Senior center Leo Cucinell has the best seat in the house when it comes to watching Menlo-Atherton running backs doing their thing. In fact, he thinks he has it easy.
"With a running back like Jordan, all I do is block and then I can stand there and watch him run," Cucinell said. "That's what I love to see."
Jordan Mims, who made four runs of 15 yards or more, rushed for 162 on just 14 carries and scored twice as the host Bears took care of business Friday night in beating Burlingame, 40-14, in PAL Bay Division action.
Menlo-Atherton (2-0 in league play, 4-2 overall) plays at Sacred Heart Prep next Friday at 3 p.m.
The Gators (1-1, 2-5) beat Aragon, 28-24, for their first win of the season.
Cucinell, along with Epeli Mataele, Ryan Buck, Noa Ngalu and Rayner Zarco, made it easy for Mims and quarterbacks Aajon Johnson and Miles Conrad to do their jobs. The Bears rushed for a total of 216 yards and passed for another 187 yards.
"We didn't have as good of practices that we wanted during the week," Johnson said. "But the offensive line was tremendous. From the start they helped us gain a first downs. It was a big team effort."
In addition to looking for a little revenge from last year's loss to the Panthers, Cucinell said part of the motivation came from the Burlingame players themselves.
"They kind of called us out this week about taking ejections," he said. "I know we don't have the best reputation but we are trying to fix that image. It was a cue for us to show we're better football players and better people."
Mims was ejected from M-A's win over Terra Nova last week after an official thought he saw him throw a punch. Had it stood, Mims would have had to miss Friday night's game. M-A sent tape to the commissioner's office and there was no punch, just a couple of shoves from both sides. Mims was cleared to play.
"That's why I feel so good about this win," Cucinell said.
Senior wide receiver Mekhi Blackmon called it "trash talking" and the answer was to "keep playing our brand of football."
Blackmon, who is also a cornerback on defense, plays the game like the ball absolutely belongs to him on either side of the ball.
He intercepted a ball for the second straight and was thinking pick-six all the way, running the field like it was a maze. He nearly pulled it off too.
"My vision was blurred," he said. "I should have followed Noa and Marquise (Reid) for my blocking."
Blackmon did run last week's interception into the end zone but it was called back because of a hold during the return.
Against the Panthers, his interception all but sealed the victory. The Bears scored their final touchdown, a 3-yard run from Conrad, as a result.
Conrad started the second half at quarterback and completed five of seven passes for 41 yards, including a 16-yard strike to Blackmon for a touchdown.
On the final play of the third quarter, Blackmon and Johnson cashed in on a play they had been talking about all week.
"He was the original receiver on the play," said Johnson, who looked like he wanted to throw in the flat. "He did what he had to do."
Blackmon said he noticed that corners were biting on his stutter steps and this time he raced by his defender and caught a beautiful pass in stride for a 61-yard scoring toss.
Johnson rushed for 35 yards and passed for 146 on 7-of-11 passing. He also threw a short screen pass to Mims, who turned it into a 32-yard touchdown reception.
Menlo-Atherton accumulated 403 yards of total offense.
Isoa Moimoi rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns in Sacred Heart Prep's victory over Aragon.
Thomas Wine added 213 passing yards on 11-of-20 passing. Michael Mooring caught five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown and Alex Harper had two receptions for 61 yards.
Brendan Semien had 10 tackles, including a sack, while David Peterson and Brad Yaffe combined for 14.
PAL Ocean Division
Charlie Ferguson rushed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Hayden Pegley threw for 193 yards and three touchdowns, all to Evan King, and Menlo School topped The King's Academy, 31-21, Friday night.
The Knights (1-1, 5-1) trailed 21-12 before rallying for the win.
Menlo junior JH Tevis led the defense with 11 tackles, 10 solo, and six tackles for a loss. Landon Smith and Jack McNally combined for another 15 tackles.
"I think the boys really came together," Tevis said. "It really was a group effort, I think every guy on the field stepped up; it came together in all facets. That's what we need every week."
Menlo recorded six sacks, 2 1/2 by Tevis, once each by Israelski, Cooper Stewart and Baily Deewter and one-half by David Schmaier. Israelski also intercepted a pass.
"The scheme coach put in was designed to incorporate all four of us (pass rushers); we all depend on each other," Tevis said. "I have to give a lot of credit to Mafi Latu who's right next to me every play, getting to guys and all I have to do is beat one guy and then it's just the QB empty in the backfield. It's all our guys doing their job, sometimes it's me getting the sack, sometimes its someone else."
Menlo hosts South San Francisco in its homecomine game at 3 p.m. Friday.
Marcelous Chester-Riley scored the game's first touchdown on a 2-yard run but it was all Half Moon Bay afterward as the Cougars (2-0, 6-0) roughed up visiting Woodside (0-2, 4-2), 57-14.
In the De Anza Division, Palo Alto sustained a 42-0 loss at Milpitas on Friday night.
It was 7-0 halfway through the second quarter when things got worse for the Vikings (1-2, 2-5), who will try to get back on track next Friday with a 7 p.m. game against Wilcox.
In the El Camino Division, Gunn fell to host Monta Vista, 38-20, on Friday night.
Bryant Cervantes kicked a pair of field goals for the Titans (0-3, 2-5), while Etienne Daadi scored on a run and Edmond Wu threw for a touchdown.
Gunn hosts Lynbrook next Friday at 7 p.m.
Priory (1-2, 3-2) defeated East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy (0-2, 1-3), 68-40, on Friday.
Keyshawn Ashford scored six touchdowns, including receiving touchdowns of 65- and 48-yards, TD runs of 17- and 24-yards and a pair of kickoff returns of 70- and 68-yards.
Adrian Lavalle recorded four touchdown passe, two to Henry Wise and a pair to Ashford.
Ashford accumulated over 400 all-purpose yards.
Sal Rodrigez rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns for EPAPA.