By Rick Eymer
It doesn't matter one whit to senior linebacker Hunter Shaw that Sacred Heart Prep plays Menlo School in next week's Central Coast Section Division IV football semifinals.
The Gators scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to turn a nailbiter into party time, beating visiting Seaside, 49-20, Saturday in the opening round of the CCS playoffs.
It seemed the harder it rained the better Sacred Heart Prep played and the more it took advantage of Spartans' mistakes.
Meanwhile, Menlo beat host San Lorenzo Valley, 38-10, followed a disappointing end to its regular season, a 35-7 setback to the Gators in the annual Valpo Bowl.
"We're ready to play Menlo as we would any team," Shaw said. "We'd play as hard as we could no matter what. It's the playoffs."
Shaw had himself a pretty good defensive game for the Gators, flying in to tackle a running back on a fourth-down-and goal play, recovering a fumble that led to a touchdown and recording a handful of sacks.
Fatu Tupou, Bo Sakowski, Will Gotcher, Leo Koloamatangi, Duke Moran and Luke Thomas were also prominent figures on defense.
"We had a good week of practice," Shaw said. "We had plenty of reps and were able to read plays. We played with a lot of heart."
Pedro Robinson rushed for 152 of his 181 yards in the second half, scored three third-quarter touchdowns, and helped the Gators record 417 total rushing yards.
Sacred Heart Prep, with the help of an onside kick and two fumbles, scored 21 points in the span of two minutes, 20 seconds at the beginning of the second half. What looked to be an offensive slugfest turned into a one-sided scoring spree.
"We saw something that was wide open," Robinson said. "Luckily, I was getting some great blocking."
Colin Terndrup gained 119 yards on 13 carries, while Tyler McCool and Robert Ojeda combined for another 95 yards. The trio also added three scores. John Geary also scored.