The Palo Alto High School football team began its season with a 25-12 point win against Patterson High School.
Junior running back Paul Jackson III and senior linebacker Christian Rider gave promising performances that seemed to foreshadow future successes in the team’s future.
Jackson rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns while Rider led the team in total tackles.
“In the first game we had a lot of things going right and we were working well together,” Jackson said. “We moved the ball well down the field and we were also able to pick up on a lot of Patterson’s defensive tendencies. Our offensive line led by Peter Snodgrass dominated Patterson’s defensive line, which allowed me to get into the open field and gain some yards.”
Unfortunately, the following week, the Vikings faced the San Benito High School Haybalers, who ended up beating Paly 42-14.
While the Vikings went into halftime down only by a touchdown, the Haybalers proceeded to score four more touchdowns in the third quarter. This deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Vikings.
The relatively poor second half performance against Patterson coupled with another poor second half performance against San Benito raised some questions about the team’s chances of success later in the season.
“We definitely don’t have as much depth or stamina as many of the other teams in our league,” Jackson said. “It is [the] big reason why our performance can diminish, especially going into the later periods in games, and why we can’t seem to catch up to our opponents.”
However, in Paly’s game against Archbishop Mitty High School, the Vikes’ biggest problem wasn’t depth or stamina, but rather a few isolated incidents which greatly influenced the trajectory of the game.
During the first half, wideout junior Jaxson Hall dropped a pass in the end zone, which, if caught, would have kept the Vikings in the game.
Additionally, running back Paul Jackson fumbled the ball within 10 yards of the Viking end zone, which resulted in an easy touchdown for Mitty.
Had Paly been able to avoid these two mistakes, the game may have ended much better than 41-7.
In Paly’s upcoming matchup against Oak Grove High School, eliminating these isolated mistakes will be a major key to success.