By Ari Kaye
Palo Alto Online Sports
The third time was not the charm for senior Palo Alto quarterback Keller Chryst and his fellow Vikings on Saturday night. Chryst fell to Mitty for the third time in his career, as the Monarchs (3-0) cruised to a 34-14 nonleague victory over the Vikings (1-1) at Foothill College.
Mitty was without senior starting quarterback Trent Scharrenberg due to a right ankle sprain, and was forced to start a novice at the position, junior Brett Foley, a converted outside linebacker.
"I've been dreaming about starting at quarterback my whole life," said Foley. "Finally I got the opportunity, and hopefully took advantage of it."
Foley did more than just take advantage of the opportunity, he absolutely dominated, rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns against an overmatched Paly defense.
"(Foley's) a good player, he's an athlete," said Paly head coach Earl Hansen. "It's hard to emulate Mitty's (speed) in practice. Our scout team can't run that fast."
Foley ended up throwing the ball only twice, as Mitty relied on a relentless running attack that gained over 450 yards on the ground.
"We didn't feel like we needed to pass the ball," said Mitty head coach Matt Haniger. "For the most part we were gashing them on first down. So that made it easy to keep running."
Paly jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead to open the ballgame, as Chryst found senior wide receiver Keesean Johnson in the end zone from 21 yards out to cap off an 80-yard drive. Mitty responded immediately, as Foley raced 60 yards down the field for the first of his two touchdown runs.
"I've never seen a hole quite that big." said a smiling Foley of his 60-yard dash. "The (pregame) stretching helped me a lot because I would not have been able to break away from those guys."
Toward the end of the first quarter, Mitty senior running back Kyle Evans weaved his way to the end zone on a 77-yard punt return, evading multiple potential Paly tacklers, to give Mitty a 14-7 advantage. Paly's poor effort on the play served as a harbinger of more special teams' miscues to come.
Evans began the second quarter with a 65-yard touchdown run for Mitty, but Paly answered back, as Chryst connected with senior wide receiver Malcolm Davis for a 43-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-14.
"He is the best quarterback (prospect) from this area in a long time as far as throwing the ball." Haniger said of Chryst, who completed 13-of-23 passes for 218 yards. "He's money, especially if you play man coverage and don't see the ball."
However, at the end of the second quarter, special teams' problems would rear its ugly head again for Paly.
After Mitty senior kicker Tanner Haas made a 26-yard field goal with 12 seconds to go, Paly fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Monarchs recovered. Haas promptly drained a 42-yard field goal on the next play, giving Mitty a 27-14 lead at the half.
The second half was a low-scoring affair, as Mitty's relentless running attack allowed them to control the ball. Foley ran in the only score of the second half for either team, a four-yard touchdown run, which capped off an 11-play, 11-minute drive.
"When we can control the clock the way we did, we are going to make it tough on people to get the ball back and score against us," Haniger said. "So definitely (controlling the ball) helps our defense out."
For Paly, another nonleague game is on the docket next week, as they travel to Salinas to take on Palma. Although Palma has staggered to an early 0-3 record, coach Hansen knows that his team will need some major improvements before taking on the Chieftains.
"We have got to get some consistency on both sides of the ball," said Hansen, whose rushing attack netted just 27 yards on 16 carries.