SAN MATEO — His team had just won big over an undefeated league rival trying to take what Serra has. But for winning coach Patrick Walsh, the scoreboard Saturday afternoon meant little.
Walsh’s eyes teared up and his voice quivered as he addressed an injury that likely will end Hassan “The Missile” Mahasin’s season and high school career.
The Serra coach isn’t sure when the senior suffered the knee injury during the 41-7 rout of Bellarmine. It might have happened in the first half. Maybe it happened when the three-star prospect with offers from Arizona State and Colorado left the game for good on a handoff in the backfield early in the second half.
Mahasin was evaluated by the team doctor, Walsh said, noting that the doctor is “sadly” a good judge of ACL injuries.
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The doctor fears Mahasin’s injury is an ACL, the coach added.
An MRI will be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Mahasin was the Bay Area News Group’s player of the year during Serra’s 5-0 season last spring.
“He was blocking someone and he said it just didn’t feel right,” Walsh said. “He was moving around fine at halftime. I don’t know. Maybe he did hurt it in the first half.
“He’ll go get an MRI and hopefully you can get him in there for surgery right away if it is an ACL.”
The concern was painted on Walsh’s face.
“We’re not a scoreboard team,” Walsh said, his voice cracking. “It’s more of a family.”
The family had a great day on the field until their playmaker hobbled to the sideline on the first play of the third quarter.
Mahasin declined to be interviewed as he left the Brady Family Stadium.
In the final minute of the first half, Mahasin caught a 33-yard pass over the middle from Dominique Lampkin that gave Serra a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Petelo Gi’s 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 27-0.
Bellarmine, once the top team in the West Catholic Athletic League, hadn’t scored against Serra since 2016, a streak of three consecutive shutouts.
The Bells finally broke through when Philip Miller picked up a punt that Serra was trying to down inside the 10 and kept running until he was tackled at the Serra 25.
After a sack moved Bellarmine back 14 yards, Nate Escalada threw a 39-yard pass to Ramy Nijmeh for a touchdown that cut the deficit to 27-7 with 8:40 left.
On Serra’s next play, Gi dashed 52 yards into the end zone to push the advantage to 34-7.
Sophomore Jaden Green finished the scoring with a 29-yard run that made it 41-7.
Bellarmine finished with five turnovers.
“It’s hard to beat a good football team like Serra when you make as many mistakes as we did,” Bells coach Jalal Beauchman said. “Turn the ball over. Take as many sacks as we did and losing that much yardage to start a drive. Holding penalties. Mistakes kind of piled up, especially in key situations.”
Bellarmine had one of the most impressive starts to this season, beating Menlo-Atherton, San Leandro, Central Catholic-Modesto and Riordan to bring a 4-0 record to Serra’s home field in San Mateo.
But the conditions Saturday were perfect for Serra — sunny and hot.
Many good teams have come to Serra for Saturday afternoon games and left with defeats similar to Bellarmine’s.
“It’s kind of a crutch in a way because you know we’re supposed to play Friday Night Lights but, you know, as long as I’ve been around for 21 years, we look at this as an opportunity and the hotter the better,” Walsh said. “We want heat, a lot of heat. We practice for it.
“We practice at 3 in the summer for a reason because we know 3, 4 o’clock in the afternoon at Serra is going to be fourth-quarter time.”
Fourth-quarter time Saturday was all Serra, except the mood was somber because one of the team’s stars went down.
“He’ll heal up; he’ll be fine,” Walsh said about Mahasin. “He’s a warrior. I told him ACLs are like sprained ankles now. It just takes a little longer to recover. He’s going to be a great, great college player. With or without this injury, he’s going to make some coaching staff really happy as he’s done here for so long.”
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Author: Darren Sabedra