Sergio Beltran continued his record-setting season with three more touchdown passes and three more rushing touchdowns in Menlo School’s 45-35 victory Friday over top-seed San Benito in the semifinal of the Central Coast Section Division II football playoffs.
Beltran had to be at his best. The lead changed hands six times before Sam Scola caught a 30-yard touchdown pass with just over three minutes to play to put the Knights ahead 38-35.
A key play on the go-ahead drive was a 20-yard pass to Charlie King on third down.
Menlo was able to score again because San Benito failed to convert a fourth-down play from its own 20-yard line.
Menlo (12-0) will face Wilcox (8-4) for the championship at a site and time to be determined. Wilcox beat St. Ignatius 20-13 on Friday.
Beltran completed 35 of 43 passes for 368 yards, throwing the ball to six different receivers.
"We showed that we can play all four quarters," Beltran said. "I think also we just have to remember that when we mess up not to let it get in our head. We just have to keep our foot on the gas and keep on driving forward. I think we did a great job of that in the second half."
Beltran has thrown 51 touchdown passes this season, a Central Coast Section season record.
"It's something special to see all your boys cheering for you," Beltran said. "Football is just an amazing game, a game of love. I mean how can you not love football? I'm just glad we pulled away with the win and it's just a great moment all together."
Scola also caught a 63-yard touchdown and his interception led to another Menlo touchdown.
Robby Enright was on the receiving end of a 31-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
Beltran also scored on runs of 8-yards, 3-yards, and 1-yard.
Ross Muchnick opened the scoring with a 30-yard field goal. He was also 6-of-6 on PATs.
Jack Giesler ran for a key first down to set up a touchdown.
"I think the biggest thing we had to do was we had to shift to what maximized us the most," Menlo linebacker linebacker Aidan Housenbold said. "We lost a couple guys to injury for a bit, so we had to switch back to an even front. We struggled with that a bit at the start, but I think we had that 'next man up' mentality, with different guys stepping up."