Sacred Heart Prep won two football games during the regular season, sneaking into the Central Coast Section playoffs as the fourth-place team out of the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division.
Many observers wondered why the eighth-seeded Gators even bothered to show up for Saturday's Division V game at top-seeded and undefeated Carmel.
Sacred Heart Prep answered rather emphatically, beating the Padres, 46-26, and setting up a semifinal match at Half Moon Bay on Friday night (7 p.m.).
“For those that didn’t think we belonged in the playoffs, I would say look at who we played,” Sacred Heart Prep coach Pete Lavorato told the Monterey Herald. “We lost some tough games this season.”
The Gators (3-8) ended their regular season with a loss to Menlo School (10-1), which shared the PAL Ocean Division title with the Cougars (9-2). The Knights travel to Seaside (10-1) for a Division V game at 7 p.m. Friday.
That's right. There are three PAL teams of the four remaining in Division V. Lavorato has a point.
Sacred Heart Prep's luck changed when a healthy Isoa Moimoi returned to the lineup and beefed up a backfield that suddenly became even more productive.
Brad Yaffe's move to quarterback solidified things offensively and improved the defense at the same time, as Thomas Wine was able to concentrate on playing in the secondary while adding depth to the offense.
Moimoi rushed for 150 of SHP's 252 yards on the ground and scored twice. Tommy Barnds added another 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Yaffe threw for 159 yards on 9 of 12 passing and a pair of touchdowns, one of 72 yards to Michael Mooring and another of 15 yards to Alex Harper.
The Gators took an 18-14 lead into halftime and then exploded with a 28-point third quarter.
Garrett Gavello recorded a pair of sacks among his 13 tackles and Brendan Semien had a sack among his 12 tackles. Josh Suzuki added 10 tackles and David Peterson had nine.
Sacred Heart Prep continues to show it is dangerous once it gets into the playoffs. The game at Half Moon Bay will match two physical, run-first teams. Just don't bet against the Gators.