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By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online Sports
The historic showdown is all set in the Central Coast Section Division IV football playoffs: Sacred Heart Prep against Menlo School.
For the first time ever, the two neighborhood rivals will meet for a section championship in football. That will happen next Saturday at Terra Nova High in Pacifica at 7 p.m.
Menlo School set up one half of the showdown with a 41-27 upset of top-seeded Seaside on Friday night. Sacred Heart Prep took care of the other half with a 47-17 semifinal triumph over No. 6 Soquel on Saturday on the Gators' field.
Second-seeded Sacred Heart improved to 11-1 overall while Soquel ended its season at 9-3. Fourth-seeded Menlo will take a 10-2 mark into the finale.
The Gators have chance to set a school record for most single-season wins by winning next weekend. SHP finished 11-1-1 after losing to Sacred Heart Cathedral in the '08 finals. Menlo is averaging 48.5 points in two CCS wins while SHP is averaging 46 points per game in the postseason.
"I thought the defense today controlled their running back today," said Sacred Heart coach Peter Lavorato. "Offensively, we ran the ball well, too."
Soquel junior running back Fabiano Hale finished the season with 2,340 yards and 41 touchdowns. Hale was held to 125 yards by Sacred Heart's tenacious defense.
The Gators came out strong on their second drive of the game when senior quarterback Kevin Donahoe connected with wide receiver Rex Shannon for an 81-yard touchdown putting SHP up 14-3 after the first quarter. Shannon, who came into the game with 285 yards and three touchdowns, finished with 134 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
"Kevin Donahoe played absolutely unbelievable," said Shannon. "He threw some great balls, so I've got to give the credit to him."
Donahoe found a wide-open Shannon again for a 22-yard touchdown putting the Gators up 33-10 to end the first half. Donahoe completed five of six passes for 151 yards in the first half alone.
The strong Sacred Heart running game came into full effect in the second half when junior Andrew Segre ran in for a 14-yard touchdown to widen the gap for the Gators, 40-17. Segre and senior Ryan Gaertner combined for 206 total yards.
In the fourth quarter Segre muscled his way in for a four-yard touchdown to put the Gators up 47-17, He finished with 99 yards and three touchdowns.
"I can't describe how excited I am," said Donahoe. "Our whole goal this year was to make it to CCS finals, and then the fact that we play a team that's our crosstown rival -- it's going to be a lot of fun."