ATHERTON -- The Sacred Heart Prep football team owes much of its success this season to a defensive unit that is among the most difficult to score on in the Central Coast Section.
But on Saturday it was the SHP offensive unit's turn to shine.
The No. 2-seeded Gators scored five touchdowns on five first-half possessions and went on to a 47-17 win over Soquel in the CCS Division IV semifinals.
It will be an all-Atherton final as Sacred Heart Prep will play rival and next-door neighbor Menlo School for the championship at 7 p.m. Saturday at Terra Nova High. Menlo advanced with a 41-27 win over No. 1 seed Seaside on Friday. Sacred Heart Prep (11-1) won the regular-season matchup with Menlo 31-28.
"That will be a lot of fun," SHP quarterback Kevin Donahoe said.
Donahoe and his mates had a whole lot of fun Saturday, moving the ball seemingly at will. With running backs Ryan Gaertner and Andrew Segre having a great deal of success on the ground, Donahoe had an easy time of it whenever he looked to pass. He threw three touchdown passes in the first half, all to wide receiver Rex Shannon, and completed 5 of 6 passes for 150 yards over the first two quarters as the Gators built a 33-10 halftime lead.
"Our week of preparation was real strong," Donahoe said. "We knew what we were going to do, pound the ball and throw once in awhile. You really have to give credit to the offensive line."
The Gators had 462 yards of total offense
"Our offensive line just seems to be getting better and better every week," SHP coach Pete Lavorato said.
Gaertner rushed for 138 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown. Segre had 99 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Soquel's attack revolved around standout running back Fabiano Hale, who came into the game with 1,950 yards rushing. Hale got his yards (129 on 21 carries), but the SHP defense kept him from having a huge game.
"Fabiano Hale is the real deal," Lavorato said. "That's a good football team. It's a credit to our defense that they kept him in check as much as they did."
The Gators have allowed just 114 points over 12 games this season.