By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online
Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton won their respective Central Coast Section football playoff openers on Friday night, but Menlo School was eliminated following a 41-7 loss to No. 2-seeded Carmel (11-0) at Pacific Grove High.
Palo Alto (9-2), seeded No. 4 in the Open Division, opened defense of its title with a 20-6 victory over No. 5 Leland (9-2) on a rainy night in Palo Alto. Senior wideout B.J. Boyd caught two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst to lead the Vikings. Dre Hill added a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and finished with 127 yards on 25 carries.
Chryst overcame four interceptions in the first half while dealing with a slippery ball. He was more solid in the second half with his two TD passes, winding up with 169 passing yards while the Paly defense did a standout job by blanking a Leland offense that had been averaging nearly 38 points a game.
Paly will face No. 8 St. Francis (6-5) in the semifinals next Saturday at San Jose City College at 7 p.m. The Lancers upset No. 1 Oak Grove, 20-17, on Friday. In the other semifinal, No. 2 Bellarmine will face No. 6 Mitty on Friday, also at SJCC at 7 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton (8-3), seeded No. 2 in Division I, romped past No. 7 Santa Clara (8-3) by a 40-22 count.
Senior running backs Cameron Moody and Taylor Mashack ran for a combined 156 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bears.
The win moves M-A to a semifinal matchup with No. 6 Salinas (7-4), which held off No. 3 Homestead, 27-26, on Friday. The Bears will host on Friday at 1 p.m..
M-A came right out of the gate - on its first drive senior quarterback Willy Fonua threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Nasciemento to take the immediate 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bears' rushing started to take over in the first half as Moody and Mashack ran for three touchdowns and 57 yards combined.
The Bears scored quickly throughout the first as they took a 30-0 lead into halftime.
Moody carried the offense as he ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns. In the third quarter he ran for a 34-yard touchdown to seal the win.
Fonua was effective in the air as he threw for 152 yards on 7 of 11 passes.
The Bruins couldn't stop the Bears' offense, which produced 361 yards and seven touchdowns. Menlo-Atherton also took advantage of six Santa Clara turnovers -- two being interceptions by M-A safety Austin Clarence, who also had four tackles to lead a quality defense.
Santa Clara senior wide receiver Kingsley Okakpu had a solid game and led all receivers with 125 yards and a touchdown.
"We ran well and everyone ran hard," said M-A coach Sione Taufoou. "The O-line did a good job getting off the ball and we pulled it out.
"(But) We gotta pick it up. We gotta pick up the tempo for next week."
At Pacific Grove High, Menlo School saw its season end in a big loss to unbeaten Carmel (11-0) in the opening round of the CCS Division IV playoffs.
The No. 7-seeded Knights (7-4) gave up 225 rushing yards to Carmel's Devin Pearson, who also threw for 114 more. Menlo sophomore Jack Heneghan threw for 210 yards on 16-of-36 completions and one touchdown, 22 yards to Chris Reed. Connor Statsny had seven catches for 90 yards for Menlo, which fell behind by 34-0.
2011 CCS FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Palo Alto 20, Leland 6
St. Francis 20, Oak Grove 17
Bellarmine 56, Terra Nova 12
Mitty 36, San Benito 0
Friday, Nov. 25
Bellarmine vs. Mitty at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 26
Palo Alto vs. St. Francis at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton 40, Santa Clara 22
Salinas 27, Homestead 26
Milpitas 42, Mountain View 33
Serra 38, Wilcox 6
==Friday, Nov. 26==
Salinas (7-4) at Menlo-Atherton (8-3), 1 p.m.
South San Francisco 31, Willow Glen 23
Pioneer 25, El Camino 0
Los Gatos 62, Leigh 14
Aragon 30, Sobrato 17
St. Ignatius 35, Aptos 31
Sacred Heart Cathedral 37, Monterey 14
Christopher 55, Del Mar 0
Valley Christian 35, Burlingame 21
Friday (All games 7 p.m.)
Palma 35, Soledad 0
Carmel 42, Menlo School 7
Monte Vista Christian 38, Half Moon Bay 11
Sacred Heart Prep 27, Scotts Valley 20
Friday, Nov. 26
Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) vs. Palma (9-1-1) at Salinas Sports Complex, 7 p.m.