Sports

Prep football: Menlo School already has better numbers

A series of circumstances contributed to last year being the wrong time for the Menlo School football team to move up to the Peninsula Athletic League's Bay Division.

The Knights were 4-2 after beating Half Moon Bay in their Bay Division opener before being outscored 218-64 in their last four games of the season.

"Last year, being down in numbers, having a new coach and moving up to the Bay, it was like a perfect storm,'' Menlo coach Josh Bowie said.

It was a tough time for an undermanned team to be in the Bay. Four of the other five Bay teams advanced to CCS championship games.

Menlo has moved back down to the PAL Ocean this season, which should give the team a better chance to compete. In 2017, the last time the Knights were in the Ocean, they won the division title and advanced to the Central Coast Section Division V championship game.

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"Being in the Ocean should have its benefits,'' Bowie said. "And we have 30 guys after last year only having 21. That should make a difference.''

Menlo's season took a downward turn in a 42-3 loss to eventual state champion Menlo-Atherton when quarterback Kevin Alarcon went down with a broken collarbone.

The injury forced Alarcon to miss baseball season and he has just this week been cleared to join the football team.

Bowie said he plans to take it slow with easing Alarcon back into action and anticipates Justin Sellers, who took over for Alarcon last year, will be the starting quarterback in Menlo's season opener Aug. 31 against Fremont of Oakland.

Whoever is running the team at quarterback will have Jaden Richardson as a primary pass-catching target. Richardson (6-2, 185) received several offers this off-season from colleges such as Whittier, Grinnell and Tufts.

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"He's got a great attitude, he's fast and strong,'' Bowie said. "I think he still might get some offers from lower-level Division I schools.''

Samson Axe returns at running back after rushing for 797 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago.

"He takes a load off Justin and Jaden,'' Bowie said. "A hard guy to bring down.''

Six offensive linemen return led by center James Marren, who didn't miss a snap last year, so there's grounds for optimism with the Menlo offense.

Defense will provide more of the questions.

"We play seven or eight fully committed running teams,'' Bowie said, reeling off the names of Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Hillsdale, Carlmont, Sequoia and Sacred Heart Prep. "Historically Menlo has done well defensively against passing teams, not so much against running teams.''

Some top performers on defense include safety Chris D'alencon, nickelback Tyler Flynn, inside linebackers Ronier Babiera and Adam Kasser and defensive end Jackson Randal.

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Prep football: Menlo School already has better numbers

by Glenn Reeves/Palo Alto Online Sports /

Uploaded: Thu, Aug 8, 2019, 3:06 pm

A series of circumstances contributed to last year being the wrong time for the Menlo School football team to move up to the Peninsula Athletic League's Bay Division.

The Knights were 4-2 after beating Half Moon Bay in their Bay Division opener before being outscored 218-64 in their last four games of the season.

"Last year, being down in numbers, having a new coach and moving up to the Bay, it was like a perfect storm,'' Menlo coach Josh Bowie said.

It was a tough time for an undermanned team to be in the Bay. Four of the other five Bay teams advanced to CCS championship games.

Menlo has moved back down to the PAL Ocean this season, which should give the team a better chance to compete. In 2017, the last time the Knights were in the Ocean, they won the division title and advanced to the Central Coast Section Division V championship game.

"Being in the Ocean should have its benefits,'' Bowie said. "And we have 30 guys after last year only having 21. That should make a difference.''

Menlo's season took a downward turn in a 42-3 loss to eventual state champion Menlo-Atherton when quarterback Kevin Alarcon went down with a broken collarbone.

The injury forced Alarcon to miss baseball season and he has just this week been cleared to join the football team.

Bowie said he plans to take it slow with easing Alarcon back into action and anticipates Justin Sellers, who took over for Alarcon last year, will be the starting quarterback in Menlo's season opener Aug. 31 against Fremont of Oakland.

Whoever is running the team at quarterback will have Jaden Richardson as a primary pass-catching target. Richardson (6-2, 185) received several offers this off-season from colleges such as Whittier, Grinnell and Tufts.

"He's got a great attitude, he's fast and strong,'' Bowie said. "I think he still might get some offers from lower-level Division I schools.''

Samson Axe returns at running back after rushing for 797 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago.

"He takes a load off Justin and Jaden,'' Bowie said. "A hard guy to bring down.''

Six offensive linemen return led by center James Marren, who didn't miss a snap last year, so there's grounds for optimism with the Menlo offense.

Defense will provide more of the questions.

"We play seven or eight fully committed running teams,'' Bowie said, reeling off the names of Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Hillsdale, Carlmont, Sequoia and Sacred Heart Prep. "Historically Menlo has done well defensively against passing teams, not so much against running teams.''

Some top performers on defense include safety Chris D'alencon, nickelback Tyler Flynn, inside linebackers Ronier Babiera and Adam Kasser and defensive end Jackson Randal.

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