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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - October 26, 2012

Paly has rooting interest in its title hopes

by Keith Peters

It's not often you'll catch Palo Alto football coach Earl Hansen rooting for rival Los Gatos, but this weekend may be the exception. Hansen would love to see the Wildcats knock off Milpitas on Friday night.

A Los Gatos victory, coupled with a Palo Alto win over Saratoga in a homecoming game, will create a two-way tie in the SCVAL De Anza Division while effectively removing Milpitas from the title picture.

All three teams head into Friday's games with 3-1 division marks. Milpitas has beaten Paly, the Vikings have beaten the Wildcats, and the Trojans have lost to Wilcox.

Should Los Gatos and Palo Alto win, the Vikings will hold a tiebreaker over the Wildcats — thanks to last week's 25-7 victory. All the Vikings would have to do is knock off winless Mountain View and Santa Clara (2-2) in the final two weeks of the regular season to get the division's No. 1 seed into the Central Coast Section playoffs and a berth in the Open Division.

Paly's defensive backs could be busy against Saratoga, with Falcons' quarterback Jonathan Walters already throwing for 2,212 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. Paly will counter with its own junior QB, Keller Chryst. He's thrown for 1,619 yards and 20 TDs thus far.

Palo Alto isn't the only local team harboring title thoughts.

Gunn (3-0, 5-2) can win the SCVAL El Camino Division by winning its final three games — starting Friday against visiting Cupertino (2-1, 7-1) at 7:30 p.m. After that, the Titans face Monta Vista (3-0, 5-2) and Fremont (2-1, 5-2) on the road.

Menlo-Atherton (3-0, 5-2) can control its own destiny in the PAL Bay Division, but the Bears still have a tough road ahead. M-A first must beat host Sacred Heart Prep (2-1, 6-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m., then knock off co-leader Terra Nova (2-0, 4-3) next Friday in Atherton.

Menlo School (2-1, 6-1) still has a glimmer of hope in the PAL Ocean Division, but will need someone to upset first-place South San Francisco. The Knights continue their title search on Friday by hosting Sequoia (2-1, 6-1) at 3 p.m.

In eight-man action, Priory (3-0, 5-0) can all but capture the Mission Trail Athletic League title by beating Stuart Hall (3-0, 4-1) on Saturday at Treasure Island at 3 p.m. The showdown will match Priory's James McDaniel (91 carries for 895 yards) against Stuart Hall's Trayvon Hicks (101 carries for 923 yards).

In games last week:

Palo Alto 25, Los Gatos 7

Matt Crist and the Palo Alto defense wanted to make a statement in the SCVAL De Anza Division and getting after Los Gatos early and often was part of the plan. Consider the statement made.

The Vikings' offense followed along as Keller Chryst passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns to help Palo Alto achieve maximum efficiency in the victory.

"We came ready to play," Crist said. "We were really prepared for this game and knew we had to get after them. We want to make sure no one can beat us on our home turf."

Crist, Erik Anderson, Andrew Frick and Drew Rider made things miserable for Wildcats' quarterback Nick Bawden, who managed one completion in his first five attempts and that went for negative yardage.

That's just the way things went for the Vikings all night and particularly in the early going. Los Gatos was limited to 42 yards of total offense in the first 24 minutes.

"That was our best defensive effort against a good team," Hansen said. "We stepped it up on both sides of the ball."

In addition to Chryst, Matt Tolbert and Jayshawn Gates-Mouton each proved to be powerful weapons.

Tolbert's 70-yard run on Palo Alto's second play from scrimmage was a thing a beauty. He hit the hole created by center Spencer Drazovich and guard Nick Beeson and was never touched again as he completed his race to the end zone along the near sideline. Tolbert finished with 119 yards on 13 carries.

Gates-Mouton, meanwhile, caught a pair of touchdown passes from Chryst of 62 and 39 yards, the first he caught in stride and the second in the corner of the end zone while he was being tightly guarded.

Malcolm Davis never had to break stride in his 48-yard touchdown reception from Chryst either.

Palo Alto produced 378 yards of total offense to Los Gatos' 220.

Crist and company sacked Bawden six times, hurried him a number of other times and Larry Allen blocked a pass at the line of scrimmage.

SHP 25, Aragon 18

Senior quarterback Kevin Donahoe threw for 210 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead the Gators, who have outscored their opponents by a combined 218-47.

"We had a really good week at practice," said senior running back Ryan Gaertner. "Our O-line today put forth so much effort — we didn't get stopped on any fourth downs today; it was pretty incredible."

Donahoe set the table early for the Gators with a 40-yard strike to senior tight end Derek Hunter to put Sacred Heart ahead 6-0 in the first quarter. SHP junior Andrew Segre later caught a 41-yard pass from Donahoe down to the Dons' one yard-line. Gaertner then dived in for the one-yard touchdown putting the Gators up 12-6 at the end of the first half.

The Gators' running game was clutch when senior Jack Del Santo ran for a four-yard touchdown with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter putting the Gators up 25-12.

After Aragon scored with 58.3 seconds left in the game, the Dons tried an onside kick but it failed when SHP senior defensive back Daniel Thaure came up with the loose ball. Thaure also led the Gators with 11 tackles, with Mike Covell adding eight.

The Gators totaled 387 yards in total offense — 177 on the ground.

Gunn 42, Los Altos 0

The Titans made the most of their homecoming with a big win against visiting Los Altos in front of a packed home crowd.

Led by Sean Lydster's three touchdown runs and Andre Guzman's two touchdown passes to Tyrus Whitehead, the Titans scored early and often.

The Titans got on the board quickly as Lydster scored on a two- yard run just two minutes into the game. Early in the second quarter Lydster broke free on a 91-yard score to make it 21-0. He finished with eight carries for 178 yards.

Menlo School 57, King's Academy 23

Menlo junior Jack Heneghan completed 12 of 15 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another. Senior Matt Bradley had 5-of-6 completions for 70 yards and neither quarterback had an interception. A stalwart line, including center/guard Adam Yecies, who played the entire game, Chris Atkeson, Monty Newman, Sean Leahy and Sam Eckert.

"The offensive line did a good job on pass protection and getting a man up on blocks," Menlo coach Mark Newton said.

Heneghan and Bradley spread out the passes among five receivers, including seniors Max Parker, who had six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, Travis Chambers (3-82 TD), Connor Stastny (3-62 TD), Connor Paterson (3-36 TD) and junior Will King (2-24).

Heru Peacock rolled up 84 yards on nine carries and had a touchdown.

The special teams corps had its moments as well — Parker had his fifth kickoff return for a TD of the season. Already, Parker has tied Michael Justin of Hollywood (five in 1988) who is fourth among state leaders for most kickoff return touchdowns in a season, according to Harold Abend of MaxPreps.

Menlo-Atherton 31, HM Bay 14

Tasi Teu ran for touchdowns of three and 51 yards as the Bears won their fourth game and remained tied for first in the PAL Bay Division with a solid win at Half Moon Bay.

Teu carried 17 times for 139 yards. Alan Sakalia scored on a 45-yard run and Royce Branning connected with Zack Moore on a four-yard touchdown pass.

The M-A defense came up with three sacks, three interceptions (Brian Jaggers, Spiro Papadakis and Teu) and one fumble recovery (Enzo Santos). Jaggers had 10 tackles and Isiah Nash added eight.

Pinewood 68, Alma Heights 6

Owen Lewis carried 10 times for 150 yards and Greg Naumann added 147 yards rushing on nine carries to carry the Panthers (2-1, 3-1) to their lopsided win in the MTAL. Grayson Burdon had nine tackles and Oscar Fick eight for Pinewood while Naumann picked off two passes.

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