Football team struggles down the stretch


Conner Harden

Football teammates Charlie Olivera (6) and Matt Fogarty (19) observe from the sidelines Paly’s win over San Benito.

After four straight De Anza League titles, the Palo Alto varsity football team has been struggling to find their rhythm. Despite pounding Mountain View High School on Nov. 1 to the tune of 41-0, their fourth victory by a margin of at least 21 points, the Vikings have yet to string together consecutive wins and find themselves with a relatively disappointing record of 4-4 overall and 3-2 in league.

Three of their four losses came by exactly three points, with their only other loss a 34-14 defeat at the hands of Archbishop Mitty High School. After seemingly finding their groove during their Oct. 4 win at Fremont High School, the Vikings were beaten at home by the Wilcox Chargers by a score of 42-39.

The Chargers raced out to an early lead by way of a long touchdown run within the first few minutes of the game and responded to senior Malcolm Davis’ touchdown catch with two more touchdowns. The Vikings closed the half on a high-note with two touchdowns of their own to slice the Chargers’ lead to one at 21-20. After the Chargers opened the second half scoring with a touchdown, senior quarterback Keller Chryst connected with sophomore Eli Givens for Givens’ second touchdown grab of the day before senior Keesean Johnson ran a punt back to put six more on the board. After trading a couple more scores, the Chargers scored the winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining.

The Vikings responded to their loss against Wilcox with a strong showing at Saratoga High School, winning by a score of 55-21 on Oct. 18. The Vikings opened the game with 28 unanswered points, and their dominance was only interrupted by a one-yard touchdown run. The team added two more touchdowns to bring the score to 41-7. With the game out of hand, Saratoga closed the game on a 14-7 run. Davis starred for the Vikings with three long touchdown runs, including an ankle-breaking 62-yard touchdown scamper.

The Vikings’ inconsistent record continued with a 31-28 loss to the Milpitas Trojans on Paly’s Homecoming Night. In a tightly contested affair, the Vikings and Trojans traded leads six times. Milpitas rounded out the scoring with a clutch 57-yard  touchdown pass. Former Viking Savion Black punished his former school with 12 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson led the way for Paly with a stellar 117 yards on 7 receptions while Chryst was his usual efficient self, throwing for two touchdowns and 238 yards.

After their loss to Milpitas, Paly hammered Mountain View 41-0. Paly gashed Mountain View’s porous defense with six touchdowns, including two of their longest plays from scrimmage: a 95-yard pass from Chryst to Johnson and another stellar Davis run for 92 yards. Chryst was involved in four of Paly’s touchdowns, two of which he ran for, from five and two yards out, respectively.

D Senior running back Malcolm Davis believes that the Vikings are talented and can rebound from their league struggles.

“The season hasn’t been going as well as we expected,” Davis said. “[But the team] picked it up [against Mountain View] a little bit.”

Davis hopes that the Vikings can carry on the momentum they gained from the teams’ Mountain View victory.

“We have playoffs coming up,” Davis said.  “Hopefully we can make a run in the playoffs, and [maybe even] go far and get a CCS [Central Coast Section] title.”

The Palo Alto Vikings will be hosting another game against Los Gatos on Nov. 8  before finishing up their season at Santa Clara on Nov. 15.