Football (12-1) closes season in CCS Championship
The Menlo football team closed the curtains on a historical season, falling 54-20 in the CCS Div. II Championship on Saturday at Westmont High.
The Knights finished the season 12-1 - their only loss coming in the championship match-up. This came, after picking off Half Moon Bay in the opening round of playoffs, then top seed San Benito on the road.
“Sure, we’re disappointed the way things went, but I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said second-year Menlo head coach Todd Smith, whose teams have gone 16-2 the past two seasons. “We have a small group and these kids work their tails off. They’ve done everything we asked them to do. They deserve every good thing they accomplished this year.”
- The Knights are CCS Div. II finalists, qualifying for the highest division in school history.
- Menlo went undefeated to the CCS Championship game, falling only to Wilcox, to finish 12-1.
- Sergio Beltran became the all-time CCS leader in touchdown passes, finishing with 52 this season. He topped the CCS record in the regular season - which stood since 1989 - with one regular-season game left.
- The team was honored with the CCS Scholastic Team Award, recognizing the top-five teams with the highest collective GPAs in the section for their sport.
“The team was insane individually - so many of these guys but then we came together as a whole,” Menlo senior receiver and linebacker Sam Scola said. “We’re a small school - we don’t have a lot of kids, but the kids we do have made it all worth it. It was a great season, just wish we ended in a win.”
Menlo toppled Sacred Heart Prep to take the Valparaiso Bowl for the first time since 2016 , and with its high-octane offense and stingy defense, outscored its opponents 561-213; more than half of its points-against coming in postseason.
“The tightness of relationships between players and coaches was one of the biggest reasons why we were so successful,” Menlo senior Jack Giesler said. “Those relationships made us care and trust each other a lot more. So, when it came to practices and games we wanted to play hard for each other and our coaches, and when our team was having a difficult time our relationships allowed us to work past adversity.”
The Knights scored to open three quarters, starting with the game’s opening drive when they marched 69 yards in 10 plays, finishing with a 19-yard pass over the middle from Beltran to junior Robby Enright.
Wilcox (9-4) countered immediately, however with Luther Glenn’s first of five touchdowns for the day - this on a 61-yard run for a 7-6 lead. The Chargers scored twice more in the quarter.
After Enright collected his first of two blocked PAT attempts, the Knights opened the second period, and on 11 plays, culminated with senior Jack Giesler running off left tackle for a 3-yard score, and the Knights trailed 20-12. Beltran’s passes to Scola, Carter Jung and Enright helped the Knights’ 80-yard drive.
Beltran completed 22 of 42 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown, and 15 carries for 83 yards and another TD. Enright made eight catches for 132 yards and a touchdown while Jung had five catches for 67 yards. Scola six catches for 61 yards while Giesler had three catches for 22 yards and a pair of rushes for nine yards and a TD.
Wilcox recovered the onside kick to start the second half, but Menlo forced the Chargers three and out. Then, Beltran engineered a 12-play, 81-yard drive. Beltran ended up running it in from the 2, then found senior Carter Jung for the two-point conversion with 2:32 left in the third, giving another hope for a big second-half comeback. Enright had catches of 18 and 21 and Beltran had a 24-yard rush to key the drive.
Wilcox scored on consecutive drives in the third quarter to complete the game’s scoring.
Menlo 6 6 8 0 - 20
Wilcox 20 21 13 0 - 54
M – Robby Enright 19 pass from Sergio Beltran (kick failed), 9:34
W – Luther Glenn 61 run (Anthan Wingate kick) 9:11
W – Andrew Palacios 2 run (Wingate kick) 5:28
W – Glenn 14 run (kick blocked) 2:24
M – Jack Giesler 3 run (pass failed) 11:23
W – Glenn 26 run (Wingate kick) 7:58
W – Palacios 7 run (Wingate kick) 3:47
W – Mitchell Gonzales from Armand Johnson (Wingate kick) :28
M – Beltran 2 run (Carter Jung pass from Beltran) 7:32
W – Glenn 34 run (Wingate kick) 2:34
W – Glenn 18 run (kick blocked) 1:03