Menlo-Atherton settles for three-way co-title | News | Palo Alto Online |


Menlo-Atherton settles for three-way co-title


At the conclusion of the Menlo Atherton-Burlingame football game on Friday night, there was a vast difference in the two teams' post-game reactions, as the Panthers players and coaches celebrated on their home field with friends and family, while the Bears' squad quickly and quietly exited the stadium.

Despite the contrast in post-game emotion, the fact remained that both teams ended their league seasons with the exact same title -- "co-champions."

Burlingame shutout Menlo-Atherton, 14-0, in the final PAL Bay Division game of the season, causing a three-way tie atop the league standings with Sacred Heart Prep, which defeated Aragon 52-21, on Friday.

"We're a young football team, lesson learned," Menlo-Atherton head coach Adhir Ravipati said. "We got to show up ready to play physical football four quarters every week. I give Burlingame all the credit, they're a really good team, well-coached, and they executed."

Although a win would have made the Menlo-Atherton outright champions of the division, the loss did not damage its CCS playoff chances with the Bears headed for the Division I playoffs.

"Wherever we end up with the seeding, we'll play whoever we get," Ravipati said. "But, we got to focus on ourselves and fix the mistakes from tonight."

Before facing Burlingame, Menlo Atherton had scored upwards of 25 points in four of their past five games, but found trouble moving the ball against a stout Panthers front seven.

"Our defensive line has really come into their own," Burlingame head coach John Philipopolous said.

Despite the Panthers consistently loading the box, running back Jordan Mims was still able to average over seven yards per carry, but was limited to 18 rushing yards in the second half.

The other lone bright spot for the Bears' offense was wide receiver Justin Friedsam, who caught a career-high five passes for 61 yards.

Burlingame got on the scoreboard in the first quarter, as a two-yard touchdown run by Joevani Garcia capped off a ten-play, 52-yard drive.

In the second quarter, the Panthers appeared to open up a 14-point advantage after a 35-yard run from Garcia, but the play was called back on a holding penalty.

The Panthers eventually turned the ball over on downs with a little under six minutes left in the half, and the Bears capitalized, driving down to the Burlingame 1-yard line with 30 seconds left. But, Menlo-Atherton could not cross the goal line, as runs up the middle by Mims and Stavro Papadakis on third and fourth down were stuffed, and the Bears still trailed by seven heading into the half.

"That drive at the end of the first half was really big," Ravipati said. "We were trying to get some confidence and build some momentum and we didn't punch it in."

The Bears received the ball to start the second half, but quickly turned the ball over, as cornerback Cole Friedlander intercepted Miles Conrad on a third down pass.

"We weren't able to throw on downs to keep them off balance," Ravipati said. "When you're not in a rhythm dropping back in the pass game it can throw everything off."

Panthers quarterback Cameron Kelaita only attempted 11 passes in the game, but threw a strike to Cooper Gindraux deep down the left sideline for a 63-yard touchdown score that gave Burlingame a two-touchdown lead midway through the third quarter.

The Bears did not threaten to score again until late in the fourth quarter, as Conrad and Friedsam connected on three passes to move the ball down to the Panthers 27-yard line.

But, after a string of incomplete passes, Conrad lofted a ball well over his receivers' heads down the middle, and safety Vinny Ferrari intercepted the pass to seal the Burlingame victory.

Although the Bears were rightfully disappointed with their performance after the game, their coach was still able to put the accomplishment of a PAL Bay co-championship into perspective.

"I couldn't care less about the final score, I'm still proud of my kids and what they've done," Ravipati said. "For a team that won three games last year to be co-champions . . . we're not going to hold our heads in shame at all."

Sacred Heart Prep 52, Aragon 21

The defending champion Gators earned a share of the PAL Bay Division football title with a romp over host Aragon on Friday night.

Senior running back Lapitu Mahoni carried 16 times for 188 yards and scored five touchdowns with fellow senior Andrew Daschbach catching four passes for 159 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown from senior quarterback Mason Randall. Daschbach now has 410 receiving yards on 16 catches with four TDs in his past two games.

Isoa Moimoi added 93 yards rushing on 16 carries with one TD while Randall finished 6-of-10 for 171 yards.

Defensively, Adrien Beaulieu and Zane Elsafy each had 10 tackles for the Gators with David Peterson adding nine.

Hillsdale 34, Menlo School 14

Menlo wrapped up its PAL Ocean Division season with a loss to host Hillsdale on Friday. football team dropped a 34-14 decision on the road to division champ Hillsdale.

Menlo (2-3, 6-3 overall) kept the game tight in the first half. Senior Charlie Roth put Menlo on the board with a 10-yard reception from Mackenzie Morehead with 21 seconds left in the first period.

Hillsdale (5-0, 8-1) then countered with a pair of touchdown passes to start the second period. Menlo's RJ Babiera reeled in a 13-yard pass from Morehead with less than a minute left in the half, but the Knights were stopped in the second half.

JH Tevis and Roth combined for 19 tackles to lead Menlo, each had a sack, and three of Roth's tackles combined for a loss of 12 yards.

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