Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 29, 2010

Palo Alto can wrap up title on homecoming

by Keith Peters

A homecoming game and dance are on tap for the Palo Alto High football team this weekend, and there may be more to celebrate than just that.

If all goes according to plan, the Vikings will have a SCVAL De Anza Division championship to add to the list of celebrations.

All Palo Alto needs to do is defeat visiting Homestead on Friday night (7:30 p.m.) while Wilcox defeats Saratoga.

"Sounds good to me," said Paly coach Earl Hansen.

Palo Alto probably figured it would have to wait until the final game of the regular season to successfully defend its division crown. Thanks to Saratoga's 21-17 upset of Los Gatos last Friday, the door was opened for an earlier clinching.

Palo Alto takes a 4-0 division mark (7-0 overall) into Friday's game against Homestead (2-1, 6-1). Saratoga is 2-1 in league (5-2) overall. A win by the Vikings will give them a two-game lead on the rest of the division with just one to play (at Saratoga on Nov. 5).

Saratoga, which ended a 22-year losing streak to Los Gatos (2-2, 3-3-1) is mathematically alive to win the championship. The Falcons would have to win their final three games, and have Homestead beat Paly, in order to do that.

A scenario also exists where the Falcons could tie Paly for the crown, but both would need a victory over the Vikings.

Palo Alto, however, can pretty much take care of business with a win over Homestead. That would keep the Vikings in line toward a possible 10-0 finish. The last time Paly finished that way was 1950. The team's last unbeaten season (9-0) came in 1963.

"I've never been 10-0," Hansen said. "That would be great — 13-0 would be even better."

A 13-0 record would mean winning the Central Coast Section Open Division title, which likely would include a game against unbeaten Valley Christian. Paly already has beaten Mitty, which routed St. Francis last weekend, 42-14. Bellarmine, which eliminated Paly from the Open Division playoffs last season, also is another possible opponent this postseason.

Speaking of the Open Division, Palo Alto would have to win it to be considered for the CIF State Bowl championship. De La Salle is the prohibitive favorite for the Open Division state finals, so Paly could go in Division I while Grant (Sacramento), ranked ahead of Paly in Northern California, would go to Division II based on its enrollment.

Palo Alto kept its season perfect last week with a 35-0 romp over host Milpitas. Senior quarterback Christoph Bono completed 14 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns while senior wideout Davante Adams had a career night with seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Palo Alto rushed for 194 yards and passed for 299 for 493 total yards. Milpitas was held to just 22 yards on the ground and 59 passing for 81 total yards, Paly's best defensive statistical effort of the season.

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