The San Mateo Fire Department provided the fireworks before Friday night’s homecoming game at Serra High School.
And the Padres brought the firepower during.
Even with Sacred Heart Cathredral getting on the board first following a 30-yard field goal with seven minutes and change left in the first quarter, there was zero doubt Serra (2-0 WCAL, 4-1 overall) would eventually come around to dominate. That field goal was aided by the two Padre fumbles on back-to-back punts by the Irish — the latter giving them the ball on the Serra 15-yard line.
But from there, it took two plays and 34 seconds for the Padres to respond — and the answer was loud and thunderous with Serra coming away with a 50-3 victory.
“These guys love football,” said Serra head coach Patrick Walsh. “All across the board. I really believe this team really enjoyed playing the game of football. They look at the opportunity to play the game with joy in their hearts and love for their brothers. I think you’ve seen that in the first five games we’ve played this year and hopefully we can keep up that pace.”
It’s quite the pace — Serra was up 34-3 at halftime and had already racked up 312 yards of total offense and he rest of the game was played under a running clock. And even then, the Padres managed big play after big play, adding two touchdowns and a safety to their final tally.
Serra took its initial lead on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Matt Fa’aita to reigning Daily Journal Athlete of the Week Kelepi Laitamua. The TD pass was Fa’aita’s first attempt since returning from an injury. It appears the injury did nothing to slow him down as the signal caller led the Serra offense with great effeciency.
The Padres added to the lead with 3:53 left in the first quarter following a seven-play drive that saw Kava Cassidy score from 10 yards out.
Then, it took Serra one offensive play from scrimmage to make it 20-3. This time, Fa’aita found Hamilton Anoa’i on a 61-yard pitch and catch with 1:35 left in the first.
“We have two good quarterbacks,” Walsh said referring to Fa’aita and Anthony Smock, who also saw action and was effective in his drives. “We have a luxury right now. You never know what is going to happen during a season. I was really happy with both their efforts.”
Walsh had to be pleased with his team’s defensive effort. For the second straight week, the Padres have held a West Catholic Athletic league offense to under 200 total yards. The Irish had 10 at the quarter, 67 for the half and 97 for the game.
“I think the coaching staff worked really hard all week to put these guys in the right positions,” Walsh said. “They have some good players on the other side, too. I think our guys did an awesome job especially early in the game when our punt return team was struggling.”
Serra would go on to add touchdowns by Kevin McGee (three days from his birthday), another by Cassidy and two more by Gabriel Cabezon.
“It’s always great to have losses within wins and there are some things we need to do better if we want to be a championship-caliber team,” Walsh said, referring to those two fumbles early in the game. “But I’m glad we got to learn those lessons during a win.”