Gators find some positives in football loss to the Cougars | News | Palo Alto Online |


Gators find some positives in football loss to the Cougars


Half Moon Bay High comes by its undefeated record honestly -- if the Cougars' running game or special teams don't grind you down, their passing game will. That's how you get to be 10-0 ... with a healthy dose of balance and fury.

But Sacred Heart Prep gave a good accounting of itself on Friday in Atherton, making a game of it and keeping things in doubt until finally succumbing, 40-26.

Garrett Gavello/Bob Dahlberg.
Now it's a waiting game for the Gators to see if their season will last another weekend.

"I'm proud of our effort today, and I just hope we get another shot in the playoffs," said SHP head coach Mark Grieb, whose team actually got off to a 6-0 lead. "It depends what happens in San Jose on Sunday. I think that if they pick us, we can do some things."

That's when the CCS playoff committee decides the at-large teams. PAL Bay Division champion Half Moon Bay (10-0, 5-0) gets an automatic bid, most likely as the No. 1 seed in Open Division III.

The top four teams in the PAL Bay get automatic berths. Sacred Heart Prep (3-7, 1-4) finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with Burlingame and Terra Nova. CCS power points will determine which team gets the automatic berth and which teams will be reduced to hoping for an at-large berth.

The Gators were actually impressive in the air once they got going on Friday, as Brad Yaffe was 20-of-26 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, and along with his team's two lost fumbles, that spelled doom for the hosts.

The big problem for the Gators was a lack of a running game. Aside from Yaffe's 24-yard scramble in the fourth quarter, nothing much happened, as HMB's defensive line dominated the afternoon. SHP got only 75 yards on the ground on 19 carries.

"That's a good football team over there," Grieb said of the Cougars. "The thing about Half Moon Bay is that if you make one little mistake, they make you pay for it. Our kids played hard, but we made some mistakes."

One of the biggest was an interception that was brought back to the SHP 48 late in the third quarter. The Gators already trailed 26-12 at the time, and could ill afford the resulting four-play drive that culminated in a 26-yard scoring pass and a 33-12 HMB lead.

SHP would have two more scores in the game -- Yaffe's two-yard TD run (80-yard drive, with Dominic Cacchione's 37-yard reception being the big play) and Kyle Cody's 17-yard scoring reception with 3:45 left in the game. But it was too little, too late.

Cody had given the Gators a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on his 20-yard TD reception from Yaffe.

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