Running backs will have to carry the load for a while

Young quarterbacks still finding their way after Week 1 of the season

By Keith Peters

Palo Alto Online Sports

Four local football teams opened the 2011 high school season last weekend, with three of the squads starting new quarterbacks. Perhaps not too surprising, explosive aerial games did not come to pass.

In the victories by Palo Alto, Sacred Heart Prep, Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton, those teams combined for just 390 yards of passing -- an average of 97.5 yards per game -- as Jack Larson (SHP), Keller Chryst (Paly) and Jack Heneghan/Matt Bradley (Menlo) made their varsity debuts at quarterback.

The only returning quarterback starter was Willy Fonua of Menlo-Atherton.

By comparison, the 2010 openers produced 721 passing yards in five games -- an average of 144.2 yards per game.

Despite a lack of passing, the 2011 openers actually turned out better than last season.

The five openers in '10 produced four wins in five games, 131 points scored and 65 allowed. In the four openers last week, all four local teams won while producing 129 points and allowing 43.

(Note: Pinewood and Priory were not included in these totals because they play eight-man football)

While passing lacked, the running games took over last weekend. Menlo's Dylan Mayer rushed for a career-high 155 yards on 18 carries in the Knights' 19-18 win over Santa Cruz; Tyler McCool of Sacred Heart Prep rushed for a career-high 145 yards on eight carries with a pair of TDs; Palo Alto's B.J. Boyd carried eight times for 100 yards and scored twice while Taylor Mashack and Cameron Moody of Menlo-Atherton combined for 119 yards on 13 total carries and three touchdowns in a 43-7 romp over El Camino.

Thus, while the young local quarterbacks find their respective grooves, running backs evidently will carry the offensive load for the time being.

Whether that continues could be determined this weekend when Week 2 gets rolling with more nonleague action.

Menlo School (1-0) will host Mission (San Francisco) on Friday at 3:15 p.m.; Sacred Heart Prep (1-0) will play at the same time against host Riordan; Pinewood makes its season debut by hosting Stuart Hall at 4 p.m.; and Gunn does the same by visiting McClymonds in Oakland at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Priory (0-1) will attempt to bounce back from last week's 40-8 season-opening loss to Stuart Hall by traveling to face Anderson Valley in Boonville at 1 p.m. Menlo-Atherton (1-0), meanwhile, will play host to always tough Los Gatos at 2 p.m.

Palo Alto (1-0) will have a bye week after opening impressively with a 28-18 win over visiting San Benito last week.

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