Logan White, former Marin Catholic head coach Ken Peralta and the rest of the Sacred Heart Cathedral football team of San Francisco are hoping to set a standard for years to come.
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After a short interview with some photos taken on the practice field across the street from the campus of San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral, quarterback Logan White returned to the ribbing of his Irish teammates waiting to begin a 3 p.m. Monday afternoon practice.
“You going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated?” teased one of his teammates as others chuckled.
“No, it’s for Cal-Hi Sports,” White snapped back somewhat deadpan.
“Cal-Hi Sports?” the same teammate queried back. “I want to be on the Cal-Hi Sports All-State team.”
Everyone wants to be on an All-State team, but the Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area caravan wasn’t in the City to do an All-State story.
This unique story is about White and how helping get his Irish to 3-0 for the first time since 2011 has him on the spot and in the hot seat, which makes him the second member of his family to be feeling the heat.
White, a two-year Irish starter, is the son of embattled San Francisco Fire Chief and Mercy (San Francisco) alum Joanne Hayes-White.
As the win streak has grown, so has his mother’s problems in dealing with the highly politically-charged atmosphere that is almost a San Francisco trademark.
Still, the Irish’s 6-foot-2, 200-pound signal-caller has remained focused.
“Logan is a great kid, very mature, and we’ve put a lot in his hands,” second-year Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach and 1979 Irish grad Ken Peralta told Cal-Hi Sports. “He gets it that his mother is in a very political situation in a very political city.”
“We come home every night and we talk about things, and we try focus on the positives,” said White, who has an older brother Riley (at Santa Clara where Joanne also graduated from) and a younger brother Sean, a freshman at Sacred Heart Cathedral. “My mom is one of the strongest people I know. I’m her biggest fan and she’s my biggest fan.”
Hayes-White became San Francisco’s fire chief in January of 2004. The achievement also was notable because San Francisco became the largest urban fire department in the world with a female chief. She oversees a department with a budget of $250 million and 1,800 employees.
Despite the pressure to be successful as a quarterback in one of the toughest leagues in the state, and the outside distractions of his mother’s situation, White takes it in stride.
“I’m just another guy on the team. My job is to do everything I can to help the team, anything the coaches ask me to do.”
“The thing about this team is so far this year we’ve had a bond like no other team I’ve been on,” White remarked. “We’re playing for each other and the common goal with players and coaches is to get it done.”
Grew up with teammates
Although the Irish roster has kids from all over San Francisco, a group of players White is close to, senior lineman Aidan O’Driscoll, junior running back/linebacker Ronan Murphy, and senior defensive end and fullback Luke Galvin-Quinn, all grew up together and went to St. Stephens parish school near the Stonestown Galleria Shopping Center in the Outer Sunset District.
This season and beyond
“The team goals are to work hard to push each other to win every game, but obviously we have to take it one game at a time,” White said.
“The short term goal is to have success but for the long term we want to leave a legacy and a standard of what Sacred Heart Cathedral football can be.”
“I want to go somewhere I can play for sure, and my uncle Dan Hayes is the offensive coordinator at CCSF (perennial junior college power City College of San Francisco), so that’s an option,” said White, who tell Cal-Hi Sports his favorite subject is history and the civics class he’s currently taking.
City College may be an option but with his 3.6 GPA White can probably do better.
“San Jose State and Sacramento State and some Ivy League schools have contacted me.”
Become a firefighter?
So does he want to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a firefighter like she did after graduating from college?
“That’s a little bit down the line,” White said with a small laugh. “I want to keep my options open, get good grades and get a degree.”
And what about Peralta?
Coach Peralta inherited a 2-8 team from 2012 and went 2-8 last year, but when he took the job in February of last year he did it with an idea of turning around his alma mater.
Peralta started coaching at Sacred Heart Cathedral in the 1980s before a couple of out-of-state stints, then San Francisco Riordan and Cabrillo College before leading Marin Catholic to four Marin County Athletic League titles, two CIF North Coast Section championships, and an overall 65-24 record and 44-10 MCAL record in seven years at the Wildcats’ helm.
When he announced his retirement after leading Marin Catholic to a near upset, in a 24-20 loss to Gardena Serra in the 2009 CIF Division III State Bowl Game, he said there was a good chance he’d be back coaching football at the varsity level.
Now, after coming full circle and returning to lead the Irish, Peralta has a team poised to make some noise if they can continue to play well.
“This has been a real refreshing start to the season,” Peralta remarked. “It’s taken some time for the kids to get to know me and for me to get to know them but we’ve had a complete buy-in to what we’re trying to do here.”
The win streak and hopes of making an immediate impact on this year’s wild-and-wacky West Catholic Athletic League race could hit a bump Friday night against Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) at Foothill College, or the Irish could go to 4-0 for the first time since the 2005 team went 6-0 to start the season as an independent and prior to rejoining the WCAL.
Either way, Peralta will expect the players to perform and execute the way they’ve done the first three games, and White will likely be cool under pressure.
And why not? He’s already been feeling plenty of heat.
Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend