The Menlo varsity football team defeated Aragon 30-10 in this year’s Homecoming Game on Saturday, Oct. 8. The largest student section of the year cheered on the Knights as they took victory in their first league game.
However, not all went the Knights’ way, as backup quarterback Mikey McGrath suffered a severe lower leg injury towards the end of the fourth quarter. Paramedics and an on-field ambulance were called, and the two teams agreed to end the game with 1:58 left on the clock.
McGrath underwent successful surgery on Sunday, Oct. 9, and was discharged from the hospital the following day, according to the Menlo Knights Athletics Instagram account. Head Coach Todd Smith announced to the players and families that McGrath will miss the remainder of the season due to the injury.
From the start, the Knights’ defense shut down Aragon’s run-heavy offense. The unit’s early success can be attributed in part to the return of defensive tackle Ralston Raphael, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury.
After a first quarter punt from the Dons, senior quarterback Jake Bianchi led the team on a successful opening drive. Bianchi completed key passes to pass catchers Ty Richardson, Robby Enright and Cort Halsey en route to a Halsey touchdown. The Knights then caught Aragon off-guard by executing a quarterback run by Mikey McGrath on the two-point try, bringing the score to 8-0 Menlo at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Aragon responded with a rushing touchdown by Jared Walsh. The Dons extended their lead to 10-7 with a field goal just minutes later.
In the last two minutes of the first half, Aragon looked destined to extend their lead further after driving into the red zone, but junior Harry Houser intercepted a pass at the goal line.
After the interception, Bianchi found Enright on a long catch-and-run play to get the Knights offense to midfield.
Richardson finished the drive by securing a 50- yard touchdown pass from Bianchi with less than a minute left in the second quarter. After the extra point sailed wide left, the Knights led 14-10 going into halftime.
After a halftime filled with homecoming festivities, the Dons marched into Menlo territory in the hopes of taking back the lead. However, Menlo’s defense stepped up, with the defensive line and linebackers stuffing the Aragon offense repeatedly.
Halsey forced and recovered a fumble to give Menlo’s offense possession.
The offense continued the pattern of success. Bianchi found junior Brady Jung for two long touchdowns within five minutes to widen Menlo’s advantage. A 33-yard field goal by Muchnick added more points to the board, ending the quarter with a score of 30-10.
The lead would prove to be too much to overcome, as Menlo completed a shutout second half, aided by Raphael’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter.
The Knights next face the 5-1 Half Moon Bay Cougars on Friday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. on Cartan Field.
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