The Menlo School football team is headed back to the CCS championship game after a 34-28 Division V victory over host Seaside on Friday.
Menlo improves to 11-1 and faces Half Moon Bay, a 16-13 winner over Sacred Heart Prep in Friday’s other semifinal. The third-seeded Knights will square off against the fourth seed Cougars (10-2) on Friday or next Saturday at Sequoia High.
Menlo needed a 92-yard drive in the final six minutes to score the game-winning touchdown.
The Cougars handed Menlo its only loss of the season, 36-27, on the last day of September.
“I see it a close game,” Half Moon Bay junior running back Chase Hofmann said. “We have to come out and bring it. They like to throw the ball and our DBs will need to be ready.”
Hofmann, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Gators, went for 238 yards and four touchdowns in the Cougars first meeting with Menlo.
The Cougars pressured Pegley all day and held Charlie Ferguson to 23 yards rushing.
“The plan is to stop Charlie and make sure we keep him contained,” Hofmann said.
Once again, the Knights featured a diversified, multi-threat offense - senior running back Charlie Ferguson grabbed two touchdown catches and ran for another. Junior receiver Aidan Israelski added a rushing touchdown.
For the fourth consecutive week, senior Hayden Pegley has passed for 250-plus yards. Against Seaside, Pegley completed 22 of 46 passes for 378 yards and three TDs.
Evan King again passed the century mark with 163 yards on 10 catches.
Menlo junior Baily Deeter tallied a season-high 17 tackles and a sack. Israelski also collected 12 tackles and made an interception.
Seaside got on the board first when Keishawn Robinson scored the first of his three touchdowns for the day. Then Ferguson's first score - a 77-yard pass from Pegley pulled the Knights to within one 8-7 in the first. Ferguson scored twice - on a run and a reception - in the second quarter and Menlo took command heading into the half.