The 49ers High School Player of the Week Award for week 9 goes to Andrew Daschbach of Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, CA.
The senior tight end for the Sacred Heart Prep Gators had a record breaking performance in a big win over the Burlingame Panthers. SHP beat Burlingame 42-33 to keep their PAL Bay Division championship dreams alive. Burlingame was previously unbeaten heading into Friday's showdown and now the two division foes sit tied for second in the division.
"It was a big win for us. It ensures we will be in the playoffs – and that's what it's all about," said Sacred Heart Prep Head Coach Peter Lavorato.
The star of the night was the 6'3", 220 lbs tight end that quarterback Mason Randall continually found for big, game changing plays.
Daschbach had twelve catches in Friday's game for 250 yards and three touchdowns. His 250 receiving yards is a new school record for Sacred Heart Prep. By the third quarter, he had also broken his personal best in single game receiving yards, nearly doubling the 127 yards he ironically recorded last season against Burlingame.
"Andrew is phenomenal for us. I mean there's not much more to say. He made some unbelievable catches in this game," said Coach Lavorato.
Andrew Daschbach overcame a handful of obstacles over the last few weeks to have a breakout performance when his team needed it most. Daschbach injured his thumb in practice a few weeks back and has been playing with a cast on his hand.
"He's been playing with that thing for three weeks now. That's a pretty cumbersome thing he has on that hand. For him to be able to play the way he did and make the catches he was able to make… it is pretty impressive," said his coach.
Last week Daschbach was forced to the sideline due to illness and trouble breathing.
"Him coming back was huge for us. He's obviously so good on the field, but he just helps us in so many ways. He helps all the other players. He's so inspirational," insisted Coach Lavorato.
Daschbach had the first touchdown of the game for the Gators late in the first quarter on a 59 yard bomb from quarterback Mason Randall. This was just the start of the Randall-to-Daschbach connection in this Friday Night showdown.
They would later connect on what SHP's Head Coach, Pete Lavorato, considers one of his greatest plays of the game. The Gators faced a crucial 4th and 10 late in the third quarter on the Panthers' 30. They decided to go for it. Randall, once again, found his favorite target. Daschbach caught the pass at the 10-yard line and ran it in for the touchdown.
"That was a great play. Anytime you go for it on fourth down it's big, but that was a great play. Mason threw the ball just over his hands, and Andrew made a great catch, broke a tackle, and ran it into the end zone."
"I was really excited for the both of them," said Coach Lavorato. "What you don't know is Andrew and Mason are the best of friends. They are inseparable. This was possibly their last home game together, on Senior Night... and for them to have a game like this together was really cool," said Coach Lavorato.
Daschbach is a three year starter on the varsity squad and helped his team go to the state championship as a sophomore. He is currently a captain, and was the first player to ever be named captain as a junior as well.
"It is the only time over my stint here that a junior has been named a captain. It tells you a lot. He leads by example on the field but in every other area as well. He leads by his inspiration. He is very important to our football team," said Coach Lavorato.
Daschbach is a force on the football field, but truthfully, that is only a quarter of his athletic ability. He is stellar athlete and his football coach is well aware of his value on the other playing fields.
"He has played football and basketball all four years for us. He is the starting power forward on the basketball team, and he's played baseball here for the last three years. He is an unbelievable lacrosse player. He could have easily gone on to play lacrosse. He could have played football, basketball, baseball, or lacrosse in college. He is just an unbelievably gifted athlete," praised Coach Lovorato.
Baseball is the sport Daschbach will pursue after he graduates from Sacred Heart Prep this spring. He will play baseball at Stanford University in 2016. Daschbach currently holds a 4.0 GPA at SHP and serves as the ultimate leader in the classroom for his teammates as well. No matter the setting, his character and integrity do not falter.
"I think the most telling character trait is the way he is always looking out for the small guy. You know, those that may not be the greatest athletes, maybe not quite as talented… He is always looking out for them and making sure every single one of the guys feels very a part of it. He is an advocate for the small guy, and that speaks very well to him," said Coach Lovorato.
"We talk about our moto here, being 'a man built for others' – he is the ultimate example of this. I am proud to have coached such a good kid," finished Head Coach Pete Lovorato. As the home school of the 49ers High School Player of the Week, Sacred Heart Prep will receive a $500 grant for their football program from the 49ers Foundation. Andrew Daschbach will receive two tickets to a 49ers home game and a certificate signed by 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula. At the end of the season, Daschbach will be invited to the SAP Performance Facility to accept a trophy recognizing his achievements.