Sacred Heart Cathedral quarterback Cian Dowling runs against Live Oak in Morgan Hill, Calif. in a Central Coast Section playoff game on Nov. 17, 2018. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

SF Preps: Lowell, Riordan could surpass 2018 win totals

Sacred Heart Cathedral hosts Palma at Kezar Stadium as SF Preps head into Week 2

Following his team’s Week 1 loss to Acalanes, Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Barry McLaughlin said that the biggest improvement teams make is from Week 1 to Week 2. His Fightin’ Irish and other local teams will hope that statement holds true as some squads look to shake off early losses while others aim to keep momentum going from season-opening wins.

St. Ignatius (1-0) @ Sacred Heart Prep (1-0), Saturday, 3 p.m.

A rematch of last year’s CCS Quarterfinal defeat is stop No. 2 on the St. Ignatius revenge tour, one that already got off to a roaring start with a win over Palo Alto. As refreshing as it was for the Wildcats to start off with a win in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, they’ll need to put up a consistent offensive performance for a full 48 minutes. Aside from two touchdowns in a four-minute span against the Vikings, the offense largely struggled, and SHP boasts an unforgiving defense that yielded just seven points in last year’s playoff game and held Carlmont to just seven last week. The Gators can also control the clock thanks to running back Tevita Moimoi, who ran 12 times for 111 yards in last week’s win, and they have an explosive deep-play threat in receiver Dante Cacchione, who had three catches for 99 yards.

Woodinville (0-0) @ Balboa (0-0), Friday, 4 p.m.

The Buccaneers will be ringing in the new season by welcoming in a Washington power that reached the state semifinals last year en route to posting an 11-2 record. MaxPreps ranked the Wildcats as the No. 8 team in the entire state last year.

Palma (0-1) @ Sacred Heart Cathedral (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium

Whereas Sacred Heart Cathedral’s pass defense was tested in last week’s loss to Acalanes, it’ll be the run defense that faces the heat this week. Palma is led by running back Anthony Villegas, who ran for 285 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 47-31 loss to Mitty. Considering that SHC will be the Chieftains’ second WCAL opponent in a row, it should be a good measuring stick for how the Irish will stack up against the rest of the league.

Riordan (1-0) @ Tamalpais (2-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.

An emotionally-charged victory over Terra Nova was a tremendous way for the Crusaders to ring in the Mark Modeste era, and they’ll have a chance to exceed last year’s win total already with Saturday’s trip to the North Bay. They’ll face a Red-Tailed Hawks team that’s off to a strong start, having beaten both Petaluma and Albany-St. Mary’s. The Riordan secondary will have to find a way to slow down the combination of quarterback Aidan Newell and wide receiver Ben Reade, who have already connected 10 times for 148 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Christian Son is the anchor of the Tam defense, having racked up 25 tackles and an interception already this year.

Mission (0-1) @ Santa Clara (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

After a tight loss to Oakland Tech to start the season, the Bears will have a chance to get some of their frustrations out against a Santa Clara team that was on the receiving end of a 27-6 thumping from Soquel last week. The Bruins went 6-5 last year, including 5-1 in the SCVAL El Camino Division, but replacing do-it-all quarterback Nick Garcia is a tough task, as shown by last week’s offensive struggles.

Lowell (1-0) @ Dougherty Valley (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Defense starred for the Cardinals in last week’s 18-12 season-opening win at Albany, with two sacks and a fumble recovery for Michael Stamatopoulos. It’ll likely be a low-scoring showdown again this week in San Ramon as Dougherty Valley has allowed just 34 points over two games but scored just seven total across losses to Concord and Stellar Prep. The Wildcats play in the East Bay Athletic League’s Valley Division, the lower of the league’s two divisions.

Richmond (0-1) @ Burton (1-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.

A 50-20 win over the Oilers was the second of Burton’s four consecutive wins to open 2018, and considering how Alfonzo Smith lit up the scoreboard in a season-opening win at Harker, a 2-0 start to 2019 could be well within reach. The Pumas put up 57 points last week with Smith running for five touchdowns, including three runs beyond 60 yards, catching a sixth score and pulling down an interception on defense.

East Nicolaus (0-1) @ Galileo (0-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.

A school of just over 300 students in Sutter County, East Nicolaus will play in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon just a short walk from Ghirardelli Square. Like Galileo, the Spartans have a state championship, winning the 6-AA title in 2015 under then-second-year head coach Travis Barker (not to be confused with the Blink-182 drummer). Last week, they were defeated at home by Paradise, a team receiving national attention in the wake of the community’s resurgence from last year’s devastating fires.

Washington (0-0) @ Harker (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Michael Gatmen’s head coaching debut will come in a battle of Eagles as Washington looks to start off the year on a positive note while Harker aims to overcome last week’s beatdown.

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