Cougars remain on the football prowl after taking down M-A


Some questions were answered Friday night at Half Moon Bay High, where the home team Cougars defeated Menlo-Atherton 28-10 in a PAL Bay Division football contest.

Half Moon Bay, winners of 10 straight dating to a loss to Terra Nova last year, is legit. Never mind the three PAL Lake teams on its schedule. The crazy point differential amassed over the first six games of the season (320-29) is a true indicator of the quality of the team.

Half Moon Bay won last year's PAL Ocean Division and then went on to win the CCS Division V title, handing Menlo its only two losses of the season, including 41-24 in the championship game.

“I really think they can win CCS Open Division III and go to a state bowl game,’’ Menlo-Atherton coach Adhir Ravipati said.

And M-A, well, M-A has some work to do. The 56 points scored against Los Gatos and the 42 scored against Sacred Heart Prep were a misleading representation of the team’s offense. The Bears have returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and had a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Excellent individual talent and explosive big-play ability, but sustained drives have been lacking.

“When we have scored on offense it’s been on a 50-yard run or a pass that goes to the house,’’ Ravipati said. “We’ve been real inconsistent on offense, have had a hard time finding a rhythm. We had third and 20 multiple times today. A big focus for the coaching staff will be to get that cleaned up.’’

Half Moon Bay’s triple option offense is very difficult to defend. The Cougars rushed for 217 yards and got three touchdowns from fullback Chase Hofmann, who now has scored 23 on the season. Quarterback Gavin Tomberlin, a third-year starter, like Hofmann and several other Cougars, added 57 yards on nine carries.

“To play against a great team like M-A, being from a small town like we are, means the world to us,’’ Tomberlin said.

Half Moon Bay (7-0, 2-0) is now set for a PAL Bay showdown with Aragon, which improved to 7-0 and 3-0 after a 14-8 win over Burlingame.

Menlo-Atherton (4-3, 2-1) was limited to 81 yards on the ground. QB Miles Conrad completed 16 of 26 passes for 175 yards.

“We’re not a very good football team right now,’’ Ravipati said. “But the season isn’t over. We’re not out of the league championship chase.’’

HMB took a 3-0 lead on the first of two field goals by Dylan Williams, who also booted every kickoff into the end zone, neutralizing Nick Anderson, M-A’s dangerous return specialist.

Hofmann’s first touchdown, an 18-yard run, made it 9-0. And then the Cougars went for two and succeeded on a run by Tomberlin to make it 11-0.

Spencer Corona, who scored all 10 of M-A’s points, got the Bears on the board before halftime with a 40-yard field goal.

A 49-yard field goal by Williams and a Hofmann TD made it 21-3. Conrad hit Corona with a 30-yard touchdown pass, but that was the extent of M-A’s rally.

“We just need to keep grinding and hopefully show some progress,’’ Ravipati said. “We have a very young football team. Hopefully we can learn from this experience.’’

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