By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Undefeated records are perhaps laying some unrealistic expectations on the Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep football teams at this point in the season.
The Knights (3-0) have won three straight for the first time since 2008 while the Gators are 4-0 for the first time since, well, last year. Neither of those previous perfect stars, however, resulted in Central Coast Section championships.
When Menlo got off quickly in '08, the Knights actually won six straight. After that, however, they lost five straight and finished a disappointing 6-5.
When SHP won its first four games last season, the Gators wound up 8-4 and fell in the section semifinals. So much for perfect starts.
While it's way too early (and unrealistic) to be talking about unbeaten seasons, what is noteworthy about the 2012 season for both teams is about their numbers.
Menlo has outscored the opposition 178-52, averaging a gaudy 59.3 points a game. Sacred Heart Prep has put up 170 points against just nine for the opposition, averaging 42.5 points an outing. For two teams that lost plenty to graduation, those numbers are impressive.
Then again, the combined record of both teams' opponents is 4-20. Thus, the success of each squad is yet to be determined.
Menlo will host Mills in a nonleague game Friday at 3:15 p.m., before beginning PAL Ocean Division action next week. SHP has a bye this week and will open PAL Bay Division play on Oct. 5 against visiting Burlingame before traveling to always-tough Terra Nova on Oct. 12 for its toughest game to date.
Clearly, there are tougher games ahead for both and remaining healthy will be crucial.
"In 2008, we had a litany of injuries to great players (Jerry Rice Jr., UCLA, Ryan O'Holleran, UC Davis, Nick Lycette, Cornell, Danny Diekroeger, Stanford baseball) and we ran into better teams in the second half of the season," said Menlo coach Mark Newton. "This (2012) group has a tremendous understanding of what we are trying to do offensively, defensively, and with our special teams. In addition to how hard they have worked, they have great team chemistry, solid play at every position, and they have benefited from consistency and messaging that is on the same page from our coaching staff, for their three or four years in the program."
Despite coming off a bye week, the Knights' offense picked up where it left off in a 56-14 nonleague romp over host Half Moon Bay (1-3) last Friday night.
After four blowout wins, the Sacred Heart Prep football team finally may discover just how good it is when the Gators open the PAL Bay Division season. They'll have to wait a week, however, while enjoying their bye week.
Sacred Heart Prep (4-0) made its final tuneup a good one with a 42-0 romp over visiting King's Academy last Saturday.
Palo Alto (2-1) will host Milpitas on Friday (7:30 p.m.) to open the SCVAL De Anza Division season at 7:30 p.m.
Gunn (2-2) will open SCVAL El Camino Division action by hosting Lynbrook at 7:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton (2-2) will have a bye this week after snapping a two-game losing streak with a 13-7 win over visiting South San Francisco last week.
Priory (3-0) also will have a bye week following a 64-20 romp over Alma Heights last week.