Finishing the season off strong, Paly’s varsity football team is headed off to the Central Coast Section (CCS) Open Division finals for the first time in six years. This year’s varsity football team has shown huge improvement from last year, only losing one game throughout the whole season, while last year’s team only won three games.
“We ended the regular season with a record of 9-1 which hasn’t been done in a while. We’re just so motivated and really want to do something special.”
Junior Dylan Duncan
The last game of the season was an away game on Oct. 2 against Homestead where Paly blew them out with a score of 49-0.
“We did really well the first half,” junior wide receiver and defensive back Joey Passarello said. “Jackson Chryst went off and had six touchdown passes, and Jamir Shepard had three touchdowns. In the second half, we just cruised and burned out the clock.”
The team has been able to succeed throughout the season due to the individual achievements of many players.
“It was a fun game,” Duncan said. “I got to see my teammate Jamir Shepherd break 20 regular season touchdowns coming into the game with 17.”
The team’s success this season has given them the opportunity to compete in the CCS finals where they will fight to become open division champions.
“The teams next steps are big,” junior wide receiver Jamir Shepard said. “We are going into playoffs and want to go in and win every single game to go CCS Finals. We need to prepare and stay focused all week for the first big playoff game.”
To prepare for important games like these, the team has been working hard during practices to be in the best shape possible to compete at the highest level, according to Duncan.
“We have been conditioning after practice with the running back coach, working on reading and reacting with the defensive backs coach, and our scout team period, where it’s our scout team versus our starting offense or vice versa.”
This Friday, the team will face Los Gatos High School at Paly for their first round of CCS.
“We have come in on Monday and locked in our focus to make sure we get our minds right and ready to compete,” Duncan said.
Because they have already faced Los Gatos is the regular season, the team knows what to expect. However, they are still preparing for any differences they may face.
“We are expecting Los Gatos to fix mistakes that they had against us,” Passarello said. “They have a good power run which we are preparing for.”
Preparing individually is another way to ensure the win.
“I’m just using my own strategy, which is to beat my man off the line every play,” Shepard said.
Despite the good competition they will face in CCS, many players believe that their success in league play will translate into victories during the playoffs.
Passarello said, “This season so far has been a success, but I think our success can be reflected by our playoff performance.”