Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - September 14, 2012

Palo Alto not ready for prime time

Vikings don't get the fan votes to be televised, but they'll nonetheless host Mitty in what should be yet another entertaining showdown

by Keith Peters

If one were to gauge the importance of the Palo Alto-Mitty football game, based on fan votes on KTVU's High School Football Game of the Week, that lack of interest would be staggering.

As of Thursday morning, the Sonoma Valley-American Canyon titanic had 39,575 votes to be televised. The more interesting El Cerrito-Campolindo game had 35,381 votes. Next was Tennyson vs. Acalanes with 210 and then Bethel-Concord with 90.

The Mitty at Palo Alto game, set for Friday at 7:30 p.m., had just 60 votes — holding off Los Gatos-Oak Grove (48 votes) for last place.

While fans in the East Bay obviously could care less and South Bay fans obviously could care less about voting, the Palo Alto-Mitty matchup is significant, nonetheless.

The teams have played five times (including twice in 2010) since beginning the rivalry in 2008, with Palo Alto winning three times despite scoring 94 points while allowing 120.

Paly coach Earl Hansen said starting the series was a no-brainer.

"No one wanted to play us on that date," he said of the second week of the season. "And, I wanted an 'A' league team to play."

Prior to starting up with Mitty, the Vikings played Burlingame three straight years in Week 2, beat Mountain View in 2004 and Sequoia in back-to-back seasons. The last time Paly lost the second game of the season was in 2000 to South San Francisco.

Hansen said top teams from out of the Central Coast Section have shown interest in a two-year, home-and-home series with the Vikings — including schools from as far away as Atascadero.

"I'm not interested in making those kind of trips," Hansen said.

Mitty has provided plenty of competition for Palo Alto, which lost to the Monarchs in 2011 by 27-21. The teams, in fact, have traded victories during the regular season since '08. This is Paly's year to get back in the win column.

"We've got to pick up our defensive speed, and our offensive speed," said Hansen. "Just be more consistent. The younger players need to understand what kind of game we're going to be in."

Hansen expects a tougher test than in last Friday's season-opening 40-21 victory over host San Benito.

The Vikings gained 541 yards on offense (248 passing, 293 rushing) while pulling away in the second half after some early jitters.

Senior co-captain Matt Tolbert rushed for a career-high 201 yards on 15 carries and junior Keller Chryst completed 12 of 30 passes for 248 yards to lead the Vikings.

Paly rallied from three deficits, the final one when junior Malcolm Davis scored on a 26-yard run with 2:21 left in the third. That gave the Vikings a 26-21 lead they never relinquished. Davis finished with three TDs.

Paly pulled away after that with Chryst hitting Davis on a 19-yard scoring play. A two-point conversion made it 34-21.

A 25-yard touchdown pass from Chryst to Tolbert with 2:40 left wrapped up the Vikings' season-opening win.

Chryst also threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Davis and a 36-yarder to Jayshawn Gates-Mouton, finishing with four scoring passes. Tolbert added a 74-yard TD jaunt, giving Paly a short-lived 20-14 lead.

Tolbert averaged 13.4 yards per carry in addition to catching two passes for 33 yards and leading the defense with 6.5 tackles. Davis caught six passes for 116 yards while Erik Anderson and Jayshawn Gates-Mouton had 5.5 tackles each on defense.

In other games in Week 3:

Gunn (2-0) goes for a third straight victory against visiting Capuchino on Friday at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Sacred Heart prep (2-0) will host Los Altos at 1 p.m., Priory (1-0) will host El Sobrante Christian School at 1 p.m., and Menlo-Atherton (1-1) will visit St. Ignatius at 2 p.m. Menlo School has a bye.

In other games last week:

Gunn 28, Carlmont 6

Gunn went into Friday night's home opener with the possibility of going 2-0 for the first time since 2002. Thanks to big plays by Kevin Sharp and Andre Guzman, the Titans reached their goal with a solid nonleague victory win over Carlmont.

Gunn is off to its best start since the 2002 team started the season 6-0 en route to an 8-4 season that saw the Titans advance to a CCS semifinal game. The Titans' opening two wins extends their winning streak to four game as they won the last two of 2011 campaign. The four-game win streak is also the longest win streak since the 2002 season

Thanks to scoring plays of 95, 93 and 70 yards in the first half and 32 yards in the second, the Titans got off to a quick lead and never trailed.

The game started out in strong fashion when Sharp took the opening kickoff and found a nice hole, thanks to great blocking, and went untouched for a 95-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead. Later, Guzman hit Sean Lydster on a screen pass and Lydster went 93 yards for the touchdown.

Guzman later hit Mike Jorgensen in stride at midfield and Jorgensen ran into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown and Sharp caught a 32-yard TD to give Gunn a 28-0 lead. Guzman finished 13 of 16 for 274 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Sacred Heart Prep 27, Mt. View 3

Senior Ryan Gaertner scored two touchdowns for the second straight week to lead Sacred Heart Prep to a solid nonleague victory over host Mountain View on Friday afternoon.

Gaertner scored on a pair of 2-yard runs after Derek Hunter hauled in a 50-yard scoring toss from Kevin Donahoe, who added a one-yard TD run in the third quarter.

The Gators' defense once again proved tough. SHP has allowed only nine points in its two games.

Sacred Heart Prep (2-0) gained 234 yards on the grounds as Ben Burr Kirven (84 yards on 10 carries), Ryan Gaertner (66 yards on 15 carries) and Jack Del Santo (59 yards on 7 carries) led the way.

Donahoe completed 7-of-10 passes for 128 yards while Hunter caught three passes for 78 yards.

Los Gatos 42, Menlo-Atherton 6

Menlo-Atherton limited the host Wildcats to 201 total yards, but gave up a 93-yard kickoff return and an 87-yard punt return while dropping a lopsided nonleague game on Friday night.

Menlo 56, Mission 24

Rolling up another dominating victory with some big plays, Menlo School (2-0) cruised past Mission-San Francisco at Kezar Stadium on Saturday in nonleague action.

Menlo junior Travis Chambers rushed for 112 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown as the Knights rolled up 462 total yards. Senior quarterback Matt Bradley completed 8 of 12 passes for 170 yards and three TDs, and junior Jack Heneghan added another 78 passing yards and the game's first touchdown pass — a 27-yard strike to senior Connor Stastny.

Wiley Osborne finished with seven catches for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Stastny had four receptions for 67 yards. Senior lineman Wyatt Rouser had another standout performance on both sides of the ball. He blocked an extra-point attempt, had two tackles, and he ran the ball in from the 1 for a third-quarter touchdown.

Priory 44, Rincon Valley 36

James McDaniel rushed 18 times for 246 yards and scored four touchdowns to help Priory open its eight-man season with a big nonleague victory over visiting Rincon Valley Christian on Saturday in Portola Valley.

Will Latta added 60 rushing yards on seven carries with one touchdown, had 35 receiving yards plus another TD and intercepted two passes. Malik Reid rushed six times for 32 yards for the Panthers (1-0) and added two running conversions following touchdowns.

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