Sacred Heart Prep's Nic Collazo, shown above sacking the Branham quarterback in the season opener, is part of a Gators' defense that has allowed a total of 17 points this season.
There are teams who will take this week to rest, heal and regroup. But Woodside High School and Sacred Heart Prep aren’t two of those teams.
With the 2013 Peninsula Athletic League season two weeks away, the schedule has turned to a week when many teams are choosing to enjoy a bye before diving head first into the heart of the year.
But SHP and Woodside chose an alternative route in taking to the football field this Friday night in Redwood City to toss a little more oil on the machine before unleashing against their respective division opponents.
“Of course we want to win the game, because it helps us in terms of the playoffs, but you know it really come downs to, we want to do better in a lot of difference places,” said SHP head coach Pete Lavorato. “We want to get a little bit better on offense, a little bit on defense, a little on special teams. We stress working on the fundamentals. We just want to get better and play well so we can tell our league that we’re ready to go.”
With the way the PAL, in particular the Bay Division, is shaping up, every game serves as a much-needed tune up with every win (or loss) sending a message throughout the league.Woodside might not pose to much of a threat on paper, based on its 0-3 record, but the Wildcats should be fresh after their week off and still very hungry for that elusive first win.
After a 44-26 loss to Sequoia, it appears the bye came at the right time. After starting off strong against the Cherokees two weeks ago, the offense tired — rushing the Wildcats only tallied 32 yards.
On Friday against SHP, Woodside will look to try and throw the ball with similar efficiency than two weeks ago. On that night, quarterback Robert Wang completed 15 of 32 passes for 261 yards and a pair of touchdowns with Josh Holman being his main target. Holman finished with 112 yards and a touchdown on eight catches.
That’s easier said than done against the Gators.You see, Sacred Heart Prep is in a totally different boat than Woodside. The Gators are 4-0 and seem to be clicking on all cylinders. Last season, SHP’s bread and butter was its defense. And despite losing a lot of talent from one of the top defenses in the Central Coast Section, the Gators appear to be just as good. In four wins, SHP has two shutouts and has surrendered only 17 points.
“We have definitely lost a bunch of guys,” Lavorato said. “But you what know? All the young guys have really stepped up. Our defensive line in definitely veteran and we have young guys that are playing quite well. But is it a learning process.”
What’s a little more interesting about this year’s version of the Gators is their offense. They’ve found themselves an effective quarterback who can throw the football around a little bit. Mason Randall went 7 of 9 last week for 122 yards and a touchdown. As a team, SHP passed for 186 yards — a season high in a game against the King’s Academy. But as always, SHP controls clock by running the football and lets its defense do the work.
Last week against TKA was no exception. The Gators ran for 322 yards and five touchdowns. Eleven different Gators got at least one carry with four going for at least 47 yards. Ricky Grau was the leading rusher with 76 yards. But Andrew Segre has a great game as well. He rushed 70 and caught three passes for 60 more.
“It poses some problems for defenses,” Lavorato said of this new-found balance.
“We can throw the ball a little bit. Our offense hasn’t change. I’m not the type of coach that’s going to change his whole offense because of player personnel. It’s just not what we do. However, we can change, within our scheme, we can add certain things that will allow more balance because we can throw the ball downfield.”
The Daily Journal Game of the Week is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.