Art by Ajay Venkatraman

Joc comes home

In a December rainstorm, the unranked 2010 Paly varsity football team pulled a shocking upset over the nation’s fifth-ranked Centennial Huskies from Corona to capture the California Division I football title.

In hindsight, two names stick out from Paly’s roster: senior wide receiver Joc Pederson and junior wide receiver Davante Adams. Playing second and third fiddle to receiver Maurice Williams, who led the team in touchdown receptions, Pederson and Adams would go on to stardom in pro sports. And over a three-day span in mid-March, both took a step closer to home.

Pederson, who signed a contract to play baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school and has won back-to-back World Series with the Dodgers in 2020 and the Atlanta Braves in 2021, inked a 1-year, $6 million dollar contract with the San Francisco Giants on March 16. Junior Oliver Marburg said he’s happy about seeing Pederson sign with the Giants.

“I think it’s really cool to see a Paly alum come and play for the Giants,” Marburg said. “In San Francisco, I can actually see him play and root for him. I think it was inevitable that he was going to come back at some point, so I’m happy that it’s at a time when the Giants are in position to win a World Series.”

Senior Dominic De Feo said he looks forward to seeing Pederson play at Oracle Park too.

“Joc is a really exciting guy to watch, and it’ll be so cool to see him in person,” De Feo said.

Two days after Pederson’s signing, the Green Bay Packers traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. Adams played college football for two years at Fresno State before being drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. Marburg said in the years since, Adams has shown his true talent and will only improve with his move to the Raiders.

“Adams is a really good player,” he said. “It’s great to see another Paly alum get paid.”

While the Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020, Marburg said in many ways, the Raiders remain part of the local community.

“Even though they’re in Vegas now, it still feels like they’re coming home. They still have most of their fanbase in Oakland, and after their time in Los Angeles they’re very much a California team.”

De Feo agrees.

“I still think of the Raiders as a Bay Area team, even though they’re in Las Vegas,” De Feo said.

With athletes such as Adams, Pederson and former NBA guard Jeremy Lin, Paly has produced a substantial crop of professional athletes. De Feo, who plays catcher for the varsity baseball team, said this is because of an athletic culture that drives its players forward.

“We have a winning culture at Paly,” he said. “When you get with the right group of guys at the right time, it motivates you to be even better than you currently are. It’s really cool seeing someone who went to your high school playing at the highest level. It feels like it could be anyone, so why not you?”