A lot has changed for the Palo Alto football team in just one year, which was evident on the field Friday night in the Vikings' 42-7 loss to visiting Los Gatos.
Palo Alto (0-1, 2-2) was smothered and scored upon by powerhouse Los Gatos (1-0, 3-0-1) early, giving up 42 straight points until eventually scoring late in the fourth quarter for a 42-7 final tally in a SCVAL De Anza Division opener for both teams.
Last season, Palo Alto pasted a 35-7 loss on Los Gatos. It was a stinging defeat that carried into Friday's game. Revenge? You bet.
The Wildcats went to work quickly as on their second play from scrimmage senior running back Nick Kalpin rumbled his way into the Paly end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.
After allowing Oak Grove to rush for 191 yards a week ago in a 27-7 loss, Paly has begun a trend of allowing teams to run over and around them. This would be no different for the Wildcats as by the end of four quarters Kalpin had rushed for 182 yards on 26 carries and scord three touchdowns.
With the Wildcats up 7-0 and the Vikings failing to put anything together offensively, senior Mike Martin stymied Los Gatos's air attack with an interception, beginning what would be a strong defensive effort from the Paly defensive backs. The Wildcats had nothing to worry about, however, as Kaplin picked up 1st downs at will.
Paly, on the other hand, only managed a measly 43 yards on the ground as Los Gatos stifled any Paly attack. Sione Mataele, the Vikings' 260-pound fullback, had just 34 yards on 11 carries.
The Vikings' passing game didn't fare much better as junior quarterback Will Brandin completed just seven of 14 passes for 80 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Brandin left the game late in the third quarter after suffering a bruised rib.
With Brandin receiving medical attention on the bench, senior Jeff Wilson finished the game at quarteback. With 3:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, Wilson put Paly on the board with a 33-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Brook Seaman.
The Vikings will travel to face Mountain View (2-1) next Friday in their second straight league game.