By Ari Kaye
Menlo's School's Jack Heneghan's threw for a school-record 492 passing yards, but his brilliant performance was not enough for the Knights to win their sixth straight game on Friday afternoon.
After a high-scoring first half, Menlo (1-1, 5-2) was held scoreless in the second half, losing their PAL Bay Division homecoming game, 44-25, to Terra Nova (3-0, 7-0).
"There aren't really any moral victories," Heneghan said. "It doesn't matter how many points you score if you lose."
Heneghan completed 34 of his 63 pass attempts, en route to breaking the Menlo record for passing yards in a single game, an honor that was previously held by Danny Diekoeger, who passed for 470 yards in a loss against Carmel in the 2009 CCS Division IV title game.
The 63 pass attempts also are a school record, surpassing the 56 passes thrown by Heneghan earlier this season against San Angelo Central in Texas.
Heneghan was efficient spreading the ball around, as three different Menlo wide receivers totaled over 100 yards receiving. Junior Will King finished with 140 yards, senior Peter Bouret finished with 121 yards, and junior Jack Marren finished with 114 yards.
Terra Nova ended up with 620 yards on offense, gashing Menlo both on the ground and through the air. Tigers' senior running back John Wallace ran for 275 yards and five touchdowns, while junior quarterback Anthony Gordon threw for 319 yards and a touchdown.
"Their offense is really solid," Heneghan said. "Gordon is a really good player, and Terra Nova's whole team is strong overall."
Despite Heneghan's gaudy final yardage total, the Menlo offense sputtered horribly in the second half. The Knights were plagued by a lack of execution, as dropped passes and empty trips in the red zone, proved to be very costly.
"(Terra Nova) did much of the same things defensively as they did in the first half," Menlo head coach Mark Newton said. "I think our guys got a little tired in the second half, because we weren't quite getting open the same way we were in the first. Terra Nova has a great team, and you can't make mistakes versus a great team, or things will change quickly."
Terra Nova's pass rush was also a big factor in the second half, sacking Heneghan twice, and forcing other throws from Heneghan to be hurried.
The second-half performance was particularly deflating for the Knights because of how good their offense looked through the first two quarters.
Menlo scored a touchdown on each of their first four possessions of the game, with Heneghan throwing two touchdown passes and running in two more. Menlo's only blemishes offensively in the first half came on their extra-point tries, as the Knights failed to convert on three different two-point conversion attempts.
Terra Nova was able to match Menlo's early success, as its running game sparkled behind Wallace, who ran in touchdowns from three, 70 and five yards out, on the Tigers' first three drives of the game.
A 40-yard touchdown pass from Henegan to King gave Menlo a 25-22 lead with seven minutes to go in the second quarter, but that marked the last score of the game for the Knights.
Terra Nova outscored Menlo 22-0 the rest of the way, winning fairly easily in a game that, in the first half, seemed destined to be close coming down the stretch. Menlo's Travis Chambers had 17 tackles to lead the defensive effort.
Despite the loss, Newton was still upbeat about the Knights' prospects for the rest of the season.
"I think we are right up there at the top of the league in terms of our ability," Newton said. "Our guys just need to enjoy the ride, prepare each week and leave this game behind them."
Menlo continues its PAL Bay schedule next week against South San Francisco, and Heneghan shared a similar sentiment to his coach about putting the Terra Nova loss in their rear view mirror.
"This game is over, so it's time to get ready for (the Warriors) next week," Heneghan said.