SHP heads to NorCal playoffs after winning CCS title | News | Palo Alto Online |


SHP heads to NorCal playoffs after winning CCS title


Andrew Daschbach caught a 33-yard flea-flicker pass from fellow senior Mason Randall following a double-reverse with just 40 seconds left in the game to lift Sacred Heart Prep to a thrilling 35-28 football victory over Riordan in the Central Coast Section Open Division III championship game on Saturday night at Westmont High in Campbell.

The No. 6-seeded Gators (10-3), who won their fourth straight CCS title and fifth in the past six years, will face McClymonds (12-0) in the Division III-A regional bowl game on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Independence High in San Jose at 7:30 p.m.

The South regional game pits Rancho Bernardo (11-2) against Oak Hills (9-5). The SoCal regional winner will host the division state championship game the following weekend.

SHP's next game will have to be special to top the win over Riordan.

"I've played in a lot of sporting events over the years," said Daschbach, a three-sport standout. "But, that one probably is at the top, considering the stage it was on -- for a CCS championship. I can't think of a more exciting game, one that went back and forth like that."

Sacred Heart Prep held what seemed to be a safe 28-14 lead when junior Isoa Moimoi scored on a one-yard run with 11:56 left in the game.

The No. 5-seeded Crusaders (9-4), however, rallied behind a 65-yard punt return for a TD by Aidan Verba-Hamilton with 5:51 left to play and then Jason Greene scored from 19 yards out and added a two-point conversion to tie the game at 28 with 2:42 left to play.

That set up the winning heroics by Randall and Daschbach, followed by an interception by SHP defensive back James Kirkham to seal the victory after Riordan had marched to inside the Gators' 40 with only seconds remaining.

"I'm was extremely happy that game didn't go overtime," said Daschbach. "A lot of our guys were running out of gas."

The Gators, who suffered a 48-21 loss to Riordan in the second game of the season, grabbed 7-0 lead on a one-yard run by senior Lapitu Mahoni. He added a two-yard TD run in the second period for a 14-0 lead. Riordan got a 45-yard interception return for a TD just before halftime to make it a 14-7 game.

With 2:26 left in the third quarter, Daschbach caught a four-yard TD pass from Randall as the Gators moved ahead by 18-14. Greene, however, ripped off an 81-yard touchdown run for a 21-14 game with 2:02 left in the period.

Moimoi led the Gators' dominating run game with 142 yards on 24 carries with one TD. Mahoni added 118 yards on 26 carries with two scores. Randall completed 10 of 14 for 162 yards and two touchdowns, both to Daschbach, who caught five passes for 98 yards and intercepted a pass on Riordan's first series while playing both ways. He also had a pair of sacks from his linebacker's position.

Daschbach had eight solo tackles and David Peterson finished with 10, eight solo.

Speaking of linebackers, former SHP two-way standout Ben Burr-Kirven was on the sideline during the game. Kirven is a freshman linebacker at the University of Washington.

The Gators head into next weekend's NorCal game having won nine of their past 10 games following a 1-2 start to the season.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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11 people like this
Posted by SHP Dad
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 6, 2015 at 9:50 am

True testament to SHP coaching. Wow

8 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Have you seen the SHP campus? Gated, red brick, manicured landscaping, feels like an East Coast prep school. Private schools can recruit the best players and coaches, and parents have money for private coaching so they have an upper hand. Yeah, just a bit envious. Congrats, SHP!

14 people like this
Posted by Parent2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2015 at 8:07 pm

In response to Parent,
I can assure you there is 0 recruiting being done for this SHP Football program. Great schools draw in great kids and some just so happen to be great athletes. Additionally there is no "private coaching" to be done in football. No kids are getting any sort of advantage to the kids at any other school. There is no upper hand. The Gators are an underdog and battle like that. But, keep telling yourself all these things to help make yourself feel better

12 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm


I've seen the SHP campus. It's beautiful. Red brick? Yes! Manicured landscaping? Yes! Feels like an east coast prep school? Never been to one. I have been to a couple of other private schools in the local area though. Menlo has an outstanding campus. Crystal Springs Uplands is exceptional too. But the one I want to talk about here is Bellarmine. An outstanding private boys school in San Jose with an enrollment of approximately 1,600 boys. Using your argument they most definitely could recruit the best players and coaches and their parents could afford private coaching too. Sacred Heart Prep has 300 boys enrolled. Why not just give them props for competing, and winning, against the best competition around? Including a victory against Bellarmine in last years CCS football open division final.

SHP has no 'upper hand'. They are just a tight knit community that does things the right way and their athletes compete. No more, no less.

8 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2015 at 10:19 am

At Sacred Heart, as with other private schools, there is private coaching and recruiting of athletes. Also, some choose private schools specifically for the athletics so they often live outside the city. In addition, families have the means to pay for lessons in strength training, etcetera to improve their game. Athletes from public schools do this too, but less, due to less wealth.

There is also less academic rigor at some private schools. There is a reason Palo Altans choose private schools when the district has good public schools.

Sometimes, all that is needed for a successful sports team is a few outstanding players, as we have seen with both private and public schools.

10 people like this
Posted by Publix
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2015 at 11:40 am

Ahhh the private vs public banter continues. D3 had 4 private schools in an 8 team pool, 4 private schools in the SEMIs and so of course 2 privates in the FINAL. Say what you want, but Privates do have an advantage in "attracting" or "recruiting" or whatever you want to call it. Parents (boosters) go to pop warner/youth football games and pick off the top 4-5 players at least. Why? Because coaches can't (I'm sure some do anyway). The private have very successful football camps for a reason (coaches can be there)!!!. Believe what you want but its no accident WCAL is tough year in year out. Its not that they work any harder. They have more players, more coaches, better facilities. You're telling yourself lies if you think its an even playing field.

Check out the other divisions this year.. An athletic Oak Grove team got by St Francis (which happens now and again) and Bells handled a Milpitas team that is much like an Oak Grove. There are VERY few public programs left that can compete on an UNEVEN playing field. SHP had no advantage over Riordan in that they are both private schools!

But, there is an unfair advantage just because Privates schools DO NOT have any boundaries to deal with...that is the truth!!!

5 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm


You claim the privates are able to "attract" or "recruit". That they are picking off the top 4 or 5 players from Pop Warner, ( at least ), and that they have more players, more coaches, and better facilities. If all that were true then the privates would NEVER lose to the public schools. In any sport.

Using SHP and Football, since that's what started these comments, here are the roster numbers for SHP and for the SHP opponents this year. All data was taken from

SHP 46

Menlo Atherton 46
Sequoia 41
Woodside 38
Terra Nova 44
Burlingame 56
Leland 38
Carmel 46
Aragon 40
Live Oak 45
McClymonds 48

Nothing out of the ordinary in those numbers. Maybe it's Burlingame that's recruiting?

At the end of the day the private/public banter will never end. Public schools, for the most part, have far greater populations of students but the number that choose to participate in athletics is much lower. According to Wikipedia SHP has an enrollment of 615 while Menlo Atherton has an enrollment of 2,158. Assuming a 50/50 male to female ratio SHP has about 308 boys and Menlo Atheron has about 1,079. Yet they both have an identical football roster of 46. If Menlo Atherton had the same participation rate as SHP they would field an unbeatable football team of 161 players. I don't think it's about boundaries at all. I think the participation rate is the most significant difference between the two.

5 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2015 at 3:32 pm

My family = public schools. That being said, the public vs. private school debate of an uneven playing field...

My suggestion is you look up the CCS football championship history and review how many private schools have won championships vs. how many public schools have won championships. Hint: it is heavily lopsided towards...*not* WCAL/private.

Only 3 teams from CCS have made the state championship game (started in 2006): Bellarmine (2009, 2011), Palo Alto (2006, 2010) and SHP (2013). Palo Alto (a public school) is the only CCS team to win a state football championship (Div. I 2010).

2 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Great points Crescent Park Dad

Here is a link to the CCS Football Championship History that you mention in your post.

Web Link

10 people like this
Posted by SHP Alum
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

If you knew anything about SHP Football, (which it appears few of you do), you would know that the incoming freshman class each year averages 2-3 players who previously had played tackle football. The first 3 days of practice every year are solely spent teaching the kids how to tackle because most of them never have before. There is no recruiting, just kids who want a good education along with parents who want a good education for their children. The reason for their success is the players' willingness to learn from the coaches (who just happen to be some of the best and smartest in the entire state) and their ability to work hard in order to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish. [Portion removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm

SHP Football Roster
-4 of 46 players on varsity roster had ever played Pop warner before attending SHP
-5 of 46 players are 6'3 or taller
-37 of 46 players weigh less then 200 pounds
-Over 70% of players on roster attended Sacred Heart Middle school

Look at those stats and tell me if "Parents (boosters) go to pop warner/youth football games and pick off the top 4-5 players at least." You can keep making excuses about SHP "recruiting" or "having an unfair advantage" but they are all false. The fact of the matter is they just know how to win.

Like this comment
Posted by Photo Guy
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2015 at 2:56 am

I didn't know that, Most rosters have been updated to have more players recently a some have pulled up from JV teams at the end of JV season. SHP has about 300 boys McClymonds has about 150 boys with a total enrollment of 256 a D5 enrollment. Mack was pulled up because the CIF says the play up to the competition level.. Should be a good small school game in San Jose this weekend.

2 people like this
Posted by Publix
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2015 at 8:17 am

Yeah you guys can spin all the stats you want but the fact is there is an advantage. Maxpreps reported yesterday that NJ is moving to separating private and public schools in competition for football (regular season too). Hmmm? And I'm not saying SHP goes to pop warner games but I know firsthand of another WCAL school that does. And the stats comparison of heights and weights is laughable. So you're saying you HAVE 5 guys 6'3" and over and 9 guys over 200 lbs (yes they are called LINEMAN). The comparison of number of championships is also absurd because the number of privates is far less than the number of public schools. And the most CCS titles are still held by St Francis. And look at Palo Alto now.

4 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:22 am


In the max preps article you reference it says that New Jersey voted to separate public and privates and also states that Texas is already doing this. The fact that 48 states out of 50 still have publics and privates competing against each other is somehow less important than the 2 states out of 50 that don't?

Further, you said "And I'm not saying SHP goes to pop warner games but I know firsthand of another WCAL school that does". Taking you at your word that would mean that you have no knowledge of the other 7 WCAL teams doing that. 1 out of 8 is a better ratio than 2 out of 50 but still pretty thin.

Who is the one spinning stats here?

Oh, and by the way, SHP is not a WCAL school in football.

2 people like this
Posted by Publix
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:28 am

I'm not spinning anything. Perhaps I should have said "at least" one that I know of...also you don't discredit me just because you think I don't know SHP is not a WCAL school. I know they are not...

After all "I didn't know that" perfectly describes you and others that feel privates have a level playing field. You don't know...

4 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2015 at 9:44 am


Most, like myself, are presenting facts to support our arguments.

Some, like you, are only offering opinions.

If you have facts that support your argument please present them. How about posting a weblink supporting your quote that "the most CCS titles are still held by Saint Francis"? That would be a good start.

2 people like this
Posted by Publix
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

I didn't know that:

Oh that's awesome. I already addressed the so called facts that "support" your arguments. Either way, I am entitled to my opinions and it is the opinions of many others that support public schools. If you follow your own weblink and look at SF you will see the 77-20-1 record in the playoffs. Like I said earlier, believe what you want.

If Private schools want to be transparent lets take a look at how many football players are receiving partial or full "financial aide" and compare that to their participation in football. Further, I would be willing to bet there individual contributions to the team directly correlate to the amount of AIDE they receive. I am sure their are exceptions and you'll probably bring them up if you know SHP or private programs well.

What you'll also be surprised about is that I fully support the accomplishments of SHP and their football program. They have come a long way to build a respected program since its inception. Pete Lavarato is an excellent coach and mentor and does get those guys playing to their potential and beyond. I guess we can agree on that...

GO CCS teams in STATE!

3 people like this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm


Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. And your opinions are just as valid as mine. There are group of people that agree with you and a group of people that agree with me. It's all good.

I went back to my weblink and reviewed the records. You had stated that "The most CCS Titles are still held by Saint Francis" and I still can't see where you get that data. From the CCS site they show St. Francis winning 15 CCS Championships. Those were in 1977, 79, 82, 83, 84, 89, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98, 02, and 2012. If 77-20-1 is the overall record of the Saint Francis football team across every tournament listed that's one thing. But it's a far cry from them having the most CCS Titles. If you do have something to support the 'most CCS Titles' claim I would love to see it.

As to the financial aid that is granted I have no idea what happens at SHP or any of the other Privates. I don't think that data is public and I don't think there is a requirement to make it so.

Finally, I completely agree with your sentiments about Pete Lavarato and the SHP program. They built it from scratch and have done a remarkable job.

5 people like this
Posted by Person of Atherton
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

SHP Alum hit the nail right on the head. The kids at Sacred Heart have an unbelievable work ethic in the classroom and on the field.

If I had kids, which may happen very soon, I would send them to SHP, Menlo, or Menlo Atherton for educational purposes, not for athletics. All the athletes at SHP are there for the betterment of their education, not to play sports. It just so happened that around 13 years ago, SHP's Athletic director happened to stumble upon two of the most talented head coaches I believe to ever coach high school football. They just got lucky in hiring a coach that had just moved to America from Canada.
If you looked at Sacred Heart Prep's schedule this year, they actually lost to a public school, Menlo Atherton. In the PAL Bay, the best division in the PAL, five out of the six teams are public school teams. There was a three-way tie for first place in the PAL Bay among SHP, MA, and Burlingame. The other two teams are public school!

The argument that private schools are superior to public school is a hoax in my opinion.

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