Sacred Heart closes out first-ever state football championship

Big win over Northview-Covina marks the school’s 10th state championship overall

By Ethan Kassel

Special to The Examiner

The Sacred Heart Cathedral Fightin’ Irish were “big steppin’” one last time under the lights at Kezar Stadium this past weekend, dancing their way to the school’s first-ever state football championship.

The iconic dance celebration, invented by SHC alum Jordan Gomes (known in the rap world as “Stunnaman02”) was a constant theme in the postgame festivities following Saturday night’s 48-29 win over Northview-Covina to win the CIF Division 4-A Championship, the school’s 10th state championship overall, counting both individual and team sports.

Quarterback Ray-John Spears, who’s been synonymous with everything green and white since playing as a freshman on SHC’s CCS Championship basketball team, threw 22 times, completing 15 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those scores went to RL Miller, who had four receptions for 108 yards. Bruce Uperesa ran for an early 55-yard touchdown and caught four passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, including a 51-yarder from Spears early in the third. Jerry Mixon Jr., cousin of Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon, sealed the game with a pick six in the fourth quarter.

The jubilant scenes on the field following Saturday’s victory, with the support of a packed home crowd, were a stark contrast from where the Irish sat less than two months ago, when they fell to 2-6 after a loss to rival Riordan that was played before a sparse crowd in Daly City after rain made Kezar’s natural grass field unplayable. Six days later, SHC suffered a 36-7 loss to Serra on Senior Night to fall to 2-7. But the Fightin’ Irish rallied together to win six straight games, capturing a CCS Division III title before moving on to conquer the state.

The Irish weren’t the only San Francisco team to celebrate a state title on Saturday. Balboa won the CIF Division 7-A crown in convincing fashion, beating Taft-Woodland Hills 43-0 behind three Ben Norori touchdown passes.

Ethan Kassel is a freelance contributor to The Examiner

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