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Prolific Menlo-Atherton offense shines in season-opening victory

Matt MacLeod threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns against Half Moon Bay. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo
Matt MacLeod threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns against Half Moon Bay. Gregory Moreland-Tuhn / Staff Photo

On opening night for Menlo-Atherton and game No. 2 for the Cougars, it was a dominating performance. In a battle of two Bay Area top 25 teams, the Menlo-Atherton Bears (1-0) dominated the Half Moon Bay Cougars (0-1). Offensive stars Matt MacLeod, Jalen Moss, Jeremiah Earby and Johnnie Barbie came out firing on all cylinders for the Bears as they won convincingly, 36-20. 

This game was hyped to be one of the best games of the second week of high school football, as Menlo-Atherton was ranked No. 7 in the Bay Area and Half Moon Bay was No. 16 after a season-opening win over Burlingame. However, early on Menlo-Atherton proved it is a top 10 team in the Bay Area. On a night filled with big plays for high-flying Menlo-Atherton offense, the second play from scrimmage went to the highly recruited Moss for a 50-yard touchdown. 

Half Moon Bay looked to respond on its first drive, and it looked like it did on a big fourth down play. Quarterback William Moffitt found Tristian Hofmann down the sideline, who broke tackles and had an incredible touchdown. However, behind the play flags flew, and the turning point in the game was on just the second drive of the game. A holding call that changed the flow of the game kept it at 7-0 and forced a punt by the Cougars. 

Menlo-Atherton took advantage of the holding penalty and struck again. MacLeod and Mossd connected again for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Bears up 14-0 in the first half. That would be the score through one quarter, as the Cougars could not complete drives in the first half. 

MacLeod just felt like making big plays all night,as early in the second quarter he found Johnnie Barbie for a 62-yard touchdown. Barbie finished with 80 yards on the night, as he was one of seven pass catchers for the Bears Friday night. 

Once again, the Cougars had nothing going, so MacLeod decided to hit one more strike in the half. This time Jeremiah Earby, who was one of the best defensive backs during the offseason showcases, caught a 60-yard bomb for the Bears’ fourth touchdown of the half. 

One more drive for M-A in the first half led to a long field goal to make the score 30-0. 

Coming out of halftime, Hofmann and the Cougar team certainly did not quit. They kept their foot on the gas and grinded their way through the second half, ultimately winning the second half battle by a score of 20-6.   

They came out running the ball a ton ,as they had 35 rushes in this game. Hofmann would get the Cougars on the board first in the second half, as he scored the first of his three second half touchdowns from two yards out. This would make the score 30-6 after a failed two-point conversion, but MacLeod would respond for a final throw. Earby had a 45-yard reception on an amazing one-handed catch to bring his total for the game to 105 yards on the night. Then it was Dwayne Green’s turn to get in on the action with a 10-yard touchdown run that would cap the scoring for the Bears. 

After that it turned into the Hofmann show. Totaling 145 yards and three touchdowns, with the majority of that coming in the second half, he willed Half Moon Bay to improving its chances to come back. A 7-yard catch and run into the end zone from Moffitt brought the score to 36-12. 

After a stop, Hofmann struck again, this time with a 2-yard touchdown and scoring on the two-point conversion. All of a sudden Half Moon Bay was only down 36-20 with five minutes left. An onside kick nearly recovered by Hofmann almost made the game get tense at the end, but with the onside kick being scooped up by the Bears, they handed the ball to Green to finish it off. 

MacLeod had high praise for this offense. 

“My receivers are incredible,” MacLeod said. “Jalen, Jeremiah, Johnnie, all of them. There are so many of them. Studs, man.”

Earby and Moss had similar praise for their quarterback.

“He played amazing,” Moss said. “Matt is an amazing quarterback.” 

Link to Photo Gallery

Box Score: 

Menlo-Atherton

Rushing: Thomas Taufui: 6 carries, 36 yards. Johnnie Barbie: 2 carries, 4 yards. Matt MacLeod: 1 carry, 14 yards. Dwayne Green: 17 carries, 83 yards, TD. Jojo Flood: 1 carry, 2 yards.

Passing: Matt MacLeod: 315 yards, 4 TD.

Receiving: Jalen Moss: 3 catches, 69 yards, 2 TD. Johnnie Barbie: 3 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD. Andrew Buck: 1 catch, 13 yards. Thomas Taufui: 1 catch, 20 yards. Eric Stuart: 1 catch 18 yard.; Jeremiah Earby: 2 catches, 105 yards, TD. Harry Osorio: 1 catch, 6 yards.

Half Moon Bay

Rushing: Tristan Hofmann: 22 carries, 107 yards, 2 TD. William Moffitt: 9 carries, 58 yards. Cristian Haro: 1 carry, 1 yard. Connor Quosig: 3 carries, 16 yards.

Passing: William Moffitt: 108 yards, TD.

Receiving: Luke James: 2 catches, 23 yards. Lukas Meighen: 1 catch, 32 yards. Tristan Hofmann: 4 catches, 38 yards, TD. Nohea Sharp: 2 catches, 11 yards. Cristian Hero: 1 catch, 6 yards.

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