Palo Alto's two defending state championship teams returned to reality as both suffered streak-ending losses on Friday night. The girls' volleyball team saw its two-year, 27-match win string end in the second round of the Mitty Invitational while the Monarchs' football team ended Paly's streak of 15 straight wins at Foothill College.
The Paly volleyball team entered the prestigious Mitty tourney as the No. 1 seed. After sweeping No. 16 Santa Ynez in an opening-round match Friday afternoon, the Vikings were upset by No. 9 Santa Barbara in five sets – the deciding one a 15-13 loss.
Paly (12-1) headed back into the tournament on Saturday, needing two victories to finish fifth in the 16-team tournament. The Vikings, ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation in one poll this season, had won seven straight tournaments over a two-year period.
In football, Palo Alto (1-1) fell behind to a Mitty team that had lost twice to the Vikings last season. A third time certainly wasn't a charm for Paly, which battled back to tie at 21 before the Monarchs connected on the game-winning 78-yard pass play in the fourth quarter to hand the Vikings their first loss since Nov. 20, 2009 when they lost to Bellarmine in the opening round of the CCS Open Division playoffs.
The Vikings' defense gave up 152 passing yards just to the quarterback-receiver combo of Andrew Barna and Cail McClenahen, the same tandem that provided the winning TD. Barna finished with 236 yards.
Palo Alto still had an opportunity for a possible game-winning touchdown, but an interception of Paly quarterback Keller Chryst ended that hope with 38 seconds to play. Chryst also threw an interception earlier in the game that was returned 18 yards for a TD. That ruined an otherwise sterling effort by the sophomore, who completed 23 of 35 passes for 237 yards and a game-tying touchdown to B.J. Boyd. Dre Hill scored Paly's first two touchdowns.
"We just made a couple mistakes and you can't do that against good football teams," said Paly coach Earl Hansen.
Next up for Palo Alto will be a nonleague game at Gunn on Sept. 23. The Titans (0-2) dropped a 35-7 nonleague game to visiting Burlingame on Friday night. In another nonleague test, host Menlo-Atherton (1-2) lost to visiting St. Ignatius, 24-7, as the Bears committed five turnovers.