By Andrew Preimesberger
Palo Alto Online Sports
The first-ever meeting between Palo Alto and Serra in the Central Coast Section football playoffs won't be one the Vikings will want to remember after the visiting Padres held them to a single touchdown after halftime and rolled to a 52-35 victory in the opening round of the Open Division playoffs on Friday night.
Fifth-seeded Serra (9-2) will advance to the semifinals against No. 1 seed Bellarmine (10-1) while Palo Alto finished 8-3. Palo Alto had been allowing just 19.1 points a game and had given up more than 30 just once this season -- until Friday.
"We had a good season," said Paly coach Earl Hansen. "We're still De Anza champions and we have a lot of good juniors ready for next year."
The Palo Alto offense looked strong while starting off its third drive of the game when junior quarterback Keller Chryst threw a dump pass to senior Matt Tolbert for a 28-yard touchdown, putting the Vikings up 7-0 in the first quarter.
The Padres' offense started to come alive in the second quarter when senior running back Eric Redwood flew past the Vikings' defense for a 43-yard touchdown, putting the Padres up 21-14. Redwood had 143 yards in the first half alone and set a single-game school record for 288 total yards, including four touchdowns.
"He (Redwood) is a good player," said Hansen. "I thought we had a good scheme there, but we didn't execute as well as I thought we could."
Redwood would score again on Serra's next possession with a two-yard dive up the middle to tie the game at 28-28 at the end of the first half. The Serra running backs racked up 227 yards in the first half and 499 total. The Padres attempted only two passes and completed neither.
The Paly offense had no answer for a tough Serra defense in the second half as the Vikings made it to the red zone only one time out of five possessions. Chryst was limited to only 82 passing yards after intermission and was sacked three times -- two came from Padres' senior Fia Malepeai.
Chryst finished with 12-of-25 passing for 229 yard and two TDs. Tolbert had 100 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Serra senior Angelo Arco dashed down the sideline for a 70-yard touchdown run, giving the Padres some breathing room at 45-28 early in the fourth quarter. Arco quietly had a solid game, finishing with 128 yards and a touchdown.
The Vikings scored in the fourth quarter when Chryst ran in for the quarterback keeper, but it was too late for Paly to make a comeback as it failed the onside kick with 42.5 seconds left, sealing the win for the Padres, 52-35.
"We played hard and fought every game," said junior defensive back Andrew Frick. "All of my teammates this year did a great job all year long. I'm proud to be on the field with all of them."
Menlo School 42, Monte Vista Christian 14
With Jack Heneghan throwing two touchdown passes in the first half and Heru Peacock scoring three of his four TDS in just the first quarter, Menlo School raced to an easy victory over No. 5 seed Monte Vista Christian in a CCS Division IV opener on Friday night at Sequoia High in Redwood City.
Heneghan finished with 320 yards on 16-of-24 passing while leading the Knights to a 35-0 halftime lead as they scored on all five of their possessions. Senior Max Parker had four catches for 124 yards for the Knights with Connor Stastny grabbing five for 83 yards and one TD.
Will King had seven tackles to pace the defensive effort with Peter Bouret, Matt Bradley, Hank Strohm and Brock Burgess all adding five.
The No. 4-seeded Knights (9-2) will play in the semifinals next Friday or Saturday against No. 1 Seaside (11-0) after improving to 4-8 all-time in CCS action. Seaside romped to a 56-21 win over No. 8 Capuchino on Friday night.
Sequoia 27, Menlo-Atherton 7
Quarterback Zack Moore threw for a career-high 266 yards on 17-of-34 passing, but the host Bears turned the ball over three times inside the 20 and suffered a season-ending loss to visiting Sequoia in a CCS Division I opener on Friday night. The No. 4-seeded Bears finished 6-5 while the No. 5 Cherokees improved to 9-2 and will face No. 1 Milpitas in the semifinals.
Menlo-Atherton managed just six yards rushing and was forced to punt on its first five possessions. The Bears also lost a fumble inside Sequoia's 20-yard line. Despite all the problems, M-A trailed by only 10-7 at halftime afterl a nine-play, 78-yard drive was finished off by an eight-yard touchdown run by Tasi Teu. After that, it was all Sequoia.