There's a temptation among members of the Menlo School football coaching staff to give the ball to Charlie Ferguson on every play. The Knights, though, understand it takes more than one offensive threat to turn themselves into title contenders.
Ferguson took care of about half the offensive plays, carrying the ball 16 times for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also returned the second-half kickoff 86 yards for a score that jump-started Menlo to its 42-13 nonleague victory over visiting Lincoln of San Francisco on Saturday.
"The first game you want to work on things," Knights coach Mark Newton said. "But he's an exceptional football player and put the team on his shoulders."
Ferguson's performance helped pave the way for senior quarterback Hayden Pegley, making his first career start at the position at any level, to successfully lead Menlo to the victory.
"He had a great summer and he's normally accurate," Newton said. "The best thing is he stayed level-headed and was a great leader."
Pegley completed the first two passes he attempted and then went 1-for-9 with three interceptions the rest of the way. His final completion was a 10-yard scoring toss to Evan King near the end of the third quarter.
King also intercepted a pass near the end of the first half as Lincoln was driving downfield.
Most of Pegley's mistakes came when he was forced out of the pocket and tried making passes on the run. He was also sacked three times.
Pegley even followed Ferguson's cue and made a nice 33-yard dash into the end zone after Lincoln recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown.
Menlo, which plays Mission on Friday night at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco at 7 p.m., had a difficult time staying out of its own way in the first half, turning the ball over four times.
The Knights defense was up to the task, limiting the Mustangs to a total of 10 yards through their first four possessions and 189 overall.
"You just can't give the ball back that many times," Newton said. "I'm pleased with how the defense responded. I knew if we played fundamental football we had a chance to separate ourselves."
Ferguson's kickoff return ignited Menlo, which scored twice to open the second half without running a play from scrimmage. Credit David Schmaier for an entertaining, 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Schmaier turned the play into a Keystone Kop scenario, bouncing around in traffic on the far sideline before taking off, with eight Mustang defenders giving chase, to the near sideline and the score.
Ferguson got loose at the line of scrimmage thanks in large part to the blocking of the offensive line, which included JH Tevis, Jason Okoro, Xavier Dickinson and Roberto Alarcon.
Ty Corley took over center duties from starter Mafi Latu early in the second quarter. Latu, a sophomore, was limping noticeably on the sideline during much of the game, though he didn't need any assistance.
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