Menlo Football and Maybe a Normal Life are Back, Knights Win Their First Game of the Season


Menlo seniors, pictured left to right, Gregory Hilderbrand, Daniel Solomon and Henry Kearnan watch the first varsity football game of the season from the bleachers. Staff Photo: Alexa Friesel.

Chase Hurwitz, Sports Editor

Two Varsity Menlo football players tackle a Sequoia player. Photo Courtesy of Eli Housenbold.

With the weather at 91 degrees, students and parents packing the stands and just the slight scent of smoke in the air, Menlo seemed almost back to normal at the first varsity football game of the season. The faculty members checking spectators’ vaccination records at the Cartan gate and about half of the fans (mainly parents) wearing masks were the only signs of the pandemic.

For many students, this was the first Menlo football game, or any Menlo sporting event, they had attended in two years. “We didn’t get to go to any games last year, obviously. So the last time we got to watch football was our sophomore year when we were in the back of the bleachers in the nosebleeds,” senior Daniel Solomon said. “Now it’s front row seats, VIP type of game.” 

The Menlo varsity team seemed to sense this anticipation as they rolled past the Sequoia Ravens 63-6. Senior  quarterback Sergio Beltranthrew for seven touchdowns. The Menlo Knights scored 21 points in the first four minutes and 15 seconds of their season.

“I think it’s pretty electric out here,” senior Greg Hilderbrand said, right as Beltran completed a pass to junior Robby Enright to make the score 28-0 in the first quarter. “Nothing better than a COVID-free football game, being able to support your boys, going crazy with the lads,” Hildebrand said.

“It feels unbelievable. I feel like I’m on cloud nine,” senior and Sea of Gold Captain Mick Tamas said. “We got everyone out here for the first game and we’re winning, so it’s all good.” Tamas is looking forward to leading the student section at future games and especially hopes to beat Sacred Heart Prep this year.

“It’s a really fun game to watch,” senior Tessa Tomkinson said right as senior Carter Jung caught a 70-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Parents too were just as excited to be back at an almost-normal football game. “It’s hot out here, but the Knights are kicking butt, and we’re proud of them,” Jeff Housenbold, father of senior Aidan Housenbold, said.

The upperclassmen were excited to be back, but for many freshmen and even sophomores, this was their first Menlo football game. “We missed last year, but it feels good to finally get off Zoom and feel the energy,” sophomore Ryan Schnell said.

The freshmen were enjoying their first football experience too. “It’s fun. We’re crushing them,” freshman Brett Frauenhofer said as his friends around him nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it’s exciting,” freshman John Floyd said.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, Jeff Housenbold brought about 100 ice cream bars, distributing them amongst parents, coaches and students. As the trash can began to fill with ice cream wrappers and sticks, the Knights closed out their decisive win, 63-6. Although sweaty, most Menlo fans left satisfied. “What else can I say? The vibes out here are just really good,” senior Adam Mhatre said. 

Tamas is excited to keep the good vibes rolling throughout the entire season. “We gotta get the freshmen going, get the sophomores going, I already know the juniors and seniors are hyped,” Tamas said. “It’s just about being united and including everyone.”