Julio Lara/Daily Journal
After Sacred Heart Prep head football coach Pete Lavorato was done handing out praise following his team’s 34-7 win over No. 5 Monterey Saturday afternoon, he gave his players a very simple message: “We are where we want to be,” he said.
The Gators are where every team wants to be right about now, heading into a practice week with a chance at capturing back-to-back Central Coast Section championships when the weekend rolls around. The Gators return to the Division IV main stage next Saturday with an opportunity to defend their DIV title. And next Saturday at Independence High School against Pacific Grove marks the fourth time in six years SHP will play for a CCS championship.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Lavorato said when asked if a spot in the 2013 championship game was something he expected when the new season began. “You never know if the junior class is going to mature quickly enough. We have three sophomores that start. You just don’t know. As the year went on, I started thinking, you know what? This could be a darn good football team. And it is.”
It’s a football team that right now is playing at a very high level on both sides of the football. Against Monterey on Saturday, the Gators put up 482 yards of offense — 360 of which came via a physical rushing attack. Defensively, SHP held the Toreadores to just 126 yards and just one third-quarter touchdown. The domination extended past the stat sheet, actually — with several bone-jarring hits by the Gator defense.
“There was no denying them,” Lavorato said. “They just willed the victory. Both sides of the ball I thought played great. The defense was outstanding. Again, seven points to Monterey? They’re a good football team. Not only did we not let them score much, they hardly could move the ball on us. It was unbelievable. The game plan was fantastic. The kids did their jobs.”
It was a complete football clinic by the Gators from start to finish. After holding Monterey on its first drive, SHP went 82 yards on seven plays for its first score — a 3-yard touchdown run by Andrew Segre who posted a 124-yard performance on the afternoon.
Segre headlined a rushing attack that also featured Chris Lee, Ricky Grau, JR Hardy and a possessed Ben Burr-Kirven, who saw more time in the backfield on Saturday and racked up 110 yards and three touchdowns on for the game — his first made it 14-0 with 3:36 left in the half.
Up by two touchdowns at halftime, Burr-Kirven made it a three-score game with 66-yard run over the left side less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Hardy’s 4-yard run a a little more than five minutes after that put SHP up by four scores.
Monterey pulled a touchdown back with less than two minutes left to play in the third period. But fittingly, Burr-Kirven put the nail in the coffin with an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that capped a 14-play, 86-yard, 8-minute drive. It was one of the more impressive Burr-Kirven performances of the season. Not only did he run all over Monterey, he also flew all over the field from his linebacker position and racked up 13 tackles.
“I think it tells people that Sacred Heart Prep is for real,” Lavorato said. “I think that this kind of victory, against a good football team, tells everyone, hey, those guys can play.”
CCS OPEN DIVISION
SERRA 28, BELLARMINE 17
The Serra Padres overcame a 17-14 halftime deficit and shutout nemesis Bellarmine College Prep in the second half to advance to the CCS Open Division Championship game against Archbishop Mitty. The title game, to be played Friday night at San Jose City College, marks the first time the Padres have played in the Open Division’s championship game.
The win over the Bells served as a bit of revenge after Bellarmine knocked Serra out of the playoffs the last two seasons.
Touchdown runs in the second half by Kava Cassidy and Matt Fa’aita were the difference in the game.