Palo Alto got one result it wanted but not the other as the Vikings' hope for the top seed out of the SCVAL De Anza Division football race took a hard hit on Friday night.
Paly did what it had control of -- toppling visiting Saratoga on homecoming, 51-34. While the victory kept the Vikings (4-1, 6-2) tied for first place in the division, the co-leader is Milpitas and not Los Gatos.
Palo Alto needed the Wildcats to win on Friday in order to knock Milpitas out of the race for first place. The Vikings, by virtue of their win over Los Gatos last week, then would hold the tiebreaker over the Wildcats and earn a berth in the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs.
Milpitas (4-1, 6-2) ruined those plans by handing host Los Gatos a 17-15 loss on Friday night. The Wildcats fell to 3-2 (4-4) as the Trojans took control of the division, by virtue of their earlier win over Paly.
The Vikings did their best by winning their fourth straight since the loss to Milpitas. Junior Andrew Frick scored on runs of four and three yards, the second TD providing the eventual winning points as Paly grabbed a 38-13 lead with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. A 33-yard screen pass from junior quarterback Keller Chryst to senior Matt Tolbert set up the TD by Frick.
Paly senior Justin Gates-Mouton scored on a 50-yard run and returned an interception 66 yards for another score and Chryst tossed touchdown passes of 36 yards to Malcolm Davis and 12 yards to D'Antay Williams.
Tolbert added a 21-yard touchdown run and James Foug kicked a 25-yard field goal to round out the wild offensive night that saw the Vikings give up a season high in points to the pass-happy Falcons. Saratoga came into the game averaging 316 passing yards a game.
Chryst finished 17-of-28 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Tolbert gained 78 yards on 15 carries and caught three passes for 61 yards.
Menlo School 56, Sequoia 21
Behind Jack Heneghan's seven touchdowns -- four passing -- and 500-plus total team yards, the high-octane Knights put up big numbers again against the visiting Cherokees.
The teams entered the PAL Ocean Division showdown with identical records, but the Knights emerged with a 3-1 league mark and are 7-1 overall.
Heneghan, a junior, completed 31 of 41 passes for 393 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. He added three more touchdown, rolling up 74 rushing yards.
Connor Stastny made it a trifecta, catching three of Heneghan's throws for TDs in the first quarter alone. He finished with eight catches for 112 yards. Will King had four receptions for 100 yards and Connor Paterson reeled in six catches for 82 yards.
Four plays into the game, Menlo got on the board, fueled by King's 20-yard catch. Heneghan hit Stastny for a 23-yard score. On their next possession, the Knights used an 11-play, 51-yard drive that culminated in another Heneghan-to-Stastny TD.
Sequoia quarterback Mike Taylor followed with a 47-yard breakaway then took advantage of a fumble recovery to score on the ensuing drive with 1:44 left in the quarter.
The Knights wasted no time: Heneghan completed five of his next six passes, moving the ball 75 yards with passes to four receivers and finding Stastny again for a TD.
Menlo never looked back. Defensive back and backup quarterback Matt Bradley stopped Sequoia's drive at Menlo's 16 with an interception, which led to Heneghan's first rushing score.
After the Knights scored, the teams traded fumbles. Menlo junior Travis Chambers had a tremendous play -- blocking a punt that he then curled around and caught, setting up another Menlo score and a 35-14 lead. Christian Pluchar's second fumble recovery led to another score and the Knights with a commanding 41-14 lead. The Knights got the ball back once more before the half -- Heneghan found King for a 58-yard pass to set up a 20-yard scoring strike to Peter Bouret for a 34-point halftime lead.
Pam McKenney/Menlo Sports Information
Gunn 33, Cupertino 6
The Titans wrapped up their home season by winning their fourth straight game while remaining tied for first place in the SCVAL El Camino Division with a solid victory over the Pioneers on Friday.
On a night where Gunn's 19 seniors were honored, it was junior running back Sean Lydster who made it a night worth celebrating. Lydster scored three touchdowns, including a 70-yard run that opened the scoring late in the first quarter.
Gunn quarterback Andre Guzman found Kevin Sharp on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Titans up 14-0, but Cupertino bounced back with a TD for a 14-6 game at halftime.
Lydster gave the momentum back to the Titans with a 35-yard touchdown run in the third period. The Titans never looked back as two more rushing touchdowns -- from Lydster and Marcus Moreno-Ramos -- put the game out of reach. Senior linebacker Calvin Membreno sealed the game with his first interception of the season.
Gunn (4-0, 6-2) remains tied for first with Monta Vista (4-0, 6-2), which defeated Los Altos, 35-14. The Titans and Matadors will break the tie on Friday when the teams meet in Cupertino.
Gunn has one remaining game after that, at Fremont on Nov. 9. The Firebirds set a CCS scoring record by tallying 90 points against Harker on Friday.
Pinewood 26, Trinity Christian 16
The Panthers moved into a tie for second place in the Mission Trail Athletic League as Kevin Tracy completed 10 of 16 passes for 147 yards and two touchdown. Pinewood improved to 3-1 (4-1 overall) in eight-man action.
Owen Lewis led the ground game with 74 yards on 17 carries in addition to catching five passes for 87 yards. He scored three touchdowns, one rushing, one receiving and one by interception.
Freshman Aidan Lucero had 10 tackles while Lewis added nine and Oscar Fick eight. The Pinewood defense also came up with nine sacks and recovered five fumbles.