CCS football playoffs: Gators impose their will to win back-to-back Div. IV titles [Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.]
(Palo Alto Daily News (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 10--SAN JOSE -- Andrew Segre will get you the tough yards. He will run over or drag defenders if forced to in order to gain a first down. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior at Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton will also flash a juke move to evade a would-be tackler.
The running back had a night to remember Saturday at Independence-San Jose during the Central Coast Section Div. IV football championship game against No. 7 Pacific Grove. Segre ran the ball 29 times for 354 yards, crossing the goal line six times to set school records as the top-seeded Gators claimed their second straight CCS trophy in a 56-21 demolition of the Breakers.
"At halftime, I didn't believe it," said Segre, who had 18 carries for 268 yards and four touchdowns at intermission. "This only happens to me in, like, video games and stuff. I didn't think this would ever happen."
SHP (12-1) didn't know it at the time, but it was selected Sunday to play in the CIF Northern California Div. III title game against El Cerrito (12-2) at De Anza High of Richmond on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
"For all I know, this could be my last high school game and I'm never going to forget this," Segre said.
"If we're done and we don't go on to state, I don't think there's any other way he would want to go out or our team would want to go out," said SHP linebacker Burr-Kirven, referring to Segre. "He's one of
the best players I think I've ever played with. And I truly believe he showed what he can do today."
Burr-Kirven had a special night himself with an interception in the first half, a 24-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the third quarter and a perfectly timed blitz for one of the team's seven sacks -- three of which belonged to lineman Nic Collazo.
"We want to physically impose ourselves on people," said Burr-Kirven, who spends most of his time at middle linebacker. "We're not big guys, but we believe we should always go out and hit anybody that plays with us."
"He's the best high school player I've ever seen, ever coached, for sure," Lavorato said of the 6-1, 200 junior. "He's special and everybody should know that. I hope colleges get it."
The Gators dominated the line of scrimmage from the opening kickoff. On his fourth carry, Segre found a seam up the middle and sprinted 57 yards to the end zone.
The guys opening gaping holes for Segre to plow through were left tackle Justin Harmon, left guard Wyatt Welch, center Thomas Rogers, right guard Alex Castro, right tackle Patrick Finnigan and tight end Andrew Daschbach.
"There were big holes every time and I made the right cuts, I guess," said Segre, who added touchdowns of 49, 15 and 17 yards in the first half, to go along with a two-point conversion.
"He really ran hard today," Lavorato said. "I don't know what else to say. He's a hell of a running back."
Pacific Grove (11-2) cut the deficit to 28-14 at halftime with a 30-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the second quarter. SHP defensive back Noah Kawasaki made a crushing hit on the wide receiver at the goal line, making a statement that nothing was going to come easy.
As the Gators headed to the locker room at the half, Lavorato stopped the team to tell them the scoreboard didn't indicate how much SHP had imposed its will in the first half.
"I told them, 'My heart is just overwhelmed,' " he said.
Coming into the CCS championship, Segre led the Gators with 987 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns -- 13 on the ground. Teammate Ricky Grau was right behind him with 955 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
But Grau was wearing a cast on his left hand and limited to playing on defense. Matt Odell was inserted as the fullback. The bulk of the work went to Segre as SHP didn't attempt a throw until Mason Randall completed a 39-yard completion to Daschbach on the first play of the fourth quarter.
"We feel like we can run the ball on anybody, but we certainly wanted to keep the ball away from them," Lavorato said. "We were very concerned about their offense."
After the completion to Daschbach, Segre scored his fifth touchdown on a 10-yard run right to make it 42-21 with 11:23 left.
Two plays later, SHP linebacker Andrew Robinson intercepted a pass and weaved his way 57 yards to the end zone.
"We always joke with him about not being able to catch the ball in games," Burr-Kirven said. "But he finally caught one and took it to the house. He knew what to do with it when he go it. That was awesome."
Attempting to run out the clock, the Gators handed it off to Segre one last time for a 34-yard touchdown run up the middle in which he shed a couple of arm tackles. Linebacker JR Hardy put the finishing touch on back-to-back titles with an interception at the goal line on the last play.
"You'd like to have kind of a tradition happening," Lavorato said. "When I came here 11 years ago I always said I wanted two things: I wanted to be respected on the field and off the field. ... And I feel like we're getting there."
Email Vytas Mazeika at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him at Twitter.com/dailynewsvytas.
CCS Div. IV championship at Independence-San Jose
Pacific Grove 13 15 7 21 -- 56
Sacred Heart Prep 0 14 7 0 -- 21
SHP -- Segre 57 run (Tinsley kick), 7:34
SHP -- Segre 49 run (kick failed), 3:26
SHP -- Segre 15 run (Segre run), 10:47
PG -- Compton 7 pass from Lowell (pass failed), 6:21
SHP -- Segre 17 run (Tinsley kick), 2:26
PG -- Speed 30 pass from Lowell (Lowell run), :00
SHP -- Burr-Kirven 24 run (Tinsley kick), 8:43
PG -- Chesney 1 pass from Lowell (Brown kick), 2:02
SHP -- Segre 10 run (Tinsley kick), 11:23
SHP -- Robinson 57 interception return (Tinsley kick), 10:39
SHP -- Segre 32 run (Tinsley kick), 3:53
RUSHING--Pacific Grove, Leach 15-87, Speed 9-64, Selbicky 4-9, No. 84 1-1, Lowell 11-(-17). Sacred Heart Prep, Segre 29-354, Odell 2-34, Burr-Kirven 3-30, Lee 4-12, Randall 2-9.
PASSING--Pacific Grove, Lowell 14-23-3 144. Sacred Heart Prep, Randall 2-3-1 44.
RECEIVING--Pacific Grove, Speed 7-105, Chesney 4-19, Compton 2-20, Leach 1-0. Sacred Heart Prep, Daschbach 1-39, Martella 1-5.
(c)2013 the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.)
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