The CCS Division IV football playoffs will open Saturday for Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School, but only the Gators will be riding momentum into the postseason following a 35-7 romp over the Knights in the annual Valpo Bowl last Saturday at Sequoia High.
The victory locked up a No. 2 seed for Sacred Heart Prep (8-2), which will host No. 7 Seaside (6-4) on Saturday in a CCS opener at 1 p.m. The loss relegated Menlo (7-3) to a No. 6 seed, which means a trip to No. 3 San Lorenzo Valley (9-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Should SHP and Menlo win their openers, they'll meet in the semifinals like they did last season when Menlo reached the division title game with a 20-14 win.
The Gators, however, appear to have the upper hand this season with their vaunted rushing attack. Tyler McCool (119), Colin Terndrup (112) and Pedro Robinson (105) all surpassed 100 yards on Saturday to take back the Valparaiso Cup, annually awarded to the regular-season winner of this game.
Sacred Heart Prep averaged 6.4 yards for its 54 carries, with Robinson scoring twice. Terndrup, meanwhile, raised his season rushing total to 1,119 yards. Tomas O'Donnell caught a 57-yard TD pass from John Geary that gave SHP a 21-0 lead.
Menlo got a season-high 171 yards on six catches from Tim Benton and 246 passing yards from Robert Wickers, who completed only 12 of 32 attempts and tossed three interceptions while being sacked six times.
Menlo also was limited to just 37 yards rushing, as an injury to two-way lineman Brad Eckert seemed to hurt the Knights.
No. 6 Menlo (7-3) at No. 3 San Lorenzo Valley (9-1), 1 p.m.
No. 7 Seaside (6-4) at No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep (8-2), 1 p.m.
No. 8 King's Academy (6-4) at No. 1 Carmel (9-1), 1 p.m.