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‘I was watching my guys play from a hospital bed’: Sacred Heart Cathedral wide receiver stars a year after missing rivalry game with broken arm

Sacred Heart Cathedral wide receiver Mikey Calonico (3) tries to get open in the end zone during the second quarter of the Bruce-Mahoney Game at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on Oct. 14, 2022. | Ethan Kassel/The Standard

With the St. Ignatius defense dedicated to covering Jerry Mixon Jr. and RL Miller, the opportunity arose for Sacred Heart Cathedral wide receiver Mikey Calonico to have one of the biggest games of his career as the Fightin’ Irish beat the Wildcats 10-0 in front of 10,000 fans.

His experience a year earlier couldn’t have been any more different.

Not only did a broken arm cause Calonico to miss the 2021 game, he wasn’t even in the stadium for the Irish’s 21-20 triumph.

“I was watching my guys play from a hospital bed like Gerry Bertier in Remember the Titans,” Calonico said.

The 5-foot-6 receiver broke his arm during SHC’s bye week, and his surgery was scheduled for Oct. 8, the day of the Bruce-Mahoney Game. After his operation, he spent the first half watching the game from the hospital. His parents drove him home at halftime, passing the lights of Kezar Stadium along the way. He watched the second half from home.

“It broke my heart,” he said of not being able to play in the game as a junior. “I grew up going to St. Cecilia and I came to this game every year.”

A year later, Calonico wasn’t just in the game; he took center stage. His five catches for 50 yards led all players, and his 11-yard catch inside the final five minutes gave his team a crucial third down conversion to help run out the clock.

“It just feels good to have it all come full circle and get a win,” he said.

Calonico’s father and brother both attended Riordan, but Mikey took a different path to SHC. On Friday night, he earned the adoration of thousands of classmates and alumni.

“He’s clutch,” head coach Antoine Evans said. “We knew the underneath was open all day. We just had to execute the plays.”

The Fightin’ Irish host Bellarmine (3-4, 2-2) at Kezar Stadium on Oct. 21 for Senior Night.