Menlo's passing game beginning to click on football field


Contrary to its traditional emphasis on the pass, the Menlo School football won its first two games of the season with an offense almost solely consisting of the running of Charlie Ferguson.

Ferguson had another fine game Friday in a 48-0 romp over host Harker. But the Menlo passing game also began to click.

Quarterbacks Hayden Pegley and Emilio Simbeck combined to complete 13 of 17 passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns.

“We worked a great deal on our pass protection,’’ Menlo coach Mark Newton said. “It was a lot better tonight."

Menlo (3-0) had a couple of easy wins the first two weeks over San Francisco public schools Lincoln and Mission. But Pegley was only a combined 9 of 29 in those two games. The precision he showed Friday against Harker was a most welcome development.

“The focus all week was on getting the passing game going," Pegley said. ”The guys on the offensive line did a great job. It was incredible. There was no pressure on me all game. It made my job pretty easy."

Pegley is aware of the tradition of the passing game at Menlo, which includes his current coach.

“We’re held to a high standard, expect big things,’’ he said. “I try to make it about efficiency and a high completion percentage rather than trying to throw for a thousand yards.’’

Ferguson had rushed for 466 yards the first two weeks of the season. He wasn’t used as much against Harker, but still managed 128 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns.

The highlight was a spectacular 67-yard TD run in which it looked as though he was surrounded by four or five defenders on the far left sideline some 30 yards downfield.

But Ferguson broke free, reversed his field and concluded the run by crossing the right side of the goal line for a score that made it 34-0 with 8:10 left in the second quarter.

“I was just mad," Ferguson said. “I don’t like getting caught from behind. When I felt him on me I just tried to shake him loose."

Ferguson credited an offensive line comprised of Mafi Latu, JH Tevis, Ty Corley, Xavier Dickinson and Jason Okoro, along with a new approach to the running game.

“We didn’t run any zone read the last three or four years," he said. “The fact that we’re picking it up this fast makes me super excited. The creases I’m running through are wide open. That makes it a lot of fun."

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