By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online Sports
Senior running back Erich Wilson rushed for 118 yards on 24 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead Serra to a 42-21 victory over No. 2 Menlo-Atherton in the Central Coast Section Division I football championship game Saturday afternoon at Terra Nova High School.
The win moved the top-seeded Padres to 11-2. M-A concluded its season at 9-4.
Wilson scored three of his TDs on runs of 42, 5 and 4 yards for a Padres' offense that piled up 380 yards on the ground and only 20 through the air.
The Bears' offense scored first when senior running back Cameron Moody tallied an 11-yard touchdown on its first possession of the game. The Padres' offense answered with a 45-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Joey Erdie.
M-A looked tough in the second quarter when senior cornerback Max Culhane picked off Erdie and took M-A to the Serra 12. The Bears scored on their first play after the turnover when senior quarterback Willy Fonua threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Evan Perkins to go into the half 21-21.
M-A committed several key mistakes in the third quarter that turned out to change the course of the game, shifting the momentum to Serra. The Bears were whistled for five penalties totaling 40 yards in the third quarter. There also were several bad snaps from center in the shotgun formation that Fonua had to chase down, resulting in tackles for losses by Serra.
In the fourth quarter, M-A senior running back Taylor Mashack ran for a three-yard gain and hurt himself on the play; he didn't return for the rest of the game. After his mishap, MA's fortunes changed.
Serra scored on its next possession via a 54-yard touchdown run by junior running back Eric Redwood. MA's first play of the next drive was a 38-yard interception runback by Wilson to put the Padres up 42-21 and assure the victory.
Perkins led all receivers with 63 yards and one touchdown. Serra's Eric Redwood was solid, leading all rushers with 142 yards with one touchdown.
"You gotta tip your hat to a team like that," said M-A coach Sione Taufoou. "They played well -- mistake-free football -- and we made some mistakes."
"Great season," said Taufoou. "They (the Bears) played with a lot of pride."