Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 28, 2011

Record-breaking week hard to top

But M-A and Palo Alto hope to keep their title hopes alive in important league showdowns on Friday night

by Keith Peters

At least two titles are still up for grabs and there are plenty of Central Coast Section berths still available, but local football teams will be hard-pressed to duplicate last week's record breaking when Week 9 gets under way Friday.

In one of the more remarkable weekends for local high school football, all seven local teams won. Moreover, some of the results produce remarkable individual performances that rank among the best ever in their respective school histories.

Two running backs — Gunn's JJ Strnad and Priory's James McDaniel — rushed for more than 330 yards each and scored a combined 72 points.

Two quarterbacks — Menlo's Jack Heneghan and Palo Alto's Keller Chryst — threw for four touchdowns each and combined for more than 600 passing yards.

And one team — Menlo-Atherton — remained unbeaten in league while another — Palo Alto — moved into a tie for first place with a chance of defending its league crown.

Menlo-Atherton and Palo Alto both will risk their co-leads in their respective leagues on Friday. The Bears (3-0, 5-2) will take on fellow PAL Bay Division heavyweight Sacred Heart Prep (2-1, 6-1) at 7 p.m. M-A needs to win to keep pace with co-leader Terra Nova, while SHP needs to win to keep its slim title hopes alive.

Palo Alto (3-1, 5-2) has lost its chance of defending a state championship, but the Vikings still can defend their SCVAL De Anza Division title with three more victories. Paly hopes the first arrives on Friday when Mountain View visits for a homecoming tussle at 7:30 p.m.

Gunn (2-1, 2-4) also will celebrate homecoming, hosting Monta Vista in SCVAL El Camino Division action at 7:30 p.m.

Menlo School (1-2, 5-2) will continue its push toward a possible CCS berth, needing a victory over host Aragon on Friday (7 p.m.) to keep those hopes alive.

Priory (3-4) will attempt to even its record at home against Cornerstone Christian at 4 p.m., while Pinewood (3-3) will play for a share of the Mission Trails Athletic League title against four-time defending champ Anchorpoint Christian in Los Altos Hills at 3:30 p.m. in another eight-man showdown.

Here's a look at the past weekend, which saw Menlo-Atherton, Gunn, Palo Alto, Menlo School, Sacred Heart Prep, Priory and Pinewood all win.

Menlo-Atherton 21, Jefferson 7

Senior running back Taylor Mashack ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns to lead Menlo-Atherton to an important PAL Bay Division win over visiting Jefferson.

Jefferson junior quarterback Marcel Evans threw for 248 yards, but the Indians couldn't move the ball on the ground against a tough M-A defense. Jefferson rushed for a total of seven yards on 21 carries in the game.

Cameron Moody set the table early for the Bears with a 54-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter to put M-A up 7-0. In the second half, M-A's run game started to come alive as Mashack ran for his two touchdowns to seal the win. The Bears totaled 252 yards on the ground.

"We're going into Sacred Heart," said Mashack. "It's a big rivalry you know, we're trying to sustain that No. 1 spot."

Gunn 41, Cupertino 20

Gunn senior JJ Strnad rushed 13 times for a career-high 341 yards and scored six touchdowns to pace the Titans to a wild victory over host Cupertino in SCVAL El Camino Division action.

"I had some ridiculous holes thanks to my line and running back Marcos Moreno-Ramos," said Strnad after the game. "I also got great blocking by my receivers Brandon Choroski and Skyler Larson."

Strnad had five rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown while compiling 356 total yards in one of the finest single-game performances in school history. Strnad scored on a 62-yard touchdown on his first carry while his final carry produced a school-record 97-yard scoring run.

The six touchdowns and 36 points are a school record, breaking the mark of five TDs by Bill Norberg in a 33-0 victory in 1968. Norberg scored all 33 points in that game.

"That was an impressive performance," Gunn head coach Dan Navarro told gunntitans.com after the game. "That's the most yards I've ever seen anybody gain."

Palo Alto 41, Saratoga 9

With sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst throwing four first-half touchdowns, the Palo Alto football team rolled to an easy victory over host Saratoga in a SCVAL De Anza Division game.

The Vikings grabbed a 34-6 halftime lead. Chryst completed just five of nine passes but for 245 yards and four touchdowns. One reception went to junior Jayshawn Gates-Mouton for a 97-yard TD.

Palo Alto moved back into a tie for first place in the De Anza Division after Milpitas (3-1, 6-1) handed Los Gatos (2-1-1, 5-1-1) a 35-30 defeat.

SH Prep 21, King's Academy 20

Sacred Heart Prep remained in the thick of the PAL Bay Division football race with a closer-than-expected victory over host King's Academy on Friday night in Sunnyvale as the Gators stopped a two-point conversion try with 1:59 left in the game.

Tyler McCool gave the Gators a 7-0 lead on a 54-yard run and Pat Bruni made it 14-0 on a five-yard TD reception from Jack Larson. Duke Moran caught a six-yard scoring pass from Larson in the fourth quarter and Brendan Spilane converted the deciding PAT.

McCool finished with a game-high 170 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Gators.

Menlo 48, Sequoia 28

Sophomore quarterback Jack Heneghan came up with a career-high game as he completed 19 of 37 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns, with no interception, to pace the Knights past Sequoia in PAL Ocean Division action.

Dylan Mayer caught six passes for 119 yards, including a 57-yard scoring reception. He also scored on a three-yard run. Chris Reed caught five passes for 68 yards and Tommy Ford latched onto three for 85, including a 78-yard TD.

Priory 48, Trinity Christian 40

James McDaniel produced 400 all-purpose yards and ran for five touchdowns to pace the Panthers to a big victory in eight-man action in Portola Valley.

McDaniel carried 33 times for 339 yards, scored 36 points (including three two-point runs) and had 61 yards in kick returns. His TD runs measured 15, 37, 25, 45 and nine yards.

Will Latta added a 120 yards in kick-return yardage, including a 70-yarder for a TD. Priory's Malik Reid carried 12 times for 70 yards and scored one TD on a 38-yard run. He also had an interception at the goal line to end the first half.

Pinewood 50, Alma Heights 6

The Panthers won their third straight game in eight-man action and now has outscored its past three opponents by a combined 136-12 heading into Friday's important home game.

Dante Fraioli led the way on Saturday with 111 rushing yards on seven carries. He scored three times. Kai Kawashima added 110 yards on 22 carries with one TD.

(Andrew Preimesberger contributed)

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