Sports

Sacred Heart Prep looking to get its offense in rhythm

 

One of the biggest surprises, two weeks into the prep football season, is how few points Sacred Heart Prep has scored.

The Gators are off to a 0-2 start with losses to San Benito (32-10) and Archbishop Riordan (19-3).

The absence of Isoa Moimoi has certainly been a contributing factor. Moimoi, with 1,108 yards rushing as a junior, was the top offensive performer returning from last year's 11-4 team that played for a state championship. He still hasn't played this year due to a hamstring injury.

SHP coach Pete Lavorato said it was uncertain whether Moimoi would play Friday against Palma.

"He's day to day,'' Lavorato said.

Last year it was SHP's defense that was a puzzle at the start of the season. The Gators allowed 134 points over a three-week span while getting off to a 2-2 start. But as the season progressed the defense came together and the team went on its run to a Central Coast Section Open Division III championship and berth in the state finals.

"We're inexperienced and we've been playing some pretty good football teams,'' Lavorato said. "We're young on offense, but that's OK. That's high school football. We'll be OK. These games are important, but not as important as our league games and getting into the playoffs.''

Palo Alto had a nice win at home over Patterson to start the season, but ran into some adversity, much of it self-inflicted, in a 42-14 loss in Hollister to San Benito.

"Our defense played very well, but we can't hand away points like we did,'' Paly coach Danny Sullivan said. "We gave up a kick return for a touchdown. Three plays later we fumbled it away. Then we threw a pick and they scored. To cap it off in the third quarter we threw a pick-six. If we don't hand away those points it's a completely different game.''

The Vikings are back at home this week to take on West Catholic Athletic League heavyweight Archbishop Mitty.

"Our level of focus needs to deepen,'' Sullivan said. "We weren't ready for some things San Benito presented. We will be ready this week. Mitty runs the spread, will try to get you in space. That's something we absolutely can defend.''

Another surprise team in the early going is Hillsdale, which knocked off Riordan, 21-12, in its opener and followed up with a 47-31 win over Sequoia.

"It was great for our program to get a win over a WCAL school,'' Hillsdale coach Mike Parodi said. "I can't imagine when that happened last.''

And the Knights have gone 2-0 with a different quarterback in each game. Ben Frame started the opener and threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremy Teteak took over against Sequoia and threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

Frame is expected to be back Friday against Woodside.

The Wildcats are also 2-0, but with wins over Capuchino and Carlmont, a pair of Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division teams.

"Our first two games were against lower-division teams, but the intensity they brought allowed us to fine-tune a lot of things we do,'' Woodside coach Justin Andrews said. "Hillsdale brings a big challenge, one we're looking forward to.''

Woodside has one of the more exciting players in the area in 5-foot-5, 148-pound scatback Marcelous Chester-Riley. He has 255 yards rushing and five touchdowns over the first two games.

"That kid is dynamite,'' Parodi said of Chester-Riley. "He does some stuff you can't coach and you can't coach against. He's not only quick, he's fast.''

Woodside so far has been without 235-pound fullback Sione Halaapiapi, who last year formed a nice inside-outside combination duo with Chester-Riley. He is expected back later in the season after undergoing ACL surgery.

"Even at 60 percent he will help us, but no one is rushing him,'' Andrews said.

Menlo School is another team off to a 2-0 start. The Knights have wins over Lincoln and Mission of San Francisco and play at Harker on Friday night. The following week they play Carlmont, a PAL Lake team, prior to PAL Ocean play beginning.

It's a pretty light schedule, but there's a reason behind it.

"We have nine seniors and most of the team is young,'' Menlo coach Mark Newton said. "That's why I scheduled that way.''

Menlo has dominated its first two games without having to resort much to the pass as Charlie Ferguson has rushed for 466 yards.

"He's an amazing player, a special player,'' Newton said. "He's a very quick slasher, but also a tough downhill runner.''

Harker dropped football back in 2013, but has come back strong since then competing in the North Coast Section's Bay Football League. This year the Eagles are 1-1 with a win over Yerba Buena and a loss to Prospect.

Menlo-Atherton and Gunn are both looking for first wins. M-A, which has played very competitively in losses to powerhouse programs Bellarmine and Marin Catholic, will play Sacred Heart Cathedral (1-1) on Friday night at Kezar Stadium. Gunn will have an opportunity for its first win in a Saturday 2 p.m. game at Harbor, a team that like Gunn went 0-10 in 2015.

Bears' Jordan Mims ran for 100 yards on 18 carries against Marin Catholic and had another 78-yard run called back due to a penalty.

"We should have won the game for the second week in a row," M-A coach Adhir Ravipati said. "Marin Catholic is a first-class program and has had years of experience. Turnovers killed us. Defensively, same thing as last week. Sometimes, our guys' eyes are in the wrong place and they give up the big play."

Etienne Daddi ran for 125 yards in Gunn's loss and DJ Barnes caught a touchdown pass from Edmond Wu.

"I'm confident in our team, our coaches and our program," said Barnes. "We'll keep practicing and get better. We'll win."

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