It’s interesting to hear people’s perceptions when it comes to football game results, especially when it comes to the Peninsula Athletic League.
Take Mills’ 14-6 win over El Camino Friday, for example. Nearly every person I talked to following that game — be it coaches from other teams or officials — believed that game to be an upset.
I, however, don’t believe that. It seems most people favored the Colts based on how well they played against Aragon in Week 2. Meanwhile, Mills wasn’t getting a whole lot of attention, despite building an identical preseason record as El Camino — 3-1.
Turns out, the teams could not have been more evenly matched. While El Camino lost to Aragon, which is now 4-1 overall, the Vikings’ lone loss came to a then undefeated Los Altos team — a game Mills lost by a pair of points. Since then, Los Altos has been beaten — leaving the Eagles at 4-1 as well, same as Aragon.
A comparison of the rest of the schedule for both Mills and El Camino shows that Friday’s game really could have gone either way. In fact, I had Mills the favorite in the game against the Colts. The two basically played the same caliber of teams in the preseason, but it was the Vikings averaging more than 30 points per game, compared to 21 points per contest for the Colts. Both defenses had been stingy all season and it added up to a defensive battle that put the onus on the offenses making plays.
Mills has a bit more of a passing threat than El Camino and that proved to be the difference Friday.
To me, the bigger upset was the Sequoia-Terra Nova game. No, not that the Cherokees beat the Tigers. Terra Nova improved to 5-0 overall and opened the Bay Division with the win.
No, the upset was Sequoia holding Terra Nova’s high-octane offense to just 26 points — about half of what the Tigers have been averaging this season.
For Sequoia, however, it was verification that the Cherokees do belong in the Bay Division. When I talked to coach Rob Poulos late in the summer, he jokingly said be careful what you wish for. Deep in his heart, I’m sure he was confident the team could compete in the Bay Division, despite being in the Lake only three seasons ago. But I’m also sure there was a little nagging feeling somewhere in his brain that wondered how his team would fare playing against the best the PAL has to offer.
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Cherokees. They are now tasked with slowing down another prolific offense when they host Menlo School Friday night.
When the Daily Journal sports department — myself and sports reporter Julio Lara — sat down Thursday to put together the primer on the PAL football season, one of the criteria we used in ranking teams was strength of schedule.
My biggest fear was we would unintentionally offend a coach with the ranking we gave their preseason schedule.
What I was confident of, however, was the ranking we gave to the Woodside schedule, which, along with Terra Nova, had one of the strongest non-league schedule of all PAL teams.
Despite going 0-4 during the non-league portion of the schedule, it appears to have paid off as the Wildcats basically doubled up Half Moon Bay in their Ocean Division opener, 42-27, racking up 520 yards of offense in the process.
After a false start a few weeks ago, Menlo-Atherton has, officially, hired a new wrestling coach to front its program.
Nathan Pantoj, a sixth- and seventh-grade English and history teacher at Beechwood School in Menlo Park, a has more than 10 years coaching experience in both the Clovis Unified School District — a hotbed of wrestling in the state — and here on the Peninsula. He is also one of the founders of the East Peninsula Wrestling Club, which serves athletes in the fourth through eighth grades. The club finished third in the Peninsula Middle School League last season and one of his athletes, a sixth-grade girl, took fourth in the girls’ Middle School State Championship in Vallejo.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.