De­fen­sive play stands out as Bears out­last Wild­cats

The Mercury News - - Bay Area Preps - By Dar­ren Sabedra dsabedra@ba­yare­anews­group.com

On a night filled with of­fense, the game be­tween Menlo-Ather­ton and Los Gatos turned on one heck of a de­fen­sive play.

Los Gatos was 3 yards from evening the score Fri­day mid­way through the sec­ond quarter when M-A line­backer Kil­ifi Leaae­toa crashed through the line and smashed into running back Will Fordyce.

Line­backer Daniel Heimuli, charg­ing in from the left side, added a sec­ond crush­ing hit on the running back, forc­ing a fum­ble.

D’ar­ius Gip­son scooped up the ball and ran 99 yards for a touch­down that ex­tended the lead to 14 points. The Bears went on to a 56-41 vic­tory to even their record at 2-2.

“That’s what you call team­work,” Leaae­toa said of the de­fen­sive touch­down that made it 28-14. “When ev­ery­one is go­ing 100 per­cent, that’s what is go­ing to hap­pen.”

Miles Con­rad threw for 171 yards and four touch­downs, and running back De’Mar­shaun Pay­ton rushed for 158 yards and two touch­downs in 17 car­ries and caught a scor­ing pass for a team that scored 41 points be­fore half­time.

M-A also got an 89-yard kick­off re­turn for a touch­down by fresh­man Troy Franklin and an­other all-around stel­lar per­for­mance from Spencer Corona, who caught five passes for 103 yards and two touch­downs, played full-time de­fense and also con­sis­tently put the ball through the end zone on kick­offs.

“We have a lot of guys who get a lot of at­ten­tion,” M-A coach Ad­hir Ravipati said. “I don’t feel Spencer gets enough recog­ni­tion. I mean, the kid played al­most ev­ery snap tonight, and he’s putting kick­offs out of the back of the end zone, is prob­a­bly our best cover corner, play­ing free safety also, and he’s a heck of a re­ceiver.’

M-A needed plenty of of­fense be­cause its de­fense had a rough time slow­ing down Los Gatos, which seem­ingly threw its en­tire play­book at the Bears. The Wild­cats ran two Statue of Lib­erty plays, a dou­ble reverse fleaflicker that went for a 55-yard touch­down (Robert Nel­son to Kent Van Bel­leghem) and a fake punt.

JIM GENSHEIMER - STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Menlo-Ather­ton quar­ter­back Miles Con­rad (17) runs a keeper as Los Gatos’ Luke Short tries to stop him in the fourth quarter. Con­rad passed for 171yards and four touch­downs in the Bears’ vic­tory on Fri­day night.

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