Varsity Boys Football

Menlo 18, Lowell 12

Date of competition: Saturday, September 27, 2008

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Despite missing two linemen due to injuries, Menlo prevailed on Saturday night by defeating Lowell 18-12. Menlo's win kept their undefeated season alive, as the Knights improved to 4-0. "We were not the best we could be, but we got the job done," said quarterback Danny Diekroeger. Menlo had great success through the air as Diekroeger threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 26 passing. "I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable in the pocket. I'm reading the defenses well, and our receivers did a great job of getting open," said Diekroeger. "[Diekroeger] really played an outstanding game. He controlled the ball well," said head coach Mark Newton. Newton also said that over the season, he has "seen [Diekroeger's] confidence progress…he's doing a better job of stepping up in the pocket. He's understanding our pass protection better, " said Newton. Diekroeger's favorite target of the night was Ryan O'Holleran who had six catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns. O'Holleran also contributed on the ground with 50 yards rushing on eight carries for a total of 112 combined yards, and added to the defensive effort with nine tackles, including 1.5 for losses. Diekroeger and Jerry Rice Jr. also showed good chemistry as Rice Jr. had five catches for 83 yards. Despite starting three new linemen, Eric Nelson, Dan Gilbert, and Will Stark, Menlo found success on the ground with 89 total yards rushing, most of it coming from O'Holleran and Nick Maruyama. The Knights got on the board first with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Diekroeger to O'Holleran. "I told him I was going to be open, so he just had to look for me, and he got it to me, so thanks to him," said O'Holleran. Lowell later matched Menlo's score with a touchdown of their own on a five-yard rush by Wang Han. But Menlo was able to take the lead into the half when Diekroeger hooked up with O'Holleran again for a four-yard touchdown pass. Menlo added on to its lead when Diekroeger found Chris Ryan in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass, giving Menlo a 12 point lead. Lowell found itself in need of two scores and its run heavy offense was unable to adapt to the required passing offense of a trailing team in the fourth quarter. Though Lowell did find the end zone once more, that drive took nine minutes and 53 seconds, running far too much time off the clock. Both teams failed to score an extra point throughout the entire game. Menlo missed two extra points and fumbled the snap on another, while Lowell attempted two-point conversion on both of its touchdowns and came up short twice. Lowell relied almost exclusively on the running game, as the Cardinals ran a wishbone offense the entire game. Of Lowell's 57 plays, 50 were runs with only seven pass attempts. Han and David Kwong carried the bulk of the rushing load with 162 yards and 77 yards respectively. The entire Lowell team combined for 289 yards rushing. Newton said that Menlo adapted its defensive schemes in practice this week in preparation for the run heavy offense Lowell ran, including using six linemen with two linebackers (a 6-2 formation) and a 7-1 formations, both of which the Knights do not usually run. Lowell Quarterback Ryan Louie had two completions on seven attempts for 44 yards, but did pass for one touchdown on a 30-yard pass to Han. Though Lowell had only six less total yards, the biggest difference in the game was in third down conversions. Menlo had great success on third down, converting six out of seven times, while Lowell had twelve third downs, but only converted three of them. Menlo will finally have a bye week next week after playing games each of the past four weeks, but returns to action in two weeks playing at Terra Nova.

posted by Colin Becht, other on Sep 27, 2008 at 11:51 pm

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