Menlo School drops important PAL Ocean Division test


In a crucial showdown for second place in the PAL Ocean Division, Menlo School lost its final home football game of the year in a 35-21 setback to King's Academy on Friday.

Menlo dropped to 1-2 (5-2 overall) while the visiting Knights improved to 2-1 (6-1 overall) while staying in second place in the division. Menlo School fell to fourth place with only three regular-season games left on the schedule -- one a nonleague outing against Sacred Heart Prep.

"Going into this year we felt like anyone could win our league," said Menlo head coach Mark Newton. "These guys on film were great and they're going to get better and better. We've got to get healthy in all ways, physically and in terms of sickness. We have to rest up and come back on Monday and prepare."

On King's Academy's second play of the game, freshman quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. hooked up with senior Markweese Smith for a 57-yard bullet-pass touchdown and King's took the quick 7-0 lead.

On King's third possession, Johnson Jr. found Smith again and the wide receiver cut across the field and sprinted in for a 29-yard touchdown and King's Academy took a 14-0 lead at halftime. Smith had a stellar game and finished with 130 receiving yards including two touchdowns.

Menlo's offense couldn't get anything going in either the first or second quarters. The Knights turned the ball over in all four possessions in the first half.

The Menlo defense gave up 214 total yards in the first half and committed seven penalties for 45 yards.

In the third quarter, senior Charlie Roth cut into the King's Academy lead and ran in for a one-yard touchdown. The Knights would've tied the game, but an extra point kick was blocked, making it a 14-13 deficit.

King's Academy started to pull away in the fourth quarter when sophomore Maurice Washington III broke four tackles and ran in for a 18-yard touchdown making it a 28-13 game. Washington III had a solid game and finished with 183 yards on the ground with three touchdowns.

Menlo backup junior quarterback Hayden Pegley connected with senior RJ Babiera in the left corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown to bring Menlo to within 28-21.

When Menlo made it close again, King's answered again. Washington ran down the left side of the field for 37 yards and a score, sealing the 35-21 victory.

"Obviously it's tough not to win through seniors," said Charlie Ferguson, who finished with 73 yards rushing. "You want to win every game, but this game was an incredibly important game and it hurts."

The Knight will visit South San Francisco on Oct 30 in another PAL Ocean Division matchup.

"These ones sting and we came out flat. We fought, we had guys fighting but it wasn't enough. We just need to put it on to South City," said Ferguson.

Los Gatos 42, Palo Alto 20

The host Vikings (2-2, 3-5) saw their homecoming plans ruined as Los Gatos grabbed a 21-0 first-quarter lead and rolled to an easy SCVAL De Anza Division triumph.

Paly senior Eli Givens caught a 10-yard halfback option pass from Paul Jackson III and added a 90-yard kickoff return for a TD to provide Paly's highlights. Riley Schoeben got Paly on the board in the second period with a 17-yard scoring reception from Justin Hull.

Hull threw for 191 yards, but was just 13-of-35 with two interceptions. Givens had six receptions for 86 yards and Jackson III finished with 105 rushing yards on 23 carries.

Tak Nishi led the Paly defense with 14 tackles with Tonga Latu adding nine.

Monta Vista 42, Gunn 21

The host Titans (0-4, 0-8) scored their most points of the season, but it was far from enough to prevent the Matadors from spoiling Gunn's homecoming festivities.

==B Crystal Springs 68, Priory 18

Giving up 60 first-half points, the host Panthers (1-2, 1-5) were no match for the Gryphons in a Mission Trail Athletic League eight-man game in Portola Valley.

Crystal Springs grabbed a 28-12 first-quarter lead and cruised from there. Adrian LaValle completed 11 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Keyshawn Ashford rushed for 79 yards and one TD. Scott Harris rushed once for 28 yards and caught four passes for 89 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown from LaValle. Harris also had a 60-yard kickoff return to the 5-yard line in the first quarter.

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