Last-second TD pass lifts Paly to 13-10 win in CCS opener


By Ken Wattana

Special to Palo Alto Online Sports

The top-seeded Palo Alto football team extended its undefeated season (11-0) for at least another week with a thrilling 13-10 win over visiting Archbishop Mitty in a Central Coast Section Open Division opener on Friday night.

Battling a steady downpour, senior quarterback Christoph Bono led the game-winning drive with the Vikings down by 10-6, needing a touchdown to keep their section title hopes alive.

Getting the ball back with under two minutes left in the game, Paly steadily moved down the field with a balanced combination of runs and passes. With under a minute left to play, Paly made its way inside the 20, but couldn't break through the defense -- eventually bringing up a pass situation on third-and-goal.

However, Bono held on to the ball too long and was sacked for a big loss, making it fourth-and-21. The Vikings needed a touchdown or face elimination. With the season on the line, Bono took the snap, dropped back and looked to his left, spotting his favorite target of the night, senior wideout Davante Adams. Lofting a deep ball to the corner of the end zone, Bono could only watch as Adams elevated to make the clinching catch with 35 seconds left in the game.

"I was a little upset about possession before," Bono said. "I should have just thrown it away. But, it gave us space to make that play. I just put everything out of my mind and let it rip."

Despite throwing three interceptions on the night and struggling to establish the passing game, Bono made the big throw when it counted.

"It was the best throw ever and the greatest catch I've ever made," said Adams, who had five catches for 78 yards. "With the people we have, we can make anything happen. I know he had the confidence to make the throw and I was waiting for it."

Eighth-seeded Mitty (6-4-1) had one last possession, but Paly defensive back Gabe Landa made an interception and allowed the Vikings to run out the clock.

The first-round playoff match was an ugly defensive battle as both teams looked to their running game with the rain making passing difficult. Mitty got on the board first after quarterback Kyle Boehm weathered two consecutive sacks and took off on fourth-and-19 for a 24-yard touchdown run that caught Paly by surprise with 5:25 left in the first half.

The two teams then traded turnovers, Bono throwing a pick and Boehm fumbling the ball away before Bono showed that he too has some athleticism. Seeing no open receivers, Bono kept the ball for a shifty 45-yard touchdown dash with 46 seconds left in the half. However, the Vikings fumbled the snap on the PAT and went to the locker rooms trailing, 7-6.

After a scoreless third, Mitty drove down the field, pounding the ball on the ground and tacking on a field goal with 8:46 remaining. On the next possession, senior wideout Maurice Williams started things off well with a 44-yard kickoff return, but Bono promptly threw an interception. Paly's defense, however, kept the Vikings in the game as they kept Mitty out of the endzone and gave the offense one last chance to win the game.

Both teams struggled to move the ball and were plagued with turnovers. Bono had two fumbles to go with his three picks while Boehm had three fumbles. Junior fullback Dre Hill led the Vikings with 85 yards on 10 carries. Bono was 8-of-13 for 92 yards through the air in addition to rushing for 44 yards.

Palo Alto (and the weather) limited Mitty to a minus-3 yards passing and 106 yards rushing. Paly finished with 247 total yards, 155 coming on the ground.

Michael Cullen had 11 tackles and T.J. Braff added 10 while Kevin Anderson and Tori Prati each had a sack, with Prati recovering a fumble to spark Paly's fine defensive effort.

Paly will play No. 5 seed Bellarmine (9-2) at San Jose City College this Friday at 7 p.m. The Bells crushed No. 4 Oak Grove on Friday night, 38-6.

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Like this comment
Posted by robbed
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:36 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Public School
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm

It was a battle and a great high school game in poor conditions. Both teams battled their hearts out on the field. Paly made a play when it counted and thats what good teams do. Beating a good team like Mitty twice in one season is quite an accomplishment. I hope their fans had a nice ride home.

Like this comment
Posted by Janice A. Smith
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2010 at 7:06 am

Championship teams tend to win when they don't play well and in the worst weather conditions. We are behind you Paly Vikings, good luck next week!

Like this comment
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2010 at 8:01 am

The only team robbed was Paly on that penalty called on Davante's 70 yard punt return for a touchdown that was called back in the first quarter. I was 20 yards away from that play and saw it crystal clear - it was as good and fair a block as they come. No way it is blocking in the back. Not a chance.

But in any event, Mitty could not run on Paly. And I think Boehm completed one pass all night.

The guys running the chains were 3 yards away from Davante on the final touchdown catch. They all said 'both feet inbounds'. No doubt.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Schools booster
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 20, 2010 at 9:16 am

I'm a Gunn mom, but this is exciting news! Many congrats to the team--how wonderful to be doing so well! :D

Like this comment
Posted by PA Alum
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

Palo Alto won the game. Great effort by both sides, but the better team won in the end. Robbery would have been a questionable pass interference on Mitty on the last play allowing a fresh set of downs at the 6 yard line. Not all, but some WCAL schools recruit, don't deny it. I had several friends that should have gone to PA but "went to St. Francis for academic reasons". One of them was a 200lb Free Safety. Regardless of what happens next week, PA shut down some haters that praise the WCAL like it's the SEC. Not very many teams can say they are 11-0 and beat Mitty TWICE. Go Vikings.

Like this comment
Posted by resident of
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm

So, if it was as a great defensive battle as it says, how about if we hear about some of the defenders and the plays they made?

Like this comment
Posted by Go Paly
a resident of University South
on Nov 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Paly played probably its worst offensive game of the year - 5 turnovers, 3 ints equal to the total of the entire year - and still more than doubled Mitty's totals. Both sides had trouble even holding on to the ball.

Fortunately, at least the Mitty players play with class and have reason to hold their heads high. The boys on both sides played hard and with good sportsmanship. That's what it's about.

Go Paly!

Like this comment
Posted by klr
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm

in focus shot the play...go check it out

Like this comment
Posted by Robbed
a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

I see that everything stated against Paly was removed. What happened to free speach and yes, we checked out the InFocus and High School sports video and it showed exactly what we thought - ball hit the ground and was never in possession of the player, and the ref that called it good, put his arms out first to say what he didn't know and then threw his arms up to say it was good. What a joke!

Like this comment
Posted by Video
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Here the link the video that I found:

Web Link

Is there other video online?

Pretty hard to tell on this one - shot from far away and out of focus. The ref who said he didn't know was pointing at another ref up the line, who presumably was in a better position to call whether the catch was in bounds. Apparently the answer was yes, since the first ref then signaled the TD.

Tough play to lose on, though, I can see why there would be an argument on that one.

Like this comment
Posted by Video2
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm


Ball hit the ground?

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Robbed
a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Yes, take a look at Cal High Sports. At the end of the show they replay it closer up and you can actually see the ball go threw his hands and hit the ground. Both players are looking down at the ball as it is hitting the ground. The player falls on the ball and stands up with it in his hands. Take a look at #10's expression when he gets up, absolutely no celebration! Also, the line ref doesn't call the play to the first ref. It's over now, but some of these ref's are making too many mistakes!

Like this comment
Posted by Video
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Is the Cal Hi Sports video on line anywhere? I couldn't find it.

The EENERSports video was inconclusive - I didn't see the ball hit the ground, but it wasn't close enough to see for sure. For sure not enough there to overturn the call on the field. But it wasn't a great shot either.

Like this comment
Posted by Robbed
a resident of another community
on Nov 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Sorry, have it on Tivo. After just watching it again, someone in the room even pointed out that the receiver is wearing white gloves and you can see clearly that his hands are apart as the ball goes threw them.

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

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