Serra has not defeated Bellarmine in more than three years, but Friday’s matchup could help the Padres claim their first West Catholic Athletic League title since 2008.
“I want these kids to have fun,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. “It’s not every year you get to play for a league title, but don’t get lost in it. The kids have done a great job.”
The Padres (6-1, 3-1 West Catholic Athletic League) are off to their best start since the 2006 season and bounced back last week following their first loss with a 35-10 win at Riordan.
“It’s a very special moment,” Walsh said of playing for a league title. “It would be something they would remember the rest of their lives.”
But the Bells stand in the way of Walsh’s preseason goal of winning a WCAL title.
Bellarmine (6-1, 4-0 WCAL) has won six straight games and has not lost since its season opener against national powerhouse De La Salle.
The Bells have only allowed more than 10 points twice this season, including last week’s 28-19 victory against Archbishop Mitty.
“There’s a reason [they are] who they are this year,” Walsh said. “We have to play crisp, focused football to be in a position to win this game.”
One thing going for Serra is the rarity of WCAL undefeated seasons.
The last no-tie, perfect regular season was Valley Christian in 2005.
“It’s hard to go undefeated in this league,” Walsh said.
Bellarmine’s high-powered offense is highlighted by the senior tandem of running back Tim Crawley and quarterback Travis McHugh.
McHugh is responsible for more than 900 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns.
Crawley has rushed for nearly 700 yards with nine touchdowns.
“They’re a solid team, stout up front,” Walsh said.
Serra has played four of the past five away from home and its only loss in that time was its one home game against Mitty on Oct. 14.
“Obviously with that sort of stretch, we’ve felt comfortable on the road,” Walsh said. “We definitely want this season to snowball.”
University of Colorado-bound senior running back Erich Wilson has rushed for more than 1,100 yards on the year and has totaled more than 175 yards five times.
Junior Eric Redwood has rushed for more than 700 yards, but will be a game-time decision after spraining his ankle during the first drive of Serra’s game against Mitty. QB Joey Erdie has been a solid counter to the running game.
The Padres have two games remaining after Friday’s matchup, and are in line to make their sixth straight appearance in the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Serra has reached the semifinals three times in its past five playoff appearances, but has not won a CCS title since 1990.
Bellarmine (6-1, 4-0) vs. Serra (6-1, 3-1)
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Serra High School
LAST WEEK: Serra beat Riordan 35-10; Bellarmine beat Mitty 28-19
LAST YEAR: Bellarmine beat Serra 30-22