Knights, Gators score early and often to win home openers


Aidan Israelski returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, sparking a huge first quarter for the Menlo School football team en route to a 56-6 nonleague victory over visiting Robert Louis Stevenson on Saturday.

Sacred Heart Prep also earned a big win in its home opener, beating Sobrato 42-6. The Gators (1-1) host Hillsdale on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Israelski scored three times in the first quarter and the Knights (1-1) scored five times.

Menlo travels to the Oakland hills to play Piedmont on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"We talked about it since last season, how we wanted to be setting the tone early," Israelski said. "(Stevenson) fought and they came out to play. We kept to playing Menlo football and really came together as a team."

Menlo needed just over three minutes to grab a 21-0 lead, using a blocked punt and an interception to set up touchdowns.

David Schmaier blocked a Pirates' punt attempt and then stayed on the field to pull in a 13-yard touchdown pass from fellow senior Emilio Simbeck.

On Stevenson's next possession, junior Dillon Grady picked off a pass that gave the Knights possession on the Pirates' 20. Two players later, Israelski ran it in from the five for a 28-0 lead.

"The offensive and defensive lines were lights out," Israelski said. "Being a running back, they made it so much easier for me. They opened up holes that I could drive my car through ... and I have a big car."

Israelski also scored again five minutes and Dillon Grady returned a fumble for a touchdown with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter.

Grady was active in the first quarter, making all five PAT attempts. He was 8-for-8 for the game.

Kevin Alarcon, Conor McCusker and Jake Shiff each added rushing touchdowns for Menlo.

SH Prep 42, Sobrato 6

Sacred Heart Prep scored a pair of touchdowns in each of the three quarters played Saturday. The game ended early due to heat conditions.

Junior John Willard rushed for 62 yards and scored three touchdowns to pace the Gators' rushing attack, which totaled 225 on 22 carries.

Quarterback Brad Yaffe scored on a 58-yard run and passed for another touchdown, a 23-yard strike to Kyle Cody.

Brian Tinsley added 56 rushing yards, including a 47-yard scoring run.

Yaffe was 7-of-15 for 117 yards. Garrett Gavello caught four passes for 70 yards.

Jack Donnelly led the defense with six tackles, five solo, including one for a loss.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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