Menlo News October 13, 2023

Football (7-0) wins duel between unbeaten teams

Menlo defeats Hillsdale 19-13

Menlo's Harry Housser pulls in a pass for a gain against Hillsdale

In a duel between unbeaten teams, Menlo School football picked up a hard-fought 19-13 Peninsula Athletic League-DeAnza Division victory over a persistent Hillsdale team for homecoming Friday.
With the win, Menlo improves to 7-0 overall, 3-0 league, and plays The King’s Academy on the road Friday.
Menlo would collect all its points in the second quarter. Knights quarterbacks - senior Mikey McGrath and sophomore Jack Freehill - used eight receivers to engineer a second-quarter charge while Menlo’s defense staved off a Hillsdale comeback attempt in the second half.
“Going into this game, it was everything or nothing,” defensive end and tight end Bradford Tudor said. “If we lost this game, I think we would have lost our momentum. It was important. We grinded all week. Everyone did a great job on the team and I think going into it, we were fired up and that manifested into a 19-0 lead at half.”
Menlo broke a 0-0 tie with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that started late first quarter and ended with sophomore quarterback Jack Freehill finding senior Brady Jung for a 23-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Freehill connected twice with Nicky Scacco and Willis Johnson had an 11-yard run to set up the score.
The Knights pass defense shut down Hillsdale on the next possession and Menlo senior Mikey McGrath went to work. With all three of Menlo’s quarterbacks in at times, McGrath found Freehill then Jack Enright to move down the field before taking the ball in from the 1-yard line for a 13-0 lead with 10:28 left in the half.
On the next possession, Hillsdale drove to the Menlo 9 before Menlo pressured the Fighting Knights into turning over the ball on downs with junior Jamie Forese, Harry Housser and senior Bradford Tudor. In what would be Hillsdale’s final possession before the half, Menlo defense halted the Fighting Knights at midfield with Jack Enright picking up a tackle for a 4-yard loss and Hillsdale threw the ball away with more than a minute before the half, giving Menlo time to engineer a final scoring drive before the half .
Menlo pieced together a seven-play, 75-yard drive with McGrath rushing, a completion to Nicky Scacco before McGrath fired in a beautiful pass to Housser who with an acrobatic catch came up with the ball while being essentially triple-covered in the right-side of the end zone with 2 seconds left.
Housser finished with four catches for 82 yards and Jung had five catches for 80 yards. McGrath completed 11 of 15 for 171 yards and a rushing touchdown, and Freehill was 14 of 21 for 105 yards and a passing TD. Senior running back Willis Johnson powered his way to 70 yards in 14 carries.
Hillsdale came out of the half and KC Chavinson recovered on an onside kick for Menlo, which didn’t convert, but Hillsdale did start to chip away at the lead. Hillsdale got its first score when Erick Waugh threw a 30-yard TD pass to Dante Allendorf with 8:35 left. Jung blocked the extra-point attempt. Early in the fourth, Waugh ran it in from the 1 with 9 minutes left in the game. Hillsdale later got the ball back on its own 46 but Scacco immediately made an interception, the Menlo defense held and kept its unbeaten streak alive.

“Coming out of the half, we let the energy down a little bit, they started coming back. Energy got a little low there but our leaders stepped up, making good plays and being seniors, knowing this is an important game,” Tudor said., “They stepped up, we brought the energy back up and we finished the game off.”

Menlo School 0 19 0 0 - 19
Hillsdale 0 0 6 7 - 13

Second quarter
M - Brady Jung 23 pass from Jack Freehill (Tyler Fernandez kick) 11:54
M - Mikey McGrath 1 run (pass failed) 10:28
M - Harry Housser 25 pass from McGrath (kick failed) :02

Third quarter
H: Dante Allendorf 30 pass from Erick Waugh (kick blocked), 8:35

Fourth quarter
H: .Waugh 1 run (Drew Rollolazzo kick), 9:09 left