While it’s a thrill for football players, their coaches often dread homecoming week because the festivities create a minefield of distractions. Los Altos High players weren’t able to avoid the homecoming hoopla last week, but they regained their focus in time for Saturday’s kickoff.
“I’m not going to lie – we had a bad week of practice,” receiver Martin Aycott said after the Eagles’ 49-19 shellacking of Santa Clara. “But I just think we came out before the game and got pumped – me especially. I was just ready for this game.”
Aycott caught three touchdown passes and threw for another in a game essentially over by halftime. Los Altos – leading 35-0 at the extra-long intermission – scored two touchdowns before the fans settled into their seats. On the third play from scrimmage, Aycott moved under center and tossed a screen pass to Todd Grimm, who escaped the Bruins’ clutches on the way to a 44-yard touchdown.
The Eagles were back in the end zone two minutes later, helped by a snap that sailed over the head of Santa Clara punter Jethro Herrera. Taking over at the visitors’ 5-yard line, Los Altos needed only two plays to score. Halfback Jason Lopez followed a 4-yard run with a 1-yard plunge across the goal line. Brett Serviss’ second extra point pushed the Eagles’ advantage to 14-0 with 9:10 left in the first quarter.
“It was one of those games that we got a lot of momentum right away,” said coach Bill Waggoner, whose team improved to the 5-0 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division and 7-0-1 overall. “We scored three plays in and then (the Bruins) snap it over their heads and we got another quick touchdown. That deflated their balloon a little bit.”
Santa Clara’s balloon went flat in the second quarter. The Bruins (2-2 league, 4-4 overall) committed two costly turnovers and surrendered three more touchdowns before the halfway mark. On the first play of the period, a wide-open Aycott snared a 25-yard pass in stride from Steven McLean in the right side of the end zone. It was the first of three touchdown tosses by the sophomore, who the week before returned from a wrist injury suffered in the third game.
“It’s great having Steven back,” Aycott said. “He’s smart and knows where to put the ball.”
The Bruins put the ball back in Los Altos’ hands seconds later, fumbling on first down. Defensive back Edwin Zuniga scooped up the ball and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown.
Santa Clara fumbled away its next possession as well, and linebacker Tyler Stout pounced on the ball at the Bruins’ 29. Los Altos scored six plays later on a 1-yard pass from McLean to Aycott. Serviss’ kick extended the lead to 35-0 with 7:06 left in the half.
The pair hooked up again in the third quarter, this time on a 45-yard touchdown. Aycott (seven catches for 117 yards) – used a double move to beat the defender, then raced into the end zone.
“Those two have a good connection,” Waggoner said. “They work well together.”
McLean found a different target on his final touchdown pass. He hit Bemi Onipede on a 12-yard slant that, coupled with Serviss’ extra point, gave Los Altos a 49-13 edge with 1:52 left in the third.
The lopsided victory guaranteed Los Altos at least a share of the division title. The Eagles won’t have to share it if they win this week’s division finale against Fremont, scheduled 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cupertino High.
With a chance to secure its first playoff berth in four years, expect Los Altos to be ready for the Firebirds (2-2 league, 2-6 overall).
“We’re going to come out and practice hard this week,” said Aycott, a senior. “We’ll just put this one away and keep moving.”
Spartans paste Pioneers
Mountain View remained a game behind Los Altos in the El Camino Division with Friday’s 57-7 rout of Cupertino.
Halfback Marcus Jones totaled 301 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns for the visiting Spartans (4-1 league, 7-1 overall). Running mate Josh Roy added 145 yards rushing and a touchdown. Quarterback Mike Butler had eight completions for 186 yards by halftime.
Mountain View defensive backs Travis Hall and Isaiah Gayles each returned an interception for a touchdown.
Lancers clip Cathedral
Lamond McCoy’s 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter allowed St. Francis to escape with a 17-14 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral Friday.
Wil Smith, who earlier threw a 4-yard touchdown to Junior Pale, then completed a two-point pass to Cory Bickham.
David Mapa had seven carries for 164 yards for the Lancers (2-3 in the West Catholic Athletic League, 4-3-1 overall). McCoy added 70 yards rushing.