The Menlo School football team has always been known for its high-powered offense and that remains the case this season. The defense usually had to take a back seat but those days appear to be in the past.
The Knights defense smothered visiting Woodside, scoring a touchdown and a safety on its own en route to a 51-6 PAL Ocean Division football victory Friday.
Menlo (5-2, 3-0) travels to Hillsdale (7-0, 3-0) for a showdown between unbeaten Knights of shining armor. Another packed house is expected for the second "joust" of the season Friday night at 7 p.m.
Hillsdale beat South San Francisco, 42-7, on Friday. Menlo beat the Warriors, 48-13, two weeks earlier.
It may have been sentimental for the seniors, who were playing their final regular-season home game during homecoming week, though they played like the Wildcats (0-7, 0-3) were trying to take their territory.
"It was a great experience, but I'm going to miss playing," two-way starting lineman Ty Corley said. "This was a great team win, and we hope everyone had fun."
Menlo has outscored their opponents, 127-19, in three league games, and the defense held the Wildcats to 88 total offense yards.
The Knights never trailed in defending their home turf. David Schmaier and Kevin Alarcon connected on a 31-yard scoring toss and the rout was on.
Woodside scored late in the first quarter, on a five-yard pass from Joseph King to Scott Morimoto but then failed on a two-point conversation. It never got any better for the under-manned Wildcats.
Despite injuries to several starters, including quarterback Emilio Simbeck and top running back Aidan Israelski, the Knights simply transitioned to the next man up.
Kevin Alarcon, a poised sophomore, completed 8 of 15 passes for 162 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"Kevin did an amazing job of mixing it up, establishing the run and the passing game," Corley said. "A lot of guys had to step up with other players out, and we got a lot of contributions on offense and defense."
On their first possession, Alarcon led the Knights on a five-play drive that led to the touchdown pass to Schmaier less than two minutes into the quarter.
Landon Smith, also a senior, set up the TD with a 37-yard catch. Alarcon also connected with Schmaier and Kevin Chen on 8- and 64-yard touchdowns in the last four minutes of the second period.
The defense also accounted directly for two of the third-period scores. With a 35-6 halftime lead, Menlo turned the ball over on downs, but then turned around and picked up a safety when Cooper Stewart delivered a sack in the end zone.
Senior JH Tevis had four sacks and has seven in the past two games, and Stewart posted two against Woodside.
Menlo scored four times in the second quarter to pull away quickly. Junior Dillon Grady, who finished with 116 yards in eight carries, scored on a 32-yard run seconds into the second quarter. He finished with a team-high 116 yards in eight carries. After a Tevis sack and Baily Deeter tackle stifled Woodside's drive, Grady broke away for a 47-yard run, and a 21-6 lead with 7:29 left in the period. Grady was also seven of seven on PATs.
Stewart delivered a sack in the end zone to give the Knights a 37-6 advantage. Minutes later, senior Jake Shiff ran in the ball from the 1 for a touchdown, set up by Alarcon's 20-yard pass to Schmaier. The Knights weren't done: seniors Jason Okoro and Baily Deeter force a fumble, and Silas Stewart scored to give Menlo its final advantage with 42 seconds left in the third.