Defensive play stands out as Bears outlast Wildcats
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.
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.