Menlo School quarterback Jack Heneghan starred Friday night at Seaside High as the Knights dropped the host Spartans 41-27 in the Central Coast Section Division IV football semifinals.
The loss spoils an otherwise perfect season for the Spartans, who came into the game with an 11-0 record. Menlo (10-2) advances to next Saturday's title game agaisnt either Soquel or Sacred Heart Prep.
Heneghan, a 6-foot-3 junior, dissected Seaside's defense in a 240-yard performance. He completed 22 of 37 passes for four touchdowns and was not intercepted.
His Seaside counterpart, Michael Turner, was just as impressive, completing 12 of 20 passes for 296 yards, including four touchdowns. He was picked off twice, both times in the fourth quarter while trying to rally the Spartans from a two-touchdown deficit.
"Our offensive line had the best game they've played all year," said Heneghan. "Those guys gave me tons of time to find my receivers, and the receivers ran great routes."
Heneghan needed just six plays and 73 seconds of the first quarter clock to move the Knights 52 yards to the end zone. The touchdown came on an 8-yard pass from Heneghan to Peter Bourat.
Seaside responded dramatically with a 55-yard kickoff return from Joe Jakubowsky that allowed Turner to set up shop at Menlo's 41. The senior quarterback needed just four snaps to go the distance, hitting younger brother Ronald Turner with a 28-yard scoring strike to tie the
After an exchange of punts, Travis Chambers caught Henneghan's second touchdown pass of the night, an 11-yarder, capping a 55-yard drive that lifted Menlo to a 14-7 lead.
And before the first quarter could expire, the Knights made it 20-7. That opportunity was created when defensive back Matt Bradley stripped the ball away from Seaside's Mario Cook, and Chambers recovered at the Spartans 19.
Bradley threw a 17-yard halfback pass to Connor Stastny for the last score of a wild first quarter.
Down by 13 points, Turner took his team 76 yards on five plays, including a 41-yard bomb to a leaping Cook and a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kordell Reed.
Menlo made it 27-14 on a 6-yard pass from Heneghan to Chambers, but the Spartans reduced the deficit to 7 points when Turner and Jakubowsky connected for a 21-yarder with 27 seconds left in the half.
One of the craziest plays on the wet field gave Menlo breathing room.
Three minutes into the second half when a snap from center sailed over the head of Turner, who was lined up in punt formation. He managed to scoop up the football, scramble away from would-be tacklers in his end zone, and get the kick away.
But the low punt struck a Menlo player, popped straight up in the air and was caught near the 5-yard line by Will King, who jogged across the goal line for a 34-20 lead.
"This victory's pretty special," Heneghan said. "Once we knew we were playing Seaside, I think we really got focused. We knew they were a great team, and we wanted to knock them off."
Logan Hunter's 45-yard field-goal attempt went wide left as top-seeded Monterey (9-3) fell 34-31 to No. 5 Aptos (10-2) in the Division III semifinals.
The Mariners, who have won 10 in a row since an 0-2 start, rattled off 27 second-half points as Aaron McAnerney scored three touchdowns.
The senior tailback rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 98 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown to give Aptos the lead for good in the fourth quarter.
Monterey, which lead at halftime in all 12 games this year, turned the ball over twice in the second half and took itself out of one potential scoring drive with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Quarterback Jimmy Hill III tossed three touchdown passes and rushed for another for Monterey, finishing with 81 yards rushing and a career-high 235 yards passing.
Aptos advances to the title game Dec. 1 against the winner of Saturday's semifinal game between Valley Christian and Sobrato.
-- John Devine