After defeating rival Los Gatos High School in the Central Coast Section (CCS) quarterfinals, the boys football team fell to Menlo-Atherton High School by a score of 17-7 in the semifinals, closing out the season with an overall record of 10-2.
Junior wide receiver and cornerback Junacio Henley scored Paly’s only touchdown of the game in the third quarter, while all other drives were stopped by Menlo-Atherton’s strong defense.
Junior wide receiver Jamir Shepard credited his fellow teammates for a great effort and display of positive attitudes as he also remained optimistic throughout the game.
“Before the Menlo-Atherton game I was locked in, ready to come out and play hard. When we were losing I was not going to give up, and that’s what I did.”
Junior Jamir Shepard
Many other players such as senior wide receiver Paul Thie, senior running back Aiden Chang, and quarterback Jackson Chryst finished their high school football careers with key contributions in the game. This semifinal game was high stakes as the winner would advance to the CCS Finals. According to junior safety Kevin Cullen this pressure created a game environment like no other.
“This was the craziest high school football game I had played in or seen since the state championship year,” Cullen said. “The crowd encircled the stadium and it was the best atmosphere a crowd could have possibly provided.”
Despite a tough loss, Cullen commends the team both on the offensive and defensive end for their excellent performance.
“Our defensive held an explosive offense to only 17 points, and our offensive played well against one of the best defenses in the league.”
Junior Kevin Cullen
According to Shepard, although the successful season did not end accordingly, he is already looking forward to next season. With a strong group of players returning for their senior season, Shepard is confident that the team can reach greater heights for the 2019 season.
“I’m so pumped for next season I can’t wait to be a senior and to be able to lead this team far with captains Kevin Cullen, Colin Giffen, Junacio Henley and Louis Passarello,” Shepard said. “We are looking forward to taking this team to the CCS Championships and even further.”