CIF football: Serra continues rich tradition at running back

SAN MATEO — Erich Wilson. De’Leon Eskridge. Eric Redwood. David Taufoou.

Add one other identify to the lengthy and storied custom of operating backs out of Serra.

Isiah Kendrick, a 5-foot-eleven, one hundred seventy five-pound senior, inched nearer to the highest of the record for profession touchdowns over the weekend and closes out his time with the Padres on Friday at Sacramento State within the CIF state Division 2-AA championship recreation.

“Isiah has come via and on some degree raised the bar of being an entire again,” stated Serra coach Patrick Walsh, who is aware of a factor or two about operating backs, contemplating he ran for two,029 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior at De La Salle in 1992. “He can block, he’s an incredible receiver out of the backfield, he runs exhausting, he’s acquired breakaway velocity. I feel statistically, when it’s all stated and carried out, he’ll be up there with the easiest.”

The 17-yr-previous out of San Mateo is a key element of a excessive-wire act on offense that already supplanted final yr’s report for many factors in a season.

Up to now, Kendrick has accounted for 30 touchdowns, together with an eighty three-yard catch two weeks in the past to assist the Padres declare again-to-again Central Coast Part Open Division II titles.

“To start with, he’s an incredible individual and an excellent chief,” offensive coordinator Steven Lo stated. “And I feel the power he brings, each spiritually after which clearly on the sector, is sort of what helps spark us. The offense actually will get going when he will get going. And when he can get the ball shifting on the bottom and getting explosive performs receiving, it units a fireplace into our offense.”

The Padres have been firing on all cylinders throughout final week’s seventy six-forty three shootout towards Tulare Union, during which Serra broke a 14-yr-old fashioned report for many factors in a single recreation.

“Behind our minds, we’re like, ‘We gotta get it,’ ” stated Kendrick, who crossed the objective line for a 3rd time on the opening play of the fourth quarter to make historical past.

“On the finish of the sport we felt like we’re flying excessive and unstoppable, however on the similar time we’ve received to humble ourselves and understand it’s undoubtedly not going to be like that this week,” he added. “The youngsters that we’re enjoying this week are a worthy opponent they usually’re going to provide us a 4-quarter battle.”

Each yard, each level goes to matter Friday at four p.m., as Serra (12-2), the outright West Catholic Athletic League champion for the primary time since 1969, will get one other shot at a state title towards Cajon (14-1), which is coming off a 70-23 rout.

“It’s clearly a privilege and we labored exhausting sufficient to get right here once more,” Kendrick stated. “So we’ve obtained some unfinished enterprise to care for.”

It’s been virtually one year because the Padres walked onto Hornet Stadium with an opportunity to earn the varsity’s first-ever state soccer trophy.

“I can’t actually put it into phrases,” Kendrick stated. “You stroll on the market on the sector and also you go searching — and also you’re simply moved. You go like, ‘Wow.’ That is concerning the fifteenth recreation of the season. You understand that is the top, that is what you labored for. Inside you’re simply amazed.”

He added: “There have been two emotions that day. Everybody’s emotion was like, ‘Wow, we’re truly right here.’ And earlier than you knew it, we have been down 14-zero. So, I feel, we have now that vantage level of being right here final yr. We all know what to anticipate and we all know we will’t get too excessive or too low at occasions.”

Serra misplaced a forty two-forty thriller to Sierra Canyon for the Division 2-A championship, which helps clarify the reasoning behind a considerably muted celebration after again-to-again NorCal titles.

“We gained final weekend, which is a serious accomplishment, after which it was like, ‘OK, who’s subsequent?’ — versus final yr when it was what a serious accomplishment and the state recreation was simply gravy,” Walsh stated.

“The general thrill of the win was much less as a result of I consider this group is intent to do extra, which is an effective mindset going into the sport,” added Walsh, who opted to not e-book a lodge in Sacramento for Thursday night time. “We’re not sleeping over. We’re getting on a bus, we’re driving up there, we’re enjoying, we’re coming house — it’s going to be a enterprise journey.”

Up to now, opponents targeted solely on the backfield to cease Serra’s assault. That modified 5 years in the past, when Lo joined the employees.

“It felt like we had gone so far as we will go simply being principally a operating faculty,” stated Walsh, in his seventeenth season on the helm. “And sooner or later there’s going to be somebody greater, badder and harder on the blocks that stops the run, and if that’s the case, then what? And even Invoice Walsh stated for those who can’t full a ahead move, you’re doing all of your group a disservice. So once we misplaced to Bellarmine twice in 2012 on the 1-yard line, I felt prefer it was time to modernize the offense.

“And the best way it turned out, I principally simply changed myself.”

Whereas the Padres have amassed three,154 dashing yards — almost half by Kendrick — groups couldn’t stack the field.

Junior quarterback Luke Bottari has accomplished seventy two.1 % of his passes for two,733 yards, with 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

His favourite goal is Washington State-commit Patrick Nunn (sixty one catches, 843 yds, 9 TDs), however he additionally tends to select-and-select from 4 different seniors — Chris Park, Shane Villaroman, Andres Atkins and Lucas Hackett-Provenzano.

“You have a look throughout the board in any respect positions and there’s an individual that may rating and do some injury, so it makes it straightforward to sort of get every thing clicking,” Lo stated. “And when you’ve gotten a set off man like Luke, he makes good selections and places the ball in a superb place, understands the significance of shifting the chains and preserving the ball on our aspect.”

The buildup of returning expertise extends to the offensive line, although it suffered a serious loss when Atonio Mafi, a 6-three, 360-pound two-means lineman and a Cal verbal commit who simply acquired a scholarship supply from UCLA, was misplaced to an Achilles’ damage within the opening spherical of the CCS playoffs.

Serra is right down to its third-stringer at left guard in junior Lucas Ottoboni (6-zero, 220), who been plugged in between senior left deal with Elijah Folau (6-1, 260) and junior middle Keelan O’Riordan (6-1, 260), with senior Moses Tameilau (6-zero, 289) at proper guard and junior Vince Campana (6-zero, 210) a bookend at proper deal with.

“I’ve acquired a shock coming for them on the finish of the season,” stated Kendrick, who intends to reward the teammates that paved his method for 1,520 dashing yards and 27 TDs up to now.

The primary scholarship supply Kendrick acquired to play on the subsequent degree got here from Idaho, with Montana State additionally getting into the image.

What do school scouts see in Kendrick that may translate to the subsequent degree?

“Everybody says it’s my velocity, however I really feel like I’ve that little energy and power in me,” stated Kendrick, who used to play baseball and may run monitor within the spring. “Everybody can see the velocity immediately, however as the sport progresses you possibly can see me decrease my shoulder right here and there.”

Every week in the past, Kendrick carried the ball a season-excessive 25 occasions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, with a 34-yard catch as well.

“There’s not rather more we will actually ask him to try this he can’t bodily or mentally do,” Lo stated.

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