Uploaded: Thursday, November 15, 2012, 4:26 PM
It's a first for Palo Alto vs. Serra in the CCS playoffs
|By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto has enjoyed its fair share of success against West Catholic Athletic League teams the Central Coast Section football playoffs. The Vikings hold wins over Bellarmine, Valley Christian and St. Francis and are 5-4 against the WCAL all-time in the postseason.
One team Palo Alto has never beaten in the playoffs is Serra. The obvious reason for that is the two have never faced each other outside the regular season. The Padres beat the Vikings in 1973 (42-21) and 1974 (34-6) and Paly holds a 62-0 triumph in 1947.
Fourth-seeded Palo Alto and No. 5 seed Serra, however, will meet for the first time in the postseason on Friday night in the first round of the CCS Open Division playoffs on the Vikings' field. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The winner will advance to the semifinals next weekend at Independence High in San Jose at 7 p.m. The likely opponent will be No. 1 seed Bellarmine (9-1), which hosts No. 8 Terra Nova in the first round.
Palo Alto and Serra, meanwhile, will match 8-2 records and high-powered offenses that will put the defenses to the test. The Vikings are averaging 41.5 points a game, which ranks No. 4 in the CCS this season, while the Padres are averaging 36.1 points a contest. Both defenses, coincidently, are holding opponents to 19.1 points a game.
Serra comes in averaging 332 rushing yards a game and only 50.7 through the air, which pretty much sums up what the Padres plan to do Friday. Palo Alto head coach Earl Hansen has faced run-oriented teams before like Bellarmine and has had mixed results in stopping them.
"They (Serra) run that same double wing that Bellarmine does," said Hansen. "They just get their running back in behind the big linemen and go."
The Padres will bank on senior running back Eric Redwood to carry their hopes. He's carried 199 times for 1,416 yards and 20 touchdowns.
"He's not overly fast," Hansen said of Redwood. "But, their linemen are big and strong."
Serra comes into the game following an upsetting 24-0 loss to St. Francis last Saturday.
"They didn't play well," Hansen said of the Padres. "They just go flat out beat. St. Francis played great defense. Redwood had around 100 yards (107), but tons of carries (27). St. Francis came out throwing and didn't stop."
Interestingly enough, neither team generated much yardage. The Lancers rushed for only 37 yards and finished with 244 total yards. The Padres passed for only 57 yards and finished with 273 total.
Defense and turnovers proved to be the difference as St. Francis picked off three passes and recovered a fumble.
"In close games like this one," said Hansen, "we can't make mistakes, like we did against Milpitas."
Paly lost its SCVAL De Anza Division opener to Milpitas, 24-19, in a game that saw junior quarterback Keller Chryst throw five interceptions and senior wideout Malcolm Davis drop an wide-open touchdown pass. In Paly's only other loss, to Mitty, the Vikings missed an extra point and gave up a 99-yard kickoff return in a 28-27 nonleague decision. Take away one mistake in each game and Palo Alto could be sitting at 10-0.
The Vikings, to their credit, recovered from those setbacks. Since the loss to Milpitas, Paly has won six straight. One more win will give the Vikings a record of 100-25-2 in the past 10 seasons for an average of 10 wins per year.
Palo Alto is averaging 46.8 points during its win streak and has scored more points in 10 games (415) than its state championship team did in 2010 when it produced 323 before running the table in the postseason to finish 14-0. Even last season's team, with B.J. Boyd, scored only 402 points after the first 10 games.
Clearly, the Vikings have reloaded instead of rebuilding. It starts with Chryst, who has completed 123 of 240 passes for 2,278 yards and 26 touchdowns with 11 interceptions while averaging 227.8 yards per game. Senior Jayshawn Gates-Mouton has caught 33 passes for 678 yards and junior Malcolm Davis has 32 receptions for 666 yards. Senior Matt Tolbert leads the run game with 1,061 yards on 139 hauls and 12 touchdowns while Justin Gates-Mouton has added 454 yards on 49 carries with five TDs.
"As long as we give Keller time, he's so accurate that we'll score."
The twins Jayshawn and Justin have been sick, however, but were expected back to practice on Wednesday. Jayshawn is arguably the fastest player on the team, and in most games. He ran on the Vikings' record-setting 400-meter relay team that reached the finals of the CIF State Track and Field Championships last spring.
Jayshawn and Justin also double as cornerbacks, with Jayshawn picking off two passes during a 56-21 win over Santa Clara last Friday that gave the Vikings the De Anza Division title and berth into the Open Division.
"They've done very well," Hansen said of the twins. "They're also great dancers in the locker room."
Whether there's any dancing after Friday's game will be determined by how the Vikings meet Serra's challenge.
The key, Hansen said, is "not to let them control the clock." That means no lengthy 10-15 play drives.
"If they do that consistently," Hansen added, "we're in trouble."
A defensive line that includes senior Spencer Drazovich, junior Jack Anderson, junior Justin Rittman, junior Pedro Gomez, senior De'Antay Williams and senior Larry Allen will play a key role in controlling the line of scrimmage. If the Vikings can do that, it's on to the semifinals and a rematch with defending champion Bellarmine.
In other CCS openers Friday, No. 4-seeded Menlo-Atherton (6-4) will host No. 5 Sequoia (8-2) in Division I play and No. 4 Menlo School (8-2) will take on No. 5 Monte Vista Christian (8-2) of Watsonville in Division IV action at Sequoia High. Both games are at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep (9-1) will host No. 7 Pacific Grove (7-3) at 1 p.m.
For Menlo-Atherton and Menlo, first-round wins will earn them semifinal games with top-seeded teams -- Milpitas (7-3) for the Bears and Seaside (10-0) for the Knights. The Gators have a potentially easier route with No. 3 Carmel (9-1) providing a test in the semifinals.
Menlo opens the postseason as the No. 1 scoring team in the CCS with 49.7 points a game while Sacred Heart Prep is the top defensive squad, allowing just nine points a contest despite giving up 28 points to Menlo last week in the Gators' 31-28 victory in the Valparaiso Bowl.
M-A has a new quarterback in Zack Moore, who took over last week for the injured Royce Branning, who had surgery Monday for an ACL tear. The Bears, however, will rely on their physical running game (151 yards a game) with newcomer Marcus Hill leading the way. Two-way player Alan Sakalia and linebacker Brian Jaggers pace the defense.
The Bears are averaging only 18.1 points a game and need to keep it close against the Cherokees.
2012 CCS FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
No. 6 St. Ignatius (7-3) vs. No. 3 Palma (8-2) at Salinas Sports Complex, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Mitty (7-3) at No. 2 Oak Grove (10-0), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Serra (8-2) at No. 4 Palo Alto (8-2), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Terra Nova (6-4) vs. No. 1 Bellarmine (9-1) at San Jose City College, 7 p.m.
No. 6 San Benito (5-5) at No. 3 Alisal (8-2), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Fremont (8-2) at No. 2 Salinas (6-4), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Sequoia (8-2) at No. 4 Menlo-Atherton (6-4), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Silver Creek (5-5) at No. 1 Milpitas (7-3), 7 p.m.
No. 6 South San Francisco (7-3) at No. 3 Wilcox (7-3), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pioneer (4-6) at No. 2 Los Gatos (6-4), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Aragon (7-3) at No. 4 Leland (6-4), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Overfelt (6-4) at No. 1 St. Francis (5-5), 7 p.m.
No. 5 Aptos (8-2) at No. 4 Saratoga (6-4), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Soledad (6-4) at No. 1 Monterey (8-2) at Monterey Peninsula College, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Burlingame (5-5) at No. 3 Valley Christian (4-6), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Riordan (3-7) vs. No. 2 Sobrato (7-3) at Live Oak High, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Soquel (8-2) vs. No. 3 Carmel (9-1) at Pacific Grove High, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Monte Vista Christian (8-2) vs. No. 4 Menlo School (8-2) at Sequoia High, 7 p.m.
No. 8 Capuchino (6-4) at No. 1 Seaside (10-0), 7 p.m.
No. 7 Pacific Grove (7-3) at No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep (9-1), 1 p.m.
HOW THE LOCAL TEAMS HAVE FARED
How the four local teams headed to the 2012 Central Coast Section playoffs this weekend stack up over the years in postseason play:
MENLO SCHOOL (3-8)
Palma 42, Menlo 0
San Lorenzo Valley 34, Menlo 12
Pacific Grove 24, Menlo 88
Willow Glen 39, Menlo 38
Sacred Heart Prep 49, Menlo ost 49-21
Menlo 42, Greenfield 27
Menlo 20, Sacred Heart Prep 14
Carmel 56, Menlo 35
Menlo 36, San Lorenzo Valley 14
Sacred Heart Prep 28, Menlo 28-14
Carmel 42, Menlo 7
Branham 19, Menlo-Atherton 6
Live Oak 39, Menlo-Atherton 0
Menlo-Atherton 28, South SF 27
Aragon 28, Menlo-Atherton 27
St. Francis 24, Menlo-Atherton 0
Mountain View 29, Menlo-Atherton 6
Homestead 24, Menlo-Atherton 0
Menlo-Atherton 14, Hill 0
Leigh 55, Menlo-Atherton 35
Menlo-Atherton 31, Aptos 27
Menlo-Atherton 31, Silver Creek 21
Menlo-Atherton 48, Homestead 34
Aptos 20, Menlo-Atherton 14
Santa Teresa 14, Menlo-Atherton 7
Menlo-Atherton 38, Homestead 17
Menlo-Atherton 41, Monta Vista 28
Menlo-Atherton 28, Woodside 21
Menlo-Atherton 39, Wilcox 33
Piedmont Hills 35, Menlo-Atherton 7
Menlo-Atherton 40, Santa Clara 22
Menlo-Atherton 49, Salinas 14
Serra 42, Menlo-Atherton 21
PALO ALTO (22-13)
Live Oak 21, Palo Alto 14
Mitty 28, Palo Alto 22
Palo Alto 47, Valley Christian 20
Palma 34, Palo Alto 0
Saratoga 24, Palo Alto 7
Palo Alto 27, James Lick 0
Palo Alto 21, Gonzales 14
Palo Alto 14, Saratoga 10
Mitty 31, Palo Alto 14
N. Monterey Co. 21, Palo Alto 7
Terra Nova 10, Palo Alto 0
Palo Alto 48, Branham 42
Palo Alto 27, Aragon 13
San Mateo 41, Palo Alto 13
Palo Alto 15, Monterey 14
Westmont 31, Palo Alto 10
Palo Alto 33, South SF 26
Palo Alto 17, Terra Nova 0
Los Gatos 37, Palo Alto 6
Palo Alto 23, Aragon 21
Palo Alto 41, Palma 38
Palo Alto 23, Oak Grove 21
Palo Alto 38, El Camino 0
Palo Alto 7, North Salinas 0
Palo Alto 14, Menlo-Atherton 7
Palo Alto 48, Leigh 0
Palo Alto 38, Monterey 8
Los Gatos 29, Palo Alto 23
Bellarmine 34, Palo Alto 6
Palo Alto 13, Mitty 10
Palo Alto 35, Bellarmine 0
Palo Alto 21, Valley Christian 14
2010 CIF STATE CHAMPIONS (d. Centennial, Corona, 15-13)
Palo Alto 20, Leland 6
Palo Alto 39, St. Francis 23
Bellarmine 41, Palo Alto 13
SACRED HEART PREP (7-3)
Sacred Heart Prep 49, Menlo 28
Sacred Heart Prep 28, Scotts Valley 24
Sacred Heart Cathedral 38, SHP 21
SHP 45, San Lorenzo Valley 14
Menlo 20, Sacred Heart Prep 14
Sacred Heart Prep 49, Seaside 20
Sacred Heart Prep 28, Menlo 14
Sacred Heart Prep 39, Carmel 32
Sacred Heart Prep 27, Scotts Valley 20
Palma 34, Sacred Heart Prep 7
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