If there’s one common theme around San Francisco entering the ninth week of the high school football season, it’s that most of the City’s teams are on streaks, both good and bad, and all with a chance of ending.
Riordan (2-5, 0-4 WCAL) @ St. Ignatius (5-2, 3-1), Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Crusaders haven’t won a WCAL game since taking the Gil Haskell Trophy from St. Ignatius in 2017 at Kezar Stadium, and they also won the most recent matchup played at SI’s J.B. Murphy Field, a 45-19 romp in 2015. However, the Wildcats played a stellar defensive game to beat Riordan 35-0 last year and will look to stay within a game of first place in the WCAL this week by continuing on their current trajectory.
UC Davis commit Teddye Buchanan has been stellar at quarterback for St. Ignatius in back-to-back weeks, completing 31 of 39 passes for 430 yards combined in wins over St. Francis and Bellarmine. After Danny Ryan’s streak of consecutive games with a touchdown ended at five, he made up for it with three scores against the Bells. Buchanan and Zach Taylor-Smith combined to target him 11 times, and he caught every single one of them for 147 yards.
Neither Jahsai Shannon or Joe Celentano put up mind-boggling numbers like the Wildcats quarterbacks did, but the two combine with Mark Silva to make a three-headed rushing attack that can pound the rock when Buchanan or Taylor-Smith give the ball off. The SI defense will try to copy what Valley Christian did last week by slowing Fazon Ruth, who was limited to 56 yards on 11 carries.
Burton (3-2, 1-1 AAA) @ Mission (2-4-1, 2-1), Friday, 3 p.m. at Kezar Stadium: Burton responded well to a surprising loss to Balboa by breaking free from Galileo to re-enter the AAA playoff discussion. All-around athlete Alfonzo Smith, typically at quarterback for the Pumas, opened the scoring by catching a touchdown rather than throwing for one, hauling in a 78-yard pass from Jonah Mati. Mati also ran for a pair of short touchdowns and both Allen Corpuz and Taleni Sio had defensive scores as the Pumas made up for allowing 38 points the prior week. Mission was shut out by league favorite and defending champion Lincoln, but the Bears did manage to pitch a shutout for the first half on a foggy afternoon before a safety finally let the hosts break loose.
Sacred Heart Cathedral (0-7, 0-4 WCAL) @ Serra (7-0, 4-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.: The last two weeks have been unforgiving for the Fightin’ Irish, with shutout losses to Valley Christian and Mitty by a combined score of 100-0. It won’t get any easier this week in San Mateo, where SHC will have to take on a Serra team that boasts impressive nonleague wins over Pittsburg and Menlo-Atherton, and most recently took down St. Francis to remain perfect on the season. However, with a huge game against fellow unbeaten Valley Christian next week, perhaps the Padres will look past a young Irish team. Discipline will be key for Serra after winning last week despite committing 12 penalties for 110 yards. The matchup between Terence Loville, Serra’s top wide receiver, and SHC’s Tyrice Ivy Jr., should be one of the most compelling individual showdowns.
Lowell (3-2-1, 1-1 AAA) @ Lincoln (4-1, 2-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.: Coming off a bye week, the Cardinals will have their toughest test of the season as they look to continue climbing towards their first playoff berth since 2013. Lincoln’s defense has been absolutely phenomenal all year, with back-to-back shutouts and only one opponent reaching double-digits so far this year. Last week, the Mustangs shut out a Mission team that had put up 42 in a shutout win over Lowell three weeks ago. It’ll be a firm test for the Cardinal run defense as Lincoln averages 344.2 yards per game on the ground and 7.8 per carry.
Washington (0-6, 0-3 AAA) @ Galileo (0-7, 0-3), Friday, 3 p.m.: Something will have to finally give when the Eagles and Lions meet on Friday afternoon. It’s been an extremely difficult year for both teams, but one will get its first win of the season. Neither team has scored since season-opening losses, with each entering this matchup with just six total points on the season. Both teams have been shut out in five consecutive games (one of Galileo’s losses was by forfeit, meaning each have taken the field six times total). When the dust clears, one of these much-maligned teams will pick up the first win for a head coach who’s helped them keep the faith throughout adversity.
Either Michael Gatmen or Lamar Williams will have their first coaching win this weekend, and both coaches can expect their veteran leaders to be key contributors. Jalen Lee is a key factor for Washington at both running back and linebacker, while Joseph Ale and Kobe Cabuntala anchor the lines for Galileo. Playoff hopes are incredibly slim for both teams, but a win would taste as sweet as the ice cream at nearby Ghirardelli Square.