Sacred Heart Cathedral boys' soccer team unable to climb out of early hole against St. Francis

Clarivel Fong/Special to The SF ExaminerJonathan Rojas gave the Irish their best chance

Clarivel Fong/Special to The SF ExaminerJonathan Rojas gave the Irish their best chance

All it took was one breakdown, and Sacred Heart Cathedral’s boys’ soccer team was in a hole immediately against St. Francis on Saturday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields.

Thirty seconds into the game, the Irish committed a turnover in their own half of the field and St. Francis forward Emilio Huerta made them pay.

The junior took control of the ball in the middle of the field, and sent a strike just inside the left post from 20 yards out for the lone score of the Lancers’ 1-0 West Catholic Athletic League win.

“When you give away possession in your own half, the better the player, the better the team, the more they are going to punish you, and that’s what happened,” said Sacred Heart assistant coach Toby Rappolt, who was serving as head coach in the absence of Jeff Wilson. “One moment, among hundreds of moments, and that was it.”

The St. Francis (7-2-4, 4-0-3) offense almost entirely ran through Huerta and the playmaking junior took a game-high three shots on net and distributed the ball deftly to teammates.

“We were hoping to get something early and obviously a little luck helps,” said St. Francis head coach Thomas Silvas. “On the attack, Emilio is key and he’s getting better every day. He’s one of the best players in the league.”

Sacred Heart (7-3-3, 3-2-2) had more than its fair share of chances, but didn’t send a shot on net until the 63rd minute on a free kick from 35 yards out from junior defender Oscar Reyes.

Irish attackers Dashiell MacNamara, William Velasco and Jonathan Rojas consistently worked the ball into the St. Francis penalty area, but were always a step away or a foot off of capitalizing off their opportunities.

“A couple of our best players’ touch started going away,” Rappolt said. “But you can’t take those guys out of the game, and it came back to them.”

The Irish surged late and Rojas came just inches away from equalizing in the 76th minute.

Rojas received a centering pass from senior Daniel Ryan and rifled a shot toward the top half of the net from 15 yards out. The ball beat St. Francis goalkeeper Jacob Silva, but struck the crossbar and caromed over the net.

“I was just hoping for a little luck there,” Silvas said. “This win is big, because they’re a well-coached team. We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but bottom line, we needed to come up here and win — steal it, or whatever we had to do.”

The Irish only took two shots on net in the game, but were kept in the game by junior goalkeeper Connor Anderson, who had seven saves, including two diving stops in the second half.

“He’s always good for at least one, sometimes two huge saves a game,” Rappolt said. “It’s like scoring a goal when he denies them a goal-scoring opportunity like that.”

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and

PrEPPrep Sportssoccersports

Just Posted

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

The 49ers take on the Packers in Week 3 of the NFL season, before heading into a tough stretch of divisional opponents. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
‘Good for Ball’ or ‘Bad for Ball’ — A Niners analysis

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner What’s the first thing that… Continue reading

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

The Grove in Golden Gate Park is maintained largely by those who remember San Francisco’s 20,000 AIDS victims.<ins> (Open Eye Pictures/New York Times)</ins>
Looking at COVID through the SF prism of AIDS

AIDS took 40 years to claim 700,000 lives. COVID surpassed that number in 21 months

Most Read