By Rick Eymer
Robert Wickers could have thrown for whatever he wanted in Menlo School's 49-0 nonleague football victory over visiting St. Elizabeth (Oakland) on Saturday night at Woodside High.
Instead, he took it easy, taking the second half off and watching backup Tommy Ford drive the Knights (3-1) to one final touchdown.
Former Menlo School and Stanford star John Paye, an assistant with Knights' coach Mark Newton, must have been impressed. Paye and Newton were both top-notch signalcallers for Menlo, as was Danny Diekroeger, last year's star now at Stanford.
Wickers, who stumbled out of the starting gate in Menlo's first game of the season, has swiftly made up for any mistakes. He was firing on all cylinders against the Mustangs, needing nine completions in 12 attempts to gain 173 yards and four touchdowns. For good measure he also rushed for a 45-yard touchdown on his only running attempt.
Menlo and St. Elizabeth are former league rivals. The Knights were originally in the Bay League. Paye led the Knights to a North Coast Section title in Menlo's first year with the league.
These days Menlo competes in the PAL Ocean Division, roughly the same quality of the old Bay League. Having Paye and Newton around must be amazing for Wickers, who can draw on their experiences.
Wickers will likely see plenty more playing time when Menlo opens division play in two weeks at Half Moon Bay. The Knights don't play next weekend.
Brad Eckert was a major reason why the Mustangs never scored. The senior linebacker recovered three fumbles (one was of a teammate) and forced another that Sean Hoag snagged. He also recorded a sack, plenty of tackles for a loss and generally made a nuisance of himself in the Mustangs' backfield.
Tim Benton got the Knights off to a flying start, returning the opening kickoff 84 yards for a score. He also caught the first of Wickers' touchdown passes, a 25-yard scoring play.
Wickers spread the wealth around. He also completed touchdown passes of 25 yards to John Shanley, 20 yards to Phil Anderson and one yard to Ford.
Beau Nichols was also a part-time participant. He wrapped up duties with 91 rushing yards on seven carries, all in the first half.
Menlo kicker Kamyaar Butt had a terrific game, making good on all seven of his PAT attempts and even kicking off a couple into the end zone.
The Knights gained 430 total yards, equally distributed among running (204 yards) and passing 226 yards).