News

Paly's state championship teams honored

 

By Keith Peters

Palo Alto Online

Palo Alto senior wide receiver Davante Adams leaned out of a cable car, this one with wheels, and took all the hoopla surrounding him.

"I didn't not expect this," Adams said. "It's like in the NFL."

Adams played on the Palo Alto High football team that went 14-0 this season, winning the Division I state championship while accomplishing something never before in the history of the program.

"This is crazy," said Christoph Bono, who quarterbacked the Vikings to their best record, and finish, in school history.

Adams and Bono were correct as they prepared to journey up University Avenue on Saturday evening in the first-ever parade held for two state championship teams from the City of Palo Alto.

The Palo Alto football and girls' volleyball teams accomplished something only one other school (Campolindo of Moraga) did in the state of California this past fall in winning two state titles. Campolindo won in volleyball and girls' cross country while Palo Alto pulled the tough double against nationally ranked teams. On Saturday, the city turned out to honor its young athletes.

Both teams, along with the Palo Alto cheer squad, rode in replica cable cars and on fire engines while following head football coach Earl Hansen and head volleyball coach Dave Winn up University Avenue in a procession led by the Palo Alto band plus. members of the Palo Alto City Council, members of the Palo Alto volleyball Club and Palo Alto Knights' youth football team.

The teams and coaches were cheered by thousands of spectators in arguably one of best-attended parades in the city's long history. Former Palo Alto Mayer Pat Burt estimated between 5,000 and 10,000 attended the event.

Upon reaching King Plaza at City Hall, the teams were honored with speeches from local dignitaries while spectators were treated to video highlights of the Vikings' rare back-to-back state championship seasons.

"This is what Palo Alto is all about," said Palo Alto's newly elected Mayor Sid Espinosa. "This city is stopping to say, 'Congratulations. You have made this city proud as state champions.'"

Hansen, the school's football coach for 23 years and its athletic director, was blown away by the outpouring of spectators.

"This is unbelievable," said Hansen, who led his team to an upset of nationally ranked Centennial-Corona in the state finals. "I've lived here all my life and I haven't seen this many people since the '69 marches were going on."

Said Winn, who guided the Paly volleyball team to an upset of nationally ranked Long Beach Poly in the Division I state finals: "Does this town know how to throw a party, or what?

"When we began the season, we set our goals to winning four banners – a league, CCS, NorCal and state title," continued Winn. "Next year we have to add parade to that list of goals . . . It's so great that the city stopped to celebrate like this. We want to make this an annual occurrence, not just a one-time thing."

Added Hansen: "It doesn't matter how big a stage you have been on before. Nothing gets more special than what we have here tonight."

Senior co-captains Will Glazier and Christoph Bono spoke for the football team.

"It was just a magical ride," Glazier said of the team's historic season. "Capped off by this parade, which is the most awesome thing ever. Two state championships in one town is amazing, so it's great to be a part of that."

Added Bono" "This has been an unbelievable experience."

After Hansen congratulated both teams, he reminded the large crowd that the squads would carry two things with them the rest of their lives.

"One," Hansen said, "they will always be Palo Alto Vikings. And two, they will always be state champions."

Following video highlights of both championship seasons were shown on a large screen in front of City Hall, four members of Stanford's Orange Bowl-winning team took the podium – Konrad Reuland, Coby Fleener, Devon Carrington and Matt Masifilo – to add to the evening festivities.

State senator Joe Simitian was on hand, along with Superintendent of the Palo Alto Unified School District, Kevin Skelly, Palo Alto principal Phil Winston, Palo Alto City Councilman Yiaway Yeh and newly elected State Assemblyman Rich Gordon.

Simitian and Gordon presented the Paly volleyball and football teams with proclamations from the State of California and Yeh had one from the City of Palo Alto.

Said Yeh: "I want to let everyone know I'm a Gunn graduate. But, I'm proud to say, 'Go Paly!'"

Joked Simitian: "The last dollars in the state treasury went into these proclamations!"

Added Gordon to the teams: "You have taught us all a great lesson, that anything is possible."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

This was by far the best civic event I have attended in Palo Alto in 25 years. Thank you Pat Burt for coming up with this idea, thank you Tina Bono for doing a lot of the legwork, thank you Phil Winston for uniquely realizing that smart kids need to have fun on occasion. Thanks to Cash and the City staff that worked hard on this and made it a first class event.

Celebrating our kids accomplishments is something we should do more often. The joy on everyone's faces (parent, fan and player alike) was without doubt the most genuine display of happiness I have seen in a long, long time (perhaps the 2004 World Series victory of the Red Sox came close).

Sometimes the right thing to do is to stand up and cheer. As a community, we have had a lot to cheer about this year...


Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Well sadi, Paly Dad.

Congrats to PALY again.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum '82
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm

This parade was well done and worth attending. The big screen made it seem like a professionally organized event. Glad so many people were there to celebrate. I love Palo Alto!


Like this comment
Posted by Josh
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:53 am

It wasn't Pat Burt idea. Give credit where credit is due.


Like this comment
Posted by PaloAltoNewbie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

This was awesome. Our 2 young kids enjoyed the parade and mixing with the community. It's events like these that unfortunately don't make international media. We moved here from Australia a year ago and have enjoyed every second of our time here. Congratulations to the teams, but also to the community.


Like this comment
Posted by Campo
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2011 at 7:48 am

Minor correction: Campolindo (Moraga) won state championships in girls volleyball and girls cross country this fall.


Like this comment
Posted by Where is our focus?
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 9, 2011 at 8:56 am

Any champs in Math and Science?


Like this comment
Posted by PalyDad
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 9, 2011 at 9:14 am

Where Is Our Focus? -

Yes, there are plenty of math and science champs. And, you would be surprised to learn, a couple of them are also on the football team.

For the first time probably ever, Paly's national High School football ranking (#13 in the final National MaxPreps Poll) is higher than our US News and World Report Academic ranking (#85).

Given the academic expectations we place on our kids, the point of last night was to celebrate something very unique for us as a community, and show that accomplishments in athletics are valued and meaningful as well.

And, as I said earlier, sometimes it just feels good to shout! These kids felt like Palo Alto had become, if only for a moment, a town you might find in a movie like Friday Night Lights. A lifetime memory for sure.

Math and science can wait, at least for the weekend....


Like this comment
Posted by Commander McBragg
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

Math and science aren't sports.


Like this comment
Posted by PALYMOM
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

@ Campo
there are 5 different divisions, and there is a state champ in every division! PALY won the State Division 1 championship and Campolindo (Moraga) won the State Divison 3 championship.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

The real difference about celebrating math or science champs as opposed to a team sport champ is that we are celebrating our victory as a school rather than an individual's solo performance.

Someone who achieves an individual math or science award has a wonderful achievement, but the success is really for that one individual alone. Can the school rally behind that individual at every test he takes, cheering him on, supporting by buying a burger, or marching in the band? Can the math champ honestly say that the school made the endeavor possible with school spirit, a team of fantastic coaches, parents and fans?

No, the point of the celebration yesterday was to honor not just the teams but to honor the school and each of us who did anything, no matter how small, to make us feel that it was our school who won, our school with our support.

Every single Paly student who attended the rally yesterday was full of Paly spirit, full of Paly pride, and full of a memory they will cherish for the rest of their lives. We remember the out of the ordinary when it comes to looking back on our schooldays, and this is one of the memories that will be nostalgic for all the kids. Just like everyone became a Giants' fan during the World Series win, everyone in Palo Alto became a Paly supporter because of the win.

It is not a comparison about which is more important, sports or academics. It is a celebration of school spirit and creating nostalgic memories. Sport does that in a way academics can't.


Like this comment
Posted by Viking Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

C'mon everyone....what a great celebration and parade honoring a great achievement for Paly. Let's stop the comparison between sports and academics and just ENJOY the moment. No need to to over analyze and subject the celebration to the "Palo Alto Process".......Enjoy, celebrate and be happy!!!! :)


Like this comment
Posted by amazed
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I want to know who foot the bill for this extravaganza? If it was the city, I'd be amazed when we are laying staff off and cutting budgets all over. If it's the schools, put your money into better support for those who are in special needs and over-stressed students.

If it's the neighbors, parents and kids...then kudos. But I just want to know where my money is going.


Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:27 am

Amazed: Probably the football boosters, which means parents paid, or private donations.


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2011 at 8:46 am

Amazed - the community spirit generated from this event will help some of those over-stressed students. The money generated by additional foot traffic downtown in the restaurants and stores was probably a welcome boost during the slow month of January.

Lighten up and enjoy a little!


Like this comment
Posted by Campo
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

"there are 5 different divisions, and there is a state champ in every division! PALY won the State Division 1 championship and Campolindo (Moraga) won the State Divison 3 championship. "

Sorry, the correction was to the statement that Paly was the only school to win two state championships this fall.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

@ "Where is our focus"...there's always one like you. It's so disheartening. If you at all have an awareness of Palo Alto, you would know that the City REPRESENTS academic excellence and by and large, individual achievement. You can read of scholastic awards locally on an almost weekly basis. There's long been a stereotype that athletes can't be scholars and vice versa. The students of Palo Alto have proven that wrong. Add to that the feeling of community and the feeling of accomplishment these State Championships have brought, this makes the accomplishment all the more special. Last time I saw that many people of all ages downtown was the 2000 New Years Eve party!


Like this comment
Posted by Pam
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

If Campo would re-read the article again he would fine that the correction was made and his school was named.

Congrats to both the volleyball team and football team!


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I was at the Stanford women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon, and there was an announcement that the Stanford football team would be participating in the parade. Is that true? Were they there? I don't see much mention of Stanford in the story or these comments.


Like this comment
Posted by Pam
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Response to Brian - some players were at the parade but it was not about the Stanford football players - it was about the Paly football and volleyball state champions. This story had nothing to do with the Stanford football players.


Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Dear Amazed:
Get a life and have some fun. Kids, students, brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, old timers had a ball Saturday night. Even the Gunn cheerleaders were there whoopin' and hollerin' like the rest of us. I'e never seen so many happy people. You missed a good time. Ever go to the May Fete Parade? If not, go next May and 'be a kid again'.


Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 10, 2011 at 11:24 pm

In the 113 year history of Paly there has been only one football state championship. Be happy for the boys, and happy for Palo Alto. It is an honor to be shared by all. Yes, geeks & nerds rule at Gunn. Jocks rock Paly. But we are all Palo Altoans & proud of ALL our kids.


Like this comment
Posted by campanile80
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:12 pm

A great event, a great season for both teams, and a parade was was well deserved-and needed in this community.

BTW, this is second state title for Paly football team. Paly beat Porterville in 1912 for state title.


Like this comment
Posted by Anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Was looking forward to see this article in print (with Keith Peters' beautiful pictures) in today's issue, but no article, no pictures, no mention of the parade at all. This was a pretty significant event for this city and I'm curious about the lack of print coverage. We have many older neighbors who are not as computer savvy as the rest of us and who would have enjoyed reading the excellent coverage.


Like this comment
Posted by Old fan
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

For the comment from Campanile80 regarding Paly's "first" state title in football in 1914 over Porterville.......Paly did not play football that year, it was RUGBY.....Paly played rugby from 1908 to 1916....


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

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