John Geary plunged over from a yard out late in the fourth quarter to give Sacred Heart Prep a thrilling 28-24 PAL Bay Division football victory over visiting Menlo-Atherton on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon. The Gators (2-1, 6-1) kept their title hopes alive while the Bears (2-2, 2-5) saw theirs slip away.
Sacred Heart Prep shares first place with Terra Nova and Burlingame heading into the stretch run.
The Panthers beat SH Prep two weeks ago, and lost to Terra Nova last week. The Tigers were upset by The King's Academy on Friday night.
SHP began the winning drive on its own 1-yard line. From there, the Gators moved 98 yards on 11 plays before Geary provided the winning score that capped a wild offensive day that saw the teams combine for 788 total yards.
The Bears rushed for 353 yards, with Cameron Moody leading the way with 145 yards on 14 carries. He also scored on a 47-yard run. The Gators pounded out 287 yards on the ground on 57 carries, with Colin Terndrup going for 128 yards and 23 hauls, including a touchdown.
Defense, however, also played a big role despite the offensive fireworks. Sacred Heart's Luke Thomas recovered a fumble and Ryan Gaertner intercepted a pass late in the game to help clinch the memorable victory.
The Gators also produced what turned out to be the day's biggest stop when M-A's Taylor Mashack was tackled on a fourth-and-goal at the SHP 1-yard line with five minutes remaining in the game.
Sacred Heart Prep was trailing 24-21 at the time. The Gators took over and began their winning drive, which included a 48-yard run by Terndrup.
After falling behind by 14-3 at halftime, which saw M-A's Sam Falkenhagen kick a 57-yard field goal just before the half, the Bears charged back with 277 rushing yards in the second half.
Menlo-Atherton took the lead at 17-14 when Mashack scored from one yard out with 3:33 left in the third quarter.
SHP regained the advantage at 21-17 when Pedro Robinson scored on an 18-yard run. That lead lasted less than 10 seconds as the Bears scored on its next play from scrimmage.
Junior Sakalia broke through a big hole on the right side and raced 80 yards to put M-A up, 21-17 and setting the stage for the Gators' dramatic game-winning drive. Sakalia finished with 123 yards on five carries.