By Ari Kaye
Palo Alto Online Sports
Andrew Segre was the star performer on Friday night for Sacred Heart Prep (5-0), as the senior running back ran for two touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes, in the Gators' 42-2 nonleague rout over Woodside (0-4).
However, the Gators' focus was not completely on their impressive road victory after the game ended.
That was because Sacred Heart was also thinking about its starting offensive tackle, junior Michael Murphy, who sustained a major leg injury midway through the second quarter.
"I think he has a broken leg" Sacred Heart head coach Pete Lavorato surmised about Murphy after the game. "His foot just got caught under (a defender) where he couldn't move. He was in a lot of pain."
Even before the play was whistled dead, one of the referees spotted that Murphy was badly hurt, and signaled for the Sacred Heart trainers to tend to him. Shortly after, an ambulance arrived to take Murphy to the hospital.
The Woodside crowd was hushed for the entirety of the nearly half-hour injury delay, and gave Murphy a loud cheer as he was lifted off the field and onto a stretcher.
"It was tough," Segre said about Murphy's injury. "But we rallied together, and we knew he'd want us to just win the game. So we played for him."
Sacred Heart jumped out to an early 13-0 advantage through the first quarter and a half, and was driving down the field at the time of Murphy's injury.
"The game was kind of broken into two parts (because of the injury)," Lavorato said. "It was hard to get back into it afterwards."
The lengthy delay did not stop Sacred Heart's momentum, as the Gators finished off their drive with a one-yard touchdown run from senior running back Ricky Grau.
Up 21-0 at halftime, Sacred Heart controlled the ball for much of the second half with its vaunted rushing attack, as the Gators ended up throwing the ball just four times after the break.
"The running game was a little shaky at the beginning," said Segre, who totaled 156 yards rushing and 114 yards receiving on the night. "We made some adjustments at halftime, and we were able to run all over Woodside after that."
Segre scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half, including an impressive 57-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass.
"We knew we could run screens (against Woodside)," Lavorato said. "Woodside was basically committed to the line of scrimmage with a bunch of guys. If they didn't have somebody accounting for the running back, it made the screen pretty easy to run."
Sacred Heart's defense had been fantastic all season, allowing only 17 points coming into the contest. The defense played phenomenally again on Friday, nearly shutting down Woodside's offense completely.
Woodside starting quarterback Robert Wong was confused throughout the game against a secondary that was primarily playing zone, and ended up completing just 10 of his 30 passes, while also throwing two interceptions.
The only points Sacred Heart allowed on the night came on a safety early in the fourth quarter, as junior linebacker JR Hardy recovered a Wildcats' fumble at the one-yard line, but was tackled by Woodside in his own end zone.
Although Lavorato said he was very pleased with his athletic, but undersized, defense so far, he was a little wary about Sacred Heart's PAL Bay Division opener at Menlo-Atherton in two weeks -- following an upcoming bye.
"A team that is big and strong, like M-A, that pounds it a little, that might be difficult for us," Lavorato said.
In all likelihood, the Gators will have to play Menlo-Atherton without Murphy in the lineup, as well.
Palo Alto 41, Fremont 14
After starting the season 1-2 after a tough preseason schedule, Palo Alto opened defense of it SCVAL De Anza Division championship with a romp over host Fremont on Friday night in Sunnyvale.
The Vikings (1-0, 2-2) blew the game open early as Keesean Johnson caught touchdown passes of 76, 15 and 27 yards -- he finished with five receptions for 159 yards -- and Connor Scheel returned an interception 47 yards for another score.
Paly senior quarterback Keller Chryst completed his first five passes for 170 yards and the three TDs to Johnson. Chryst had four TD passes by halftime as the Vikings built a 34-0 lead. Chryst finished 10 of 11 for 274 yards and the four scores. He also threw a 47-yard TD pass to Eli Givens.
Pinewood 78, North Valley Baptist 22
Aiden Lucero had six touchdowns -- three on offense, two on defense and one kick return -- to pace the Panthers to their easy victory in eight-man action Friday in Los Altos Hills. Kyle Murphy also had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
"The defense played great," said Pinewood coach Matt Irvin. "Another big game again from Oscar Fick, MJ Stevens, Jack Sweat, and Chandler Nelson on defense. Alex Nelson did a great job on defense as his first start at D-tackle. QB, Kevin Tracy managed the game well and made some great reads.
"We also got a lot of new and young players some of their first playing time the whole second half. They played well and learned a ton. "
Cupertino 28, Gunn 21 (OT)
Gunn senior Sean Lydster scored two touchdowns, the last one tying the game and sending it to overtime, but his effort still wasn't enough as the Titans (0-1, 1-4) dropped a 28-21 decision to host Cupertino (1-0, 5-0) to open the SCVAL El Camino Division season on Friday night. The Pioneers held a 21-7 fourth-quarter lead before Gunn rallied behind Forrest Larson's 15-yard TD run and Lydster's 10-yard scoring effort.
Priory 40, Alma Heights 6
The Panthers remained perfect on the season with an easy romp over visiting Alma Heights (Pacifica) in eight-man Mission Trail Athletic League action. Priory (2-0, 4-0) compiled 395 offensive yards while holding the visitors to 222.
Will Latta led Priory with 170 yards on 15 rushes. He scored twice with a long TD run of 45 yards. He also completed 8-of-13 passes for 97 yards. Charlie Tidmarsh had 24 carries for 142 yards and tallied three times.
On defense, Brandon Zarringhalam had two interceptions with Latta picking off one.
Menlo 47, McClymonds 40
The Knights let a 40-24 fourth-quarter lead get away before rallying with a 91-yard drive to pull out a big nonleague victory in Oakland on Friday night.
After McClymonds chipped away at Menlo's lead to tie the game at 40 with 3:10 left to play, the Knights drove nearly the length of the field with quarterback Jack Heneghan finding Peter Bouret for the winning 44-yard TD with just 13 seconds remaining.
"We're incredibly happy, and proud of our boys," said coach Mark Newton, whose Knights won their fourth in row. "They fought incredibly hard and beat an outstanding team."
On the final drive that took 1:31, the Knights got several big catches from Graham Stratford, usual receiver Jack Marren tossed the ball back to Heneghan, who also scrambled for gain. Then, Bouret "got behind the coverage perfectly" and hauled in Heneghan's pass from 44 yards.
Heneghan finished with five touchdowns -- four passing to Stratford, Marren and Bouret -- another second-quarter run. Heneghan finished with 343 passing yards. The Knights are averaging 330.2 passing yards per game.
The Knights also got another outstanding performance from their offensive line, including Adam Yecies, Chris Crouch, Gregory Yock, John Guiragossian and Sam Crowder.
Through five games, the Knights (4-1) have scored 250 points. Against Mack (3-2), Menlo held a 33-6 halftime lead.
Travis Chambers was an omnipresent force on the field once again. Not only did he make several catches and establish the Knights' run, scoring two rushing TDs, he also led the team in tackles. Noah Sissoko batted down a ball right before Menlo got the ball back for what would be its final drive. Yecies, Crouch, Crowder and inside linebacker Colin Johnson paced the defense.
"On the counter action, every single guy did their assignment," Newton added. "Defensively, they did incredibly well especially in the first half. They played fast and hit the creases."