Sports

Palo Alto, St. Francis meet for the first time in postseason

By Keith Peters

Palo Alto Online

The Palo Alto football team has played 33 games in the Central Coast Section playoffs and, perhaps surprisingly, holds a winning record against the West Catholic Athletic League.

The Vikings have played Mitty three times, Bellarmine and Valley Christian twice each and has a 4-3 mark in those contests.

One WCAL team that Paly has never played in the postseason is St. Francis. That, however, will change this weekend when the Vikings and Lancers meet up in the CCS Open Division semifinals on Saturday at San Jose City College at 7 p.m.

The game is so big that the state champion Palo Alto girls' volleyball team switched its NorCal semifinal on Saturday from 7 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. so not to conflict.

Fourth-seeded Palo Alto (9-2) brings a 21-12 all-time postseason record into the showdown while the No. 8 Lancers (6-5) are 72-18-1 CCS games. St. Francis, in fact, is the winningest team in section playoff history.

The Lancers continued that mastery with a 20-17 upset of top-seeded Oak Grove last weekend to open the playoffs. That certainly opened Paly's door a little wider to the division championship game on Dec. 2 at San Jose CC at 8 p.m.

The Vikings, of course, must beat the Lancers to earn a date with the Mitty-Bellarmine winner. They play in the semifinals on Friday, also at SJCC.

St. Francis is led by quarterback Colin Johnson (77 for 122 for 1,213 yards) and running back Durell Crooks (189 carries for 1,269 yards). If the Vikings can stop either of these two and not turn the ball over like they did last week in a 20-6 first-round win over Leland, Paly could find itself playing for a second straight Open Division title.

Palo Alto overcame some sloppiness on a rainy night last week as senior wideout B.J. Boyd caught two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst to lead the Vikings. Dre Hill added a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and finished with 127 yards on 25 carries.

Chryst overcame four interceptions in the first half while dealing with a slippery ball. He was more solid in the second half with his two TD passes, winding up with 169 passing yards while the Paly defense did a standout job by blanking a Leland offense that had been averaging nearly 38 points a game.

Menlo-Atherton will get the CCS semifinals off to an early start when the No. 2-seeded Bears (8-3) play host to No. 6 Salinas (7-4) in Division I action Friday at 1 p.m.

Menlo-Atherton romped past No. 7 Santa Clara (8-3) by a 40-22 count last week while Salinas edged Homestead, 27-26.

In Division IV, No. 4-seeded Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) will take on No. 1 Palma (9-1-1) on Friday at the Salinas Sports Complex at 7 p.m. The Gators advanced to this game by rallying past No. 5 Scotts Valley, 27-20, in a first-round game last Saturday.

2011 CCS FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

OPEN DIVISION

First round

Palo Alto 20, Leland 6

St. Francis 20, Oak Grove 17

Bellarmine 56, Terra Nova 12

Mitty 36, San Benito 0

Semifinals

Friday

Bellarmine (10-1) vs. Mitty (7-3-1) at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Palo Alto (9-2) vs. St. Francis (6-5) at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.

DIVISION I

First round

Menlo-Atherton 40, Santa Clara 22

Salinas 27, Homestead 26

Milpitas 42, Mountain View 33

Serra 38, Wilcox 6

Semifinals

Friday

Salinas (7-4) at Menlo-Atherton (8-3), 1 p.m.

Saturday

Milpitas (8-3) at Serra (9-2), 1 p.m.

DIVISION II

First round

South San Francisco 31, Willow Glen 23

Pioneer 25, El Camino 0

Los Gatos 62, Leigh 14

Aragon 30, Sobrato 17

Semifinals

Friday

South San Francisco (9-2) at Pioneer (8-3), 7 p.m.

Aragon (9-2) at Los Gatos (9-1-1), 7 p.m.

DIVISION III

First round

St. Ignatius 35, Aptos 31

Sacred Heart Cathedral 37, Monterey 14

Christopher 55, Del Mar 0

Valley Christian 35, Burlingame 21

Semifinals

Friday

Sacred Heart Cathedral (6-5) vs. Christopher (10-1) at Gilroy High, 7 p.m.

Saturday

St. Ignatius (4-6-1) at Valley Christian (6-5), 7 p.m.

DIVISION IV

First round

Palma 35, Soledad 0

Carmel 41, Menlo School 7

Monte Vista Christian 38, Half Moon Bay 11

Sacred Heart Prep 27, Scotts Valley 20

Semifinals

Friday

Sacred Heart Prep (8-3) vs. Palma (9-1-1) at Salinas Sports Complex, 7 p.m.

Monte Vista Christian (10-1) vs. Carmel (11-0) at Pacific Grove High, 7 p.m.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by KION 1460
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

The Palma-Sacred Heart game will be broadcast live on KION 1460 AM & 101.1 FM in Salinas. For those not attending, you can listen to the game via the 'net at www.1460KION.com, beginning at 6:35pm on Friday, November 25th.


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