Just when you think you have the Sacred Heart Prep football team figured out, the Gators throw you a curve. Or, more to the point, some accurate passes.
Despite developing a reputation as team with a dominating rushing attack, Sacred Heart Prep isn't afraid to throw. The Gators proved that Friday in a 31-15 nonleague victory over visiting Scotts Valley.
With senior Jack Larson picking apart the Falcons' secondary with accurate 11-of-15 passing for 225 yards and two touchdowns, Sacred Heart Prep improved to 4-0 heading into its bye week.
After rushing for more than 300 yards last week, the Gators' ground game was pretty much held in check by Scotts Valley. SHP did gain 130 yards on the ground, but no single player rushed for more than 50 yards -- somewhat of a rarity for the Gators.
Thus, Sacred Heart Prep turned to its passing game and defense, and both responded.
The defense, led by linebackers Fatu Tupou, Hank Robson and Luke Thomas, limited the Falcons to just three points in the first half as the Gators grabbed a 24-3 lead. Thomas even contributed to that offensively with a three-yard TD plunge.
Defensive back A.J. Chamorro also had a hand in the victory, scooping up a fumbled lateral and returning it 16 yards for a score in the opening half. Chamorro also picked off a pass.
Larson was efficient with his season-high 225 passing yards, tossing a 51-yard scoring strike to senior Pat Bruni in the fourth quarter to wrap things up. That was the Gators' only offense of the half after they struggled with only three first downs after intermission.
Bruni finished with seven catches for 179 yards, both career highs. He also caught a 30-yarder during an 83-yard touchdown drive that gave the Gators a 17-3 lead. Will Morgan latched on to a 15-yarder in the end zone for a 24-3 advantage.
Menlo 35, Hillsdale 7
Getting a 92-yard touchdown runs from Dylan Mayer on the first play from scrimmage, the Knights rolled to their third straight victory on Friday night with a nonleague triumph at Woodside High.
Menlo (3-0) also forced four first-half turnovers to grab a 21-7 lead.
Menlo coach Mark Newton gave quarterback Jack Heneghan his first start and the sophomore responded with decent numbers and plenty of poise. He completed nine of 20 passes for 92 yards and rushed six times for another 73, including a 45-yard TD scamper in the third quarter.
Hillsdale did tie the game in the second quarter, but Menlo responded and took the lead for good. On its next possession, the Knights converted a fake punt on a fourth-and-three when Wiley Osborne tossed to Connor Stastny to keep the drive going. Mayer capped it with a two-yard run.
The Knights also converted a fumble recovery by Nick Schultz on Hillsdale's next series into an 11-yard scoring run by Mayer, who finished with 110 yards on 10 carries.
Heneghan made it 28-7 in the third period when he couldn't find a receiver and decided to run, finding a hole and racing 45 yards for the score. He also threw an eight-yard pass to Stastny to wrap things up in the fourth quarter.
Palo Alto 45, Gunn 14
Seniors B.J. Boyd and Morris Gates-Mouton combined for five touchdowns as the visiting Vikings rolled over the Titans (0-3) in a nonleague showdown on Friday night.
Boyd caught 66- and 72-yard TD passes from Keller Chryst and added a 58-yard return on an onsides kick while finishing with three receptions for 146 yards.
Gates-Mouton gave the Vikings (2-1) a 7-0 lead on a one-yard run and capped a 20-point first-quarter outburst with a three-run scoring run. Palo Alto held a 39-7 halftime lead. Justin Grey contributed to that total by returning a Gunn punt 59 yards for a TD.
Gunn quarterback Andre Guzman, a junior transfer from Paly, completed 10 of 21 passes for a career-high 203 yards and TDs of 21 yards to Skyler Larson and 19 to Kareem Farwal. Guzman, however, also tossed three interceptions, with junior Jayshawn Gates-Mouton picking off two.
Menlo-Atherton 35, Half Moon Bay 17
Senior running back Taylor Mashack scored five touchdowns, four by rushing and one on a 90-yard interception return, to lead the visiting Bears to a come-from-behind victory in nonleague football action Friday night.
Mashack carried 15 times for 172 yards on 15 carries, which helped the Bears (2-2) hold off the Cougars as HMB out-gained M-A in total offense, 433-264. Half Moon Bay, however, hurt itself with four second-half turnovers that allowed M-A to bounce back from a 17-14 halftime deficit.
Menlo-Atherton was able to convert three of the four miscues into points, the biggest being Mashack's 90-yard interception return. The victory was important for the Bears, who had dropped their past two games.