By Zack Farmer
After narrowly defeating the Mission High School football team last season, Menlo School of Atherton jumped all over the Bears in the first quarter on Saturday, scoring 28 unanswered points, and coasted to a 56-24 win at Kezar Stadium.
Mission (1-1) dropped last year’s matchup 14-12 but Menlo’s potent passing attack proved even more of a problem this time around.
“They had another year experience,” said Mission head coach Joe Albano. “Their quarterbacks have another year experience in their system so they were a little better . . . They’re good football players and well-coached.”
Menlo (2-0) used two quarterbacks in the game, including senior Matt Bradley, who completed each of his five first-half passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns. Bradley finished with 163 yards on 7-of-10 passing.
Junior quarterback Jack Heneghan threw for another 78 yards and a touchdown on 6-of-17 passing.
“They’re both great players,” said Menlo head coach Mark Newton. “We feel fortunate that we have two guys that can get it done.”
Despite the early onslaught by the Knights, Mission was able to find an offensive rhythm after the first quarter and used its running game to wear down the Menlo defense.
With the score 28-0, Mission was finally able to string a long drive together, highlighted by a 55-yard pass by senior quarterback Antoine Porter. That pass set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Porter to get the Bears on the board.
The Knights responded on the next play, when Menlo wide receiver Max Parker returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
But that one drive got Mission in sync and the Bears took advantage of a turnover on downs by Menlo at their own 33-yard line, and Porter ran three times for 25 yards, including 1-yard score to cut the lead to 35-12.
“They did a nice job of making adjustments and getting the ball on the edge a bit,” Newton said. “[Porter] is a great athlete.”
Porter was a continual threat through the air and on the ground, and he finished with 171 passing yards and a touchdown to go along with 96 yards and three scores on the ground.
“I thought our offense moved the ball really well, but we had a few turnovers [that] stalled drives,” Albano said. “I felt like our morale was kind of down a little bit, but they stuck with it. They didn’t start pointing fingers.”
Mission kept pace with Menlo after the first quarter, as the Bears were only outscored 28-24 in the final three frames.
Mission wide receiver Alex Tico became a consistent target for Porter and had five catches, all in the second half, for 116 yards and a touchdown.
In his first game for Mission, Riordan transfer running back Armani McFarland rushed for four yards on five carries and had a reception for 55 yards, but left the game early in the second quarter with a leg injury and did not return.
Menlo: 8:52 – Connor Stastny 27-yard pass from Jack Heneghan (Timmy Costa kick)
Menlo: 5:48 – Travis Chambers 5-yard run (Costa kick)
Menlo: 3:14 – Connor Paterson 55-yard pass from Matt Bradley (Costa kick)
Menlo: 1:30 – Wiley Osborne 13-yard pass from Bradley (Costa kick)
Mission: 8:52 – Antoine Porter 14-yard run (kick failed)
Menlo: 8:36 – Max Parker 85-yard kickoff return (Costa kick)
Mission: 0:53 – Porter 1-yard run (kick blocked)
Menlo: 0:07 – Osborne 24-yard pass from Osborne (Costa kick)
Menlo: 9:26 – Paterson 8-yard run (Costa kick)
Menlo: 6:25 – Wyatt Rouser 2-yard run (Costa kick)
Mission: 2:23 – Alex Tico 17-yard pass from Porter (conversion failed)
Mission: 5:43 – Porter 5-yard run (conversion failed)