A quick start by Sacred Heart Prep in the 17th annual Valparaiso Bowl triggered a 49-14 rout of rival Menlo School at Sequoia's Terremere Field on a frigid Friday night.
Proceeds from the game help fund Peninsula Bridge, the local organization that benefits low-income students.
SHP (7-3) awaits its Central Coast Section fate on Sunday when the top 40 teams will be ranked and seeded. Menlo's season sends at 3-7.
The Gators, who lead the series 10-7, went to work on their first series, driving 63 yards on six plays for the TD. Power running back Tevita Moimoi carried the ball four times for 23 yards on the drive, finalizing with a 2-yard touchdown. The key play was a 31-yard pass play from Teddy Purcell to Dante Cacchione.
Moimoi, who rushed for 144 yards on 16 carries, added a second touchdown, running through a big hole over right guard for an 11-yard score. Moimoi's third touchdown of the game, was a 23-yard scamper with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
“Everyone was blocking up front,” SHP coach Mark Grieb said. “I could go through the whole list, but our seniors – Sam Maxwell, Nick Stalder, Cole Gurtner. Those guys played great. Our offensive line coach was saying all night, even when we didn't block someone, it was hard to bring down Tevita (Moimoi).”
The player of the game could have very well been SHP's J.P. Frimel, who made a one-handed catch in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. Frimel starred on defense, bursting through the middle for a couple of sacks.
“J.P. is a great human being and a great football player,” Grieb said. “He's a stud. For him to haul that pass in was pretty awesome.”
Knights quarterback Elliot Kinder threw 37 times, completing 20 passes for 210 yards. Chris d'Alencon had seven catches for 51 yards, while speedy Jaden Richardson had five grabs for 63 yards, scoring on an 8-yard reception in the third quarter.
Justin Sellers caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kinder for the Knights' second touchdown. On another play, Sellers made an outstanding catch when he came back to secure a pass from Kinder, good for 25 yards. Kinder scrambled to his left on the play, but couldn't see Sellers wide open for a probable score. Sellers, however, was able to make the adjustment.
The Knights had an opportunity early in the second quarter, reeling off 13 plays to the Gators' 8-yard line, but a bad snap on the ensuing play was recovered by Frimel.
SHP's Everett Banks caught a 27-yard TD pass from Purcell, most of the real estate covered after the catch. That score came with 33 seconds left in the first half, the Gators taking a 28-0 lead to the locker room at intermission.
Wilson Weisel caught a 4-yard touchdown for the Gators with 2 seconds to play in the first quarter. The final score of the night came midway through the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run by Alejandro Torres. The game was played with a running clock the rest of the way.
“Everyone did their jobs and worked hard,” said Purcell, who was 6-of-10 for 138 yards. “We knew coming in it was a rivalry game. Everyone wanted this game badly. We've grown up with a lot of guys on the other team. This is for the seniors. It's a great feeling. We're going to enjoy this and get ready for the next one.”
“This rivalry always brings out the best in both teams,” Grieb said.