Palo Alto football takes 10-0 mark into 'next' season


By Keith Peters

Palo Alto Online Sports

It has been 10 games and 10 victories for the Palo Alto High football team. That hasn't happened since 1950. So, with a big sigh of relief, the Vikings can move on with a little piece of history and a shot at earning more.

"That's awesome," Paly head coach Earl Hansen said of his best-ever start. "It's in the bag. Now, it's time to move on to the next season."

The second season for Palo Alto begins Friday night, when the No. 1 seeded Vikings (10-0) play host to No. 8 seed Mitty (6-3-1) in a Central Coast Section Open Division playoff opener at 7 p.m.

The winner will advance to the semifinals the following weekend against either No. 5 Bellarmine or No. 4 Oak Grove. The section finale will be held Dec. 3 at San Jose City College at 7 p.m.

Palo Alto is hoping to reach the championship game for a second time, the first coming in 2006 when the Vikings qualified for the Division II state finals -- losing to Orange Lutheran and finishing the season with a 12-2 record, the most wins in school history.

Palo Alto is three wins away from another such trip to Southern California and has all the tools to get it done. The Vikings are averaging 32.3 points a game while allowing just 9.8. In the first 10 games of 2006, Paly scored 37.1 ppg while giving up 12.5.

Defense will be critical once again when the Vikings take on the Monarchs for the second time this season. In their first meeting on Sept. 17, Paly held Mitty to 199 total yards while registering a 20-7 victory.

"It was a very good defensive effort," Hansen said of that first game. "We played with passion."

Palo Alto focused its defensive attention on Mitty's highly touted quarterback Kyle Boehm last time.

"We got to him," Hansen said. "He's just as dangerous as a runner as a passer, but he couldn't get loose. We had pressure on him. It was a real team effort."

Boehm carried 15 times but gained just 12 yards. He also completed just seven of 15 passes for only 73 yards and one interception.

Hansen credited his defensive ends, Kevin Anderson and Tori Prati, for containing Boehm, along with linebackers Michael Cullen and Will Glazier, plus defensive back T.J. Braff.

"They were all instrumental," Hansen said.

Both teams have improved since their first meeting while adding new players. Mitty running back Rocky Meszaros didn't play the first time. He's now the No. 1 rusher with 530 yards on 87 carries. Paly's B.J. Boyd also didn't play previously, but has come on strong with 506 yards (a 9.55 average) on just 53 carries to lead the Vikings.

Boehm has rushed for 471 yards and thrown for 1,302 with nine touchdowns. His counterpart if Paly senior Christoph Bono, who has completed 121-of-182 passes for 1,968 yards and 23 scores.

Mitty is averaging 198.4 yards rushing a game and 150.1 passing, while Paly is running for 165.2 ypg and passing for 198.5.

Paly may have the edge in explosiveness with senior wideouts Maurice Williams and Davante Adams. Both are game-breakers. Adams has 48 catches for 863 yards while Williams is averaging a whopping 27.2 yards per catchy and is coming off back-to-back 100-plus yard games. He had four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns to help rally the Vikings to a 28-14 victory over host Saratoga last Friday.

Paly actually trailed in that game, 14-0, before responding to the challenge. Williams had TD catches of 21 and 65 yards while linebacker Morris Gates-Mouton had a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown. Bono threw for 201 yards and three scores.

Palo Alto heads into the weekend still ranked No. 18 in the Cal-Hi Sports Top 25. Another victory over Mitty on Friday could move the Vikings up even higher.

"After three days of good practice," Hansen said, "we're ready to go."

Joining Palo Alto in its postseason excursion will be Menlo-Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School.

Menlo-Atherton (4-6) snagged the No. 8 seed in Division I thanks to a 34-27 victory over visiting Woodside last Saturday. The Bears will visit No. 1 seed Piedmont Hills (8-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.

The CCS Division IV playoffs will open Saturday for Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School, but only the Gators will be riding momentum into the postseason following a 35-7 romp over the Knights in the annual Valpo Bowl last Saturday at Sequoia High.

The victory locked up a No. 2 seed for Sacred Heart Prep (8-2), which will host No. 7 Seaside (6-4) on Saturday in a CCS opener at 1 p.m. The loss relegated Menlo (7-3) to a No. 6 seed, which means a trip to No. 3 San Lorenzo Valley (9-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Should SHP and Menlo win their openers, they'll meet in the semifinals like they did last season when Menlo reached the division title game with a 20-14 win.

NOTE: Gunn has been moved down to the SCVAL El Camino Division next season following an 0-6 finish in the De Anza Division. The Titans will be joined by Harker School, which has been playing in the North Coast Section. Moving up to the De Anza Division next season will be Mountain View and Los Altos, making it an eight-team league.


Open Division

First round


No. 8 Mitty (6-3-1) at No. 1 Palo Alto (10-0), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Bellarmine (8-2) at No. 4 Oak Grove (8-2), 7 p.m.

No. 7 St. Francis (6-3-1) vs. No. 2 Palma (9-0-1) at Salinas Sports Complex, 7 p.m.


No. 6 Serra (6-3-1) at No. 3 Valley Christian (9-1), 7 p.m.

Division I


No. 8 Menlo-Atherton (4-6) at No. 1 Piedmont Hills (8-2), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Salinas (6-3-1) at No. 4 Milpitas (6-3-1), 7 p.m.

No. 6 Independence (8-2) at No. 3 San Benito (6-4), 7 p.m.


No. 7 Homestead (6-4) at No. 2 Santa Teresa (7-3), 1 p.m.

Division IV


No. 5 Greenfield (9-1) at No. 4 Half Moon Bay (7-3), 7 p.m.


No. 6 Menlo (7-3) at No. 3 San Lorenzo Valley (9-1), 1 p.m.

No. 7 Seaside (6-4) at No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep (8-2), 1 p.m.

No. 8 King's Academy (6-4) at No. 1 Carmel (9-1), 1 p.m.

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Like this comment
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm

For those of us who have watched these senior boys play football for the last four years, and their youth sports pretty much since the age of 5, these last few games will be bittersweet - win or lose.

I think a case can be made that this class may be among the most athletic in the school's history. SCVAL titles in baseball, football, basketball, boys and girls lacrosse, and girls volleyaball in the last twelve months, and probably more this year.

I hope they play tomorrow night with the same sense of intensity, purpose and joy that has been their hallmark since they were very little. Whether it was AYSO soccer, NJB basketball, Little League Baseball, or HS football, these young men have developed friendships and shared experiences in sports that will serve them well in life. They've all been good kids and great friends, and perhaps just for a moment we can suspend our participation in the craziness that is Silicon Valley, and enjoy an old fashioned celebration of family and community and high school sports.

I hope the sports gods smile brightly on us tomorrow night. I think this has been an awfully special ride for us all, and none of us want it to end.

Go Paly!

Like this comment
Posted by curious sports fan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 19, 2010 at 10:45 am

I happen to find the Paly athletic dominance within the PAUSD school system a bit unseemly, and frankly something the district should be explaining. In a school system of over 10,000 kids, and two high schools that are basically balanced in population size, it seems much more than pure coincidence that the high school athletic talent of the entire city seems to be mysteriously concentrated in one school - all sports, all age groups, both sexes, year after year after year (not just class of 2011). Why is that?

I suspect that there are undocumented transfer practices (or loopholes that the district or the Paly staff are practiced at exercising?) that allow sports talent to transfer for the sake of sports, and perhaps even an active recruitment practice. Or is it pure coincidence - year after year after year -that the sports talent is THAT lopsided to the North. Maybe they just feed vitamins through the water system North of Oregon...

Whatever the case - congratulations, go paly.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

"Despite beating Saratoga, the victory wasn't impressive enough to allow Palo Alto to retain its No. 18 state ranking in the Cal-Hi Sports Top 25. In fact, the Vikings dropped all the way to No. 47."

You are mixing too different sources for your rankings. Palo Alto is still 18 in CalHi:
Web Link
CalPreps has them at #46, and they have been around that ranking for several weeks.

Like this comment
Posted by paly parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Dear Curious Sports Fan - There is no conspiracy, most of the Paly kids who excel in sports attended the feeder elementary schools in North Palo Alto. If you look at the sports teams at Jordan compared to the other two middle schools, the dominance is the same. Little League in PA was reconfigured so that the kids North and South of Oregon Expressway could play together, because the North always killed the south team.

Parents in North Palo Alto take their sports seriously, these kids play not only school sports, but club soccer, volleyball, traveling team baseball, NJB basketball, etc. Many parents have the resources to supplement their kids with private coaching, etc.

As far as this years football team - these kids grew up playing multiple sports together. They know and trust each other. And they work really hard.

Go Paly and good luck tonight!

Like this comment
Posted by Dad in PA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:29 pm

This team is an incredibly positive catalyst for bringing together all elements of the community. They are a unified team that has overcome injuries and brought together an impressive season. If you have not experienced Friday night lights at Paly you are missing a fun, festive, safe, and family-friendly atmosphere. What a fantastic year for football in Palo Alto with Stanford at 9-1 and Paly at 10-0. The best records in 50 years-wow. Best of luck to the Paly team and Go Vikes!

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm

curious: Through the decades Paly has always been the dominant sports school in PAUSD. This goes all the way back to when Gunn and Cubberly opened. The names have changed, but the "atmosphere" has not. Paly has always been a blend of high academic and athletic achievement. Not unlike the school across the street...

Further - parental involvement either through sports boosters, volunteer coaching, etc. lends itself to elevating the involvement in athletics. The new/current administration at Paly also supports its sports teams in ways not seen in many years. Throw in the students (and the band) who support their friends/teams (see Spirit Week) and you have an environment that embraces the academic/athletic environment at Paly.

Like this comment
Posted by Bud Kaufman
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Sir: First the Paly High writer had it wrong and now you. While the youngster may be excused for lack of due diligence, your statement about a first 10 win season since 1950 needs to be examined. The 1963 Palo Alto High football team played 9 games, which at the time was the standard season. they won all their games by a combined score of 285 to 46. How can this perhaps greatest of Paly football teams be overlooked?

Like this comment
Posted by Veteran Paly observer
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

The 1950 Paly team that went 10-0 was considered the best Paly FB team ever. That was until the 2006 team reached the state finals. Paly's long-time historian, now deceased, never included the 1963 team as the best ever. This year's team and the '50 team are the only 10-0 teams in 99 years of Paly football. The 2006 team went 12-2, the most wins in school history. If the current squad goes 12-1 or takes a 13-0 record into the state finals, it has to be considered the most successful ever, if not the best ever. Competition over the years, of course, changes. The 1963 team had Marty Brill, who went on to star at Stanford. This year's team has Kevin Anderson, who also is going to Stanford. We'll just have to see how the rest of the season goes. Then again, how many other 10-0 teams are there this season?

Like this comment
Posted by Historian
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

"all sports, all age groups, both sexes, year after year after year (not just class of 2011). Why is that? "

Not true. Paly does have a much better history in the marquee sports of football and boys basketball, but for the most part Gunn and Paly have been roughly equivalent in the other sports. As of winter 2008 (the CCS website has not updated its stats), Gunn is ranked 5th overall with 155 CCS titles while Paly is ranked 7th with 136.5 titles. Both schools have had tremendous success in water polo, swimming, soccer, cross country, track and field, tennis, and badminton.

Paly's success in football and boys basketball is largely due to the coaches at Paly who have built quality programs and have sustained that for years. Since these are the two most prominent high school sports, it certainly skews the perception of Paly as a sports-centric school.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly Sports
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Nice shot out for Marty Brill Sr. Please note Marty Brill Jr's graduation year (1993) had the first football SCVAL championship for Paly in 17 years, an undefeated Water Polo team, an undefeated Tennis team (led by Grant Elliot), and an undefeated 31-0 basketball team, which won state, led by Dave "TKCUP2010" Weaver and Chad "JTrips" Smith.

I believe Baseball won league, badmitton won league, wrestling won league, and pretty much every other boys sport in 1993.

Definitely the best year in Paly Sports ever.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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