Rallying from its largest deficit of the season, Palo Alto High accomplished quite a bit with a stirring 28-14 victory over host Saratoga to close the regular SCVAL De Anza Division season on Friday night.
The victory gave the Vikings a perfect 6-0 division record and pushed their overall mark to 10-0. It's only the second 10-0 record in school history and the first time since 1950 that Paly has accomplished the feat.
The big rally also put Palo Alto in line to earn the No. 1 seed for the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs, which begin next weekend. The seeding meeting will be Sunday. The Vikings need to sweep their possible three games in the postseason to earn a berth for the CIF Division I state championship game.
All this could have disappeared had Saratoga been able to hold on to its 14-0 lead in the second quarter. The Vikings, however, responded to the challenge as senior quarterback Christoph Bono hit speedy Maurice Williams on a 21-yard scoring play with under two minutes left in the first half. Vikings' linebacker Morris Gates-Mouton made it a 14-14 game when he returned an interception 73 yards with less than 30 seconds to play.
The interception sparked a second-half comeback by Paly as Bono hit T.J. Braff on a 20-yard scoring play just three plays into the third period. Paly got the ball back soon after and Bono connected with Williams on a 65-yard touchdown.
While the victory certainly was important, Paly coach Earl Hansen was hoping his team could be sharper heading into the playoffs. The Vikings, however, rushed for only 73 yards and had too many drives halted by penalties or sloppy play.
Bono provided the evening's highlight with his 201 yards passing on 12-of-15 completions with three touchdowns. Williams caught four passes for 111 yards in his second straight 100-yard receiving game.
Los Gatos 56, Gunn 14
The Titans closed out a dismal 0-6 season in the SCVAL De Anza Division with a lopsided loss to the Wildcats on Friday night.
It was a night for the Gunn seniors, but at times it was a night the Titans would rather forget as Los Gatos took advantage of a Gunn fumble on the kickoff to set up its first touchdown of the game when Andy Heimer went in from 13 yards out to make the score 7-0 just 13 seconds gone.
Midway in the first quarter with the score 14-0, Gunn just missed a scoring opportunity when Miles Sturken made a great break on the ball and just missed an interception that would have resulted in an easy touchdown for Gunn. Two plays later, Heimer broke through for a 78 yard run to give Los Gatos a 21-0 lead.
The Wildcats added another touchdown before the end of the first quarter to extend their advantage to 28-0, but Gunn finally mounted a strong offensive drive that reached Los Gatos' 16, only to be pushed back to the 31. Gunn missed on a 48-yard field goal attempt.
The Wildcats went into half leading 35-0 and extended that lead to 50-0 midway in the third quarter before the Titans finally got rolling. Gunn added two touchdowns by senior Josh Jackson, a four-yard run in the third quarter and a nine-yard reception from senior Anthony Cannon, to give the Titan fans something to cheer about. The touchdowns by Jackson represented his 13th and 14th of the year.