The Sacred Heart Prep football team finished its regular season in historic fashion on Friday night. Senior Ben Burr-Kirven accounted for five touchdowns to lead the Gators to a 35-14 victory over Menlo School in the Valparaiso Bowl at Woodside High School.
The Gators finished their regular season in perfect fashion, going 5-0 (10-0 overall) for the first time ever while the Knights most likely ended their year at 1-4 (4-6 overall). For Sacred Heart Prep, it was their third straight win over Menlo in the Valpo Bowl.
"It's excellent," said SHP head coach Pete Lavorato. "The combination of going 10-0, outright Bay champions, and beating Menlo -- doesn't get much better than that."
It certainly has been a year of firsts for the Gators, who also will play in the Open Division of the Central Coast Section playoffs for the first time ever.
After a surprising 7-7 deadlock at halftime, Sacred Heart started to gain momentum in the third quarter when Burr-Kirven ran for a 39-yard touchdown giving the Gators the 21-7 edge.
"He's a great athlete and he can make a ton of plays," said junior quarterback Mason Randall, who has 1,639 passing yards this season after throwing for 176 on Friday. "Really a lot of it is the offensive line; they made a lot of blocks and did a lot of work tonight."
The Menlo offense looked solid on its first drive of the game as junior running back Charlie Roth jumped over the line for a 1-yard touchdown making it a quick 7-0 lead for the Knights.
It only took Sacred Heart three plays to respond to Menlo's touchdown. Randall connected with Burr-Kirven and the senior took off down the sideline and went 73 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 7 in the first.
The first half was slow for both teams as they each put up just one score each n two quarters. The Gators only had the ball for 4:46 and rushed for just 17 yards.
"We couldn't get the ball," said Lavorato. "We couldn't get them off the field in the first half. Menlo did a great job controlling the ball. A little bit of run, a little bit of pass."
Roth had a solid game with 170 rushing and receiving yards combined.
Burr-Kirven scored his fourth touchdown of the night when he plowed his way in for a 5-yard touchdown, giving his team the 28-7 lead late into the third quarter.
The senior running back did it again in the fourth quarter and made it a 35-7 lead for the Gators when he juked out defenders for a 4-yard touchdown, his fifth of the game.
The Knights scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter when senior Austin D'Ambra found Michael Reed in the end zone and made it a 35-14 lead. Menlo tried for an onsides kick but it failed and the Gators took possession and the game. D'Ambra finished with 267 passing yards on 21-of-46 passing.
The Gators now await their seed for the section playoffs, which will provide their toughest test of the season.
"We're extremely confident," said Burr-Kirven, who also was in on 14 tackles, 11 of them solo. He also returned an interception 74 yards. "Obviously we're not a big school but we come out and play football. We kept on grinding this year -- we can't be anything but confident going into next week."
Menlo-Atherton 23, Woodside 20
Sophomore Jordan Mims carried 16 times for 123 yards and junior quarterback Robby Beardsley threw for 155 yards to pace host Menlo-Atherton past rival Woodside to wrap up the 2014 regular season on Friday night.
The Bears, who finished 1-4 in the PAL Bay Division and 3-7 overall, had 401 yards of total offense as sophomore running back Stavro Papadakis added 96 rushing yards on 14 carries with two touchdown runs and Chase DelRosse caught four passes for 54 yards, including a touchdown. Sophomore Christian Wiseman and junior Bryce Rodgers led the defensive effort with 10 tackles each.
Saratoga 41, Palo Alto 33
Quarterback Oliver Svirsky threw three touchdown passes for Palo Alto and Jon Martinez scored on two touchdown runs and rushed for a career-high 212 yards, but it still wasn't enough as the Vikings ended their season with a thudding loss to host Saratoga in SCVAL De Anza Division action Friday night.
The Vikings finished 2-4 in league and 3-7 overall, missing the postseason playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Svirsky hooked up with fellow junior Riley Schoeben for two scores, the first covering 77 yards and giving the Vikings a 21-14 lead in the third quarter. The Falcons (3-3, 5-5), however, scored three unanswered touchdowns before Schoeben caught a 29-yard TD pass to make it a 34-27 game.