Senior running back Ben Burr-Kirven led a sturdy defense and ran for 196 yards to lead the Sacred Heart Prep football team to a 37-13 Central Coast Section Open Division first-round playoff victory over Oak Grove on Saturday in Atherton.
The first-seeded Gators improved their perfect record to 11-0 while the No. 8 Eagles dropped to 7-4 and into the consolation bracket.
Sacred Heart now advances to the semifinals and is set to take on fifth-seeded Los Gatos, a 28-0 winner over No. 4 Serra on Saturday.
"11-0 is nice but more importantly we won our first Open CCS game," said Lavorato. "Oak Grove is a power house and a very respected program. I didn't think this was going to happen. I thought it was going to be a battle right down to the end, but our defense dug in and our offense was moving the ball."
"It's definitely exciting," said Burr-Kirven, who was in on 14 tackles. "We've never won an Open game so it's great to come out and not only win, but dominate. We've got a lot of work to do, we can't soak it in too much, you have to look into next week against Gatos."
On the Gators' first play in the second quarter, Burr-Kirven plowed his way through the line then ran down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown, setting the tone for the offense and giving the Gators a 21-0 lead.
"We'd been running that play all game and getting stuffed a little bit," said Burr-Kirven. "I just cut it back a little earlier than I would and the backside tackle got the safety and then it was just off to the races."
In the first quarter, junior quarterback Mason Randall found an open Riley Tinsley for a five-yard touchdown and the Gators took a 14-0 early lead. Randall went 10 for 14 with 131 passing yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles got on the board in the second quarter when quarterback Darrell Fontenette connected with Jose Mejia Jr. for a 29-yard touchdown. The wide receiver caught the ball while his back was on the ground and Oak Grove trimmed the lead to 21-7.
Sacred Heart started to open up the lead in the second quarter when Randall hooked up with junior Nick O'Donnell for a 32-yard touchdown and gave the Gators the 28-7 led going into halftime. The Gators' offense totaled 296 yards, while the defense gave up just 76 yards in the half.
Senior kicker Derek Chou nailed a 40-yard field goal to give Sacred Heart a 31-7 advantage in the third quarter. It was Chou's first field goal of the season.
In the fourth quarter senior running back Matt Odell clawed his way in for a 2-yard touchdown giving the Gators a dominate 37-7 lead to start off the quarter. Sacred Heart rushed for 321 total yards including three touchdowns.
"Thomas Rogers and Wyatt Welch were holding it down and I feel confident running behind them and I know the hole is going to be there," said Tinsley. "The O-line was lights out today."
The Gators' defense was also lights out all game long. It gave up only 105 total yards on 33 carries for an average of just 3.18 yards per carry and no rushing touchdowns. SHP had a total of six tackles for loss and a sack for a minus-30 yards.
Next up is Los Gatos (9-2) next Saturday at Independence High at San Jose at 7 p.m. On Friday at the same school and time, No. 6 Valley Christian (9-2) will take on No. 6 Bellarmine (9-2) in the other semifinal.
"We're going to have to really prepare well they are an excellent football team," said Lavorato. "We've seen them a couple times so we're going to have to do everything we can to be prepared 100 percent."