entered the game with what Lee described as a “bum [right] elbow,” and couldn’t get going against the Warriors defense. He finished with 36 yards rushing on 11 carries and 50 yards receiving on three receptions.
The Irish hovered around midfield with their first two offensive drives of the game, and couldn’t punch past the Warriors’ frenzied defense, which employed a dizzying array of blitz packages to put pressure on senior quarterback Jerry Peralta, who had several passes batted down by defenders.
“We were moving the ball consistently,” Lee said. “Then they made a couple of adjustments, and we had no one to counter their [linebackers] coming off the edge, and that caused some problems.”
Despite the offensive struggles, Sacred Heart’s defense provided a huge momentum push in the first half, withstanding a 16-play Valley Christian drive that spanned two quarters and almost 11 minutes of game time.
On fourth-and-6 at the Irish 10-yard line with 4:10 remaining in the half, a swarm of Sacred Heart defenders crashed the line of scrimmage to meet powerful Valley Christian running back Kirk Johnson, allowing him just three yards and forcing a turnover on downs.
Valley Christian senior running back Ryan Severson had two of the third-quarter touchdowns, as well as the Warriors’ lone score in the first half, and finished with 145 yards on 13 carries.
The Irish picked up just one first down during five offensive drives in the third quarter and failed to get past midfield.
Conversely, Valley Christian scored on all four of its drives in the third quarter, and defensive lineman Cody Campbell returned a fumble 27 yards for another touchdown.
VC: 0:28 – Ryan Severson 20-yard run (Jay MacIntyre run on conversion)
VC: 9:46 – Severson 1-yard run (kick failed)
VC: 8:41 – Brandon Alexander 32-yard pass from MacIntyre (Severson pass from MacIntyre on conversion)
VC: 6:13 – Severson 56-yard run (Kody Kroenig kick)
VC: 3:39 – Tyler Chaboya 14-yard pass from MacIntyre (Kroenig kick)
VC: 3:23 – Cody Campbell 27-yard fumble recovery (Kroenig kick)