By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Senior running back Colin Terndrup knows the Sacred Heart Prep football team let one slip away.
Friday's 13-9 loss to visiting Burlingame in the PAL Bay Division opener for both teams came down to the last possible inch.
The Gators (0-1, 4-1) couldn't get the ball any closer without touching the goal line. Close, though, might as well have been a mile.
"We came up short and it is frustrating," said Terndrup, who led the Gators with 80 rushing yards on 24 attempts. "We just have to get better and come back stronger."
Sacred Heart Prep hosts King's Academy next Saturday at 2:30 p.m., in the Gators' Homecoming game.
"We have to bounce back," Terndrup said. "Every team in this league is good and we have to be ready to play."
The Gators seemed well on their way to the go-ahead score after taking over at midfield following a short punt.
Their final drive began with 5:28 showing on the game clock. Quarterback John Geary and Tomas O'Donnell connected on a 15-yard pass play to jump start the drive and Pedro Robinson picked another 20 yards on three carries.
Tyler McCool, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Geary with 18 seconds left in the first half, and Terndrup also made clutch runs. Terndrup got the Gators a first-and-goal at the six.
He also carried for a yard to the five. Robinson went wide right and seemed to be headed into the end zone just as Burlingame's Deke Marquardt knocked him out of bounds inches short.
Geary didn't go anywhere on a quarterback sneak, leaving the final inch or so to Terndrup, who was met at the line of scrimmage by Panthers' Ben Poulos and driven back.
"It seemed like they stacked a lot of guys to try and stop what we were doing," Terndrup said. "They did a great job. It was close and tough to call as a referee. It was on us to get the ball in."
The Gators played well enough defensively, with big plays from junior linebacker Luke Thomas and junior defensive lineman Gabriel Mitchell, and both teams seemed to racquet it up a notch in the second half.
"Both defenses played well," Terndrup said. "It was something we could do as long as we executed."
The Gators outgained Burlingame, 311-263, and produced 16 first downs. Jack Odell got the party started with his 23-yard field goal with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
Menlo 40, Half Moon Bay 22
Menlo School senior quarterback Robert Wickers, who seems to be improving each week, passed for a career-high 325 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Knights to a 40-22 thumping of host Half Moon Bay in a PAL Ocean Division opener on Friday night.
The Knights (1-0, 4-1) also got 106 rushing yards from senior Beau Nichols, who scored four touchdowns on the ground and finished with five total.
Menlo put the game away in the first half by grabbing a 26-7 lead. Philip Anderson caught a 55-yard scoring pass from Wickers to get the ball rolling in the first quarter. Nichols added a pair of two-yard TD runs to give the Knights a 19-0 lead in the second quarter before Half Moon Bay got on the board.
Nichols added a five-yard scoring run, grabbed a six-yard TD pass and scored on a one-yard plunge to finish off the Cougars. Nichols also caught seven passes for 85 yards while teammate Tim Benton latched on to six for 111 yards.
Menlo next will host San Mateo on Friday (3:30 p.m.) in its Homecoming game.