There is no love lost between Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Ignatius. The two teams have played each other every year for the better part of the last century and they will meet again Friday in the annual Bruce-Mahoney Game at Kezar Stadium.
“It's a great week for both schools and school communities to rally around each other,” SI coach John Regalia said. “The energy will continue to build over the week. It's a fun thing. It's something that our school embraces and I know Sacred Heart embraces as well.”
“In terms of us, it's not just our big rivalry game, but it's a chance for us to make a run and make the playoffs,” SHC coach Ken Peralta said. “We get the chance to play a big game and the hope of extending our season.”
The West Catholic Athletic League generally sends at least four teams each season to the Central Coast Section playoffs and both SI and SHC could still find their way into the conversation.
St. Ignatius (1-7, 1-4) has won the last two meetings, one of which was a playoff game. Two seasons ago, this game was the only WCAL win for the Wildcats.
In last year's game, SHC, which only won two games all year, matched SI score for score in the first half before the Wildcats pulled away for a 35-21 win. St. Ignatius went on to play in the CIF Northern California Division I championship.
In this rivalry, records mean nothing.
The Fightin' Irish (2-6, 0-5) have had a rough go of it and remain winless in league play. SHC has been outscored 171-38 in those five WCAL contests.
Two weeks ago, they had a chance to get into the win column when they all but erased a 10-point halftime deficit against Riordan, but dropped a close one, 24-21, and missed a game-tying field goal down the stretch.
“Riordan came out with a little more fire in their stomach. That was the difference. They jumped on it,” Peralta said. “It was one of those games I was so proud of our kids. We had a real good comeback there and something to build upon.”
SI has not been much better in its recent results. Its only win of the season came against Riordan on Oct. 11. However, the Wildcats have remained more competitive in their games.
“What I see out of our guys is consistency,” Regalia said. “We've got a very competitive group of guys and they want to work and understand the work it takes to be successful on the field.”
Two of the Wildcats' four WCAL losses have come by less than 10 points, including one against a high-powered Serra team.