Menlo News October 27, 2023

Football (9-0) wraps up league with 5-0 mark

Knights shut out Half Moon Bay 33-0

Menlo's Harry Houser (7) and Mikey McGrath celebrate after connecting on 1 50-yard touchdown against Half Moon Bay

The Menlo School football team punctuated a perfect 5-0 Peninsula Athletic League DeAnza record with an exclamation point after a 33-0 victory over Half Moon Bay on Friday night.
The Knights (9-0) have one game remaining - a rivalry game with Sacred Heart Prep at home Friday night.
At Half Moon Bay, the short-handed Knights got started quickly on the first possession when senior quarterback Mikey McGrath found senior Harry Housser for a 50-yard touchdown catch. The play was made possible after junior Jaime Forese knocked the ball out and senior Nicky Scacco recovered before Scacco and McGrath got the Knights to midfield with big runs.
After that, the teams remained locked with the Knights up 7-0 at halftime.
McGrath completed 6 of 12 passes for 159 yards and three touchdown passes to three receivers. Fellow senior Willis Johnson tallied 60 yards in nine carries and two touchdowns while junior Ryan Jabal picked up 91 yards in three catches. With its defense posting two shutouts this season, Menlo has outscored its opponents 270-96.

“They’ve been playing spirited, intelligent, tough and resilient. I was thinking about this other day,” said Coach Todd Smith, whose team was playing short-handed due to injuries, “Their ability to battle back when in bad situations. Half Moon May has a really good plan especially in the first half. Their ability to force fumbles when it counted. There were two turnovers that if we don’t get those, it could have been a different football game.”
Knights junior Tyler Fernandez and sophomore Palmer Riley knocked the ball loose and recovered on the Cougars’ next possession. The Knights did’t convert, but held HMB in check, including a stop at the Knights’ 14. Riley, senior Bradford Tudor, juniors Jack Enright and Jabal made stops inside the 20 to force a turnover on downs in the second quarter.
Right after halftime, the Knights extended their lead to 14-0 after McGrath took two plays - Jabal with a 15-yard catch then found Jabal again for a 60-yard catch and run down the middle 19 seconds into the second half. Jabal then made the stop on the kickoff return, pinning the Cougars at their 26.
On Menlo’s next drive, McGrath fired a pass to Scacco, who bolted for a 32-yard score and the Knights led 20-0. Just before the end of the third, Menlo would make make sure they scored on every possession of the third quarter. with HMB on fourth-and-short, Scacco made an interception and senior Willis Johnson rumbled in the end zone from the 2 for a 26-0 lead with 15 seconds left till fourth quarter.
The Knights defense didn’t let the Cougars past midfield then put together one last scoring drive. Johnson set himself up for a score with two rushes to get to the 9, before a Ben Salama-Tyler Fernandez pass got the Knights to the 2 and Johnson ran in for his second touchdown behind powerful line.

Menlo - School 7 0 19 7 - 33
Half Moon Bay 0 0 0 0 - 0

First quarter
M -Harry Housser 50 pass from Mikey McGrath (Andre Gonzalez Lombera kick) 7:32

Third quarter
M -Ryan Jabal 60 pass from McGrath (Gonzalez Lombera kick) 11:41
M- Nicky Scacco 32 pass from McGrath (no kick) 7:24
M - Wills Johnson 2 run (pass failed) :15

Fourth quarter
M - Johnson 2 run (Gonzalez Lombera kick) 4:08