Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 14, 2011

Paly's Boyd tries to keep dream going

by Keith Peters

It was only one year ago that the Palo Alto High football team was nearly halfway through the greatest season in program history — a 14-0 campaign that ended with a state championship.

A few month later the Paly baseball team would begin its season, one that would end in that program's first-ever Central Coast Section title.

Perhaps not too surprising, B.J. Boyd was a big part of both those teams.

"It was a dream year," Boyd said this week as he prepared for yet another big game in a career that has been filled with many of them.

It was a dream year that Boyd wouldn't have enjoyed had not he made a big decision after beginning his sophomore year at St. Francis.

"I started the first couple of weeks at St. Francis and then I stopped going to classes," said Boyd, who informed his mother that it was time for him to leave.

The Palo Alto native enrolled at Paly, but had to sit out both the football and baseball seasons due to transfer rules. He watched both teams have highly successful years — football went 7-2-2 while baseball's 29-4 year set a record for most single-season victories in school history.

The best, however, was yet to come.

Boyd joined the football team for the 2010 season, combining with Dre Hill to give the Vikings a solid duo at running back. Boyd and Hill finished with 1,724 rushing yards combined as Paly ran the table for the first time ever while winning the SCVAL De Anza Division, CCS Open Division and CIF State Division I crowns.

In baseball, the speedy Boyd batted .462 with 20 stolen bases, 37 hits and 26 runs scored. The biggest run came in the CCS Division I title game when Boyd scored the winner on an RBI single by Ozzie Braff in a 5-4 victory over San Benito as Paly finished 28-9.

Braff, coincidently, also transferred to Paly after Boyd did.

"I'd been playing with these kids all my life," Boyd said of why he transferred back home. "Basically, I grew up with them in all the sports."

Boyd missed his buddies, with home he had enjoyed many successful seasons — including in Little League and Babe Ruth.

Braff was among that group, as well. His presence on the Paly baseball team last season was obviously huge and now he's joined Boyd on the football squad — playing some tight end and starting at linebacker.

While 2010 was historic for Boyd and Braff, there's plenty to be accomplished this season, as well.

Palo Alto will take 2-0 record in the De Anza Division (4-1 overall) into Friday's showdown at Los Gatos at 7:30 p.m. A victory will give the Vikings control of the division with perhaps only one tough game remaining — against visiting Mountain View on Oct. 28.

"It's this game and Mountain View," Boyd said. "If we get Los Gatos this week, then we can get Mountain View. This (Paly) team has a lot of experience."

Boyd actually has a new position this season, shifting from running back to wide receiver. Fellow senior Morris Gates-Mouton has moved into the backfield to team with Hill, even though Boyd does run some plays out of the backfield.

Boyd, however, has been more efficient catching the ball because once he makes a catch he's in his running back mode anyway. In a crucial 29-13 victory over visiting Wilcox last Friday, Boyd caught TD passes of 36 and 48 yards from sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst. That was after Boyd returned a kickoff 80 yards to negate an opening touchdown by the Chargers.

"Boyd is amazing," Paly coach Earl Hansen told the school's website, The Paly Voice. "When he gets that ball he's dangerous. That's his fourth kickoff return (for a TD). He's not surprising anyone anymore, I would think."

Boyd caught three passes for 125 yards against Wilcox and has 12 receptions for 421 yards and six touchdowns. He also has rushed 21 times for 154 yards and one TD.

Hill has taken over the rushing leadership with 385 yards on 66 carries with Gates-Mouton adding 181 yards on 22 hauls.

That kind of balance has Paly averaging 159.6 passing yards and 157 rushing yards this season. The Vikings are currently ranked No. 82 in the state and No. 5 in CCS by MaxPreps.com.

Boyd was pressed into service as a wide receiver when Mitty put eight defenders on the line to stop Paly's run game. The plan worked as the Monarchs escaped with a 27-21 nonleague victory in Week 2.

That loss still bothers Boyd.

"It kind of hurt that we lost to Mitty," he said. "We made some mistakes."

Boyd, however, sees a victory over Los Gatos perhaps providing a big boost of momentum for the Vikings, who still harbor hopes of a CCS title and maybe even a return to the state bowl game.

"We can do it," said Boyd, "if everyone goes hard."

Palo Alto routed Los Gatos last season, 42-0, and topped the Wildcats in 2009, 34-12. Los Gatos, however, still leads in the all-time series, 17-4.

In other prep games on Friday:

Menlo School (0-1, 4-1) will play host to Half Moon Bay in its homecoming game at 3 p.m.

Pinewood (1-3) will take on visiting Anzar in an eight-man matchup in Los Altos Hills at 4 p.m.

Menlo-Atherton (1-0, 3-2) travels to Sunnyvale to face King's Academy in a PAL Bay Division showdown.

Gunn (1-0, 1-3) takes on SCVAL El Camino Division favorite Santa Clara at Buchser Middle School at 7:15 p.m.

Sacred Heart Prep (0-1, 4-1) looks to bounce back from its first loss since last season when the Gators visit Burlingame in a PAL Bay Division contest at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Priory (2-3) will visit Crystal Springs in another eight-man game at 3 p.m.

In last week's games:

Jack Larson of SHP threw for career highs of 393 yards and four touchdowns and fellow senior Pat Bruni caught 12 passes for 254 yards, both career highs, and two TDs in a 44-30 loss to visiting Terra Nova.

It was by far Larson's biggest day as a quarterback at any level. He was 24-of-47 passing and helped Sacred Heart Prep gain 491 total yards of offense on 90 plays. Terra Nova was just more efficient, as the Tigers threw for 408 yards and had 110 rushing yards for a total of 518. That's a lot of real estate.

In South San Francisco, Menlo School got to within six points but wound up dropping a 41-21 decision to the host Warriors in a PAL Ocean Division opener. Quarterback Jack Heneghan tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Tommy Ford for an early 7-0 lead and made it 14-6 on a one-yard run, also in the opening quarter. Heneghan finished with 164 passing yards on 13 of 223 completions, but was sacked five times. Dylan Mayer scored from 18 yards out after South City had scored four unanswered TDs.

In Hollister, Priory won its second straight game in a 44-14 romp over host Anzar. James McDaniel rushed 19 times for 125 yards and scored on runs of seven and two yards. Malik Reid was even better as his eight carries produced 165 yards and TD runs of four, 76 and 47 yards. Will Latta had a quarterback sneak of one yard for the other touchdown.

In the PAL Bay Division, Menlo-Atherton posted a 35-13 victory over host Burlingame as Taylor Mashack rushed for 146 yards. He never crossed the goal line but he made life easier for his fellow running backs.

Cameron Moody, Dijonn Williams and Jamar Gaddis each scored on a rushing play, while Evan Perkins caught a touchdown pass from Willy Fonua and Luke Pinkston, well, he happened to be in the right place, returning an interception for a touchdown.

In Los Altos Hills, Pinewood won its first game in a 32-0 romp over visiting Cornerstone Christian. After heartbreaking losses in the final minutes of their previous three games, the Panthers (1-3) put together a solid showing with key performances. Kevin Sweat stepped in for injured quarterback John Bennet and threw TD passes of 10 and 13 yards to Greg Naumann, in addition to rushing for a score. Michael Naumann had 10 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns while Kai Kawashima added 13 carries for 79 yards.

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