On a Saturday afternoon in Atherton, it felt like Ben Burr-Kirven was omnipresent.
Offensively, he was barreling over Monterey defenders while carrying the football for the Sacred Heart Prep Gators. Or if he wasn’t racking up over a hundred yards with the rock, he was springing one of his backfield mates for another back-breaking run.
And speaking of breaking, on defense, there was no one on that SHP football field the Toreadores feared more than Burr-Kirven. Midway through the third quarter, it almost became a bit comical to hear the SHP public address announcer tell everyone in attendance that, yes, once again, it was Burr-Kirven on another tackle.
Burr-Kirven made plays on specials teams and heck, if there were plays to be made on the sideline or the SHP campus parking lot, he would have made those as well.
On Saturday afternoon, with a trip to the Central Coast Section Division IV final on the line, Burr-Kirven played head and shoulders above everyone else on the SHP football field. Offensively, with an early injury to starter Ricky Grau, he came in and carried the ball eight times for 112 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, Burr-Kirven’s presence was felt to the tune of 17 tackles — several of the bone-jarring kind.
With his leading the charge, the Gators picked up a 34-7 victory that sends them to the CCS Division IV title game for the fourth time in six years with an opportunity to make it back-to-back championships.
For his efforts, Burr-Kirven is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“I think Ben Burr-Kirven is a special kid,” said SHP head coach Pete Lavorato. “He’s the best high school football player I have ever coached and I’m going to tell you right now, he’s the best high school football player I have ever seen.”
Burr-Kirven demonstrated his all-around talent on Saturday. He burst onto the scene last season as a sophomore starting safety on one of the best defenses in the section. This year, he’s catapulted himself into superstar status as the centerpiece of a defense that is younger, but maybe just as good as last year’s. They’ll need every bit of his prowess on Saturday when the Gators take on Pacific Grove, a team fresh off a 77-point performance in the semifinals.
SHP might need him offensively as well. The Gators have plenty of weapons, as proven by their 482-yard performance on Saturday against Monterey. But Burr-Kirven brings an extra bit of physicality that has come to exemplify the Gators as a whole. With an offense like Pacific Grove’s, ball control might be the key to the game if SHP is to repeat as champions.
“Bottom line, he’s one heck of a football player,” Lavorato said. “He’s fast, he’s smart and he’s a great kid. You know what? Ben Burr-Kirven works harder than anyone else on our team. He never takes anything for granted.”
San Mateo County fans should not take Burr-Kirven’s play for granted either.