By James Huber
Palo Alto Online Sports
If there were any questions about how Palo Alto would start the football season after winning the CIF Division I state championship last year, senior running back B.J. Boyd answered them on the first play of the 2011 season.
Boyd returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Paly raced out to a 28-0 lead before eventually beating visiting San Benito Hollister, 28-18, on Friday night.
After a three-and-out from San Benito, Boyd added a second touchdown with a 62-yard run on the team's first play from scrimmage to put Paly (1-0) up 14-0.
Junior wide receiver Jayshawn Gates-Mouton hauled in touchdown catches of 19 and 10 yards in his varsity debut from sophomore quarterback Keller Chryst in the second quarter to round out the scoring for the Vikings.
Chryst, a transfer from North Carolina, made his Paly debut with eight completions in 23 attempts for 109 yards, two TDs and one interception. Gates-Mouton caught six passes for 72 yards in his debut.
While both touchdowns by Boyd were spectacular, his best play of the night might have come on a broken play in the second quarter. Faced with a third and 11 from his own 48-yard-line, Chryst was able to dump off a short pass to Boyd before being tackled. Boyd, already well behind the line of scrimmage, spun, juked and shrugged off would-be tacklers for a 27-yard gain that later set up Gates-Mouton's second touchdown catch.
Boyd finished with 100 yards rushing on eight carries.
The Vikings' offense slowed down in the second half due to sloppy play, but Palo Alto still won easily. San Benito junior quarterback Michael Bocksnick rushed for two long touchdowns, the second one coming on a 62-yard scramble late in the third quarter. Senior running back Jacob De Leon added the Haybalers' third touchdown on a short run with less than a minute to go in the game.
Palo Alto could have had 42 points, but had two touchdowns called back by penalties.
Paly's next game is on Friday, Sept. 16 at Foothill College against Archbishop Mitty at 7 p.m.
In another season opener on Friday, Menlo-Atherton played its first night game under its new permanent lights and rolled to a 43-7 nonleague victory over El Camino.
Quarterback Willy Fonua threw for three touchdowns and Cameron Moody returned a kickoff 90 yards to highlight the offensive explosion for the Bears. Moody added a 24-yard TD run and one from a yard out that gave M-A its final margin of victory.
Taylor Mashack added a 60-yard TD run in the first quarter to help spark the Bears to 22 points in the opening period. He finished with 71 rushing yards on just three carries to lead the Bears to 211 yards on the ground. Blake Olsen caught a 40-yard scoring pass from Fonua, who also tossed a three-yard TD pass to Richard Cornew.
Menlo-Atherton next will host Los Gatos on Sept. 10 at 2 p.m.
In Santa Cruz, Menlo School rode the wave of a fourth-quarter rally for a thrilling 19-18 last-second win over host Santa Cruz on Friday night.
"Our defense did a great job; that was the key to keeping us in the game all night, " Menlo coach Mark Newton said.
After Santa Cruz grabbed a 12-0 lead at halftime and improved it to 18-12 in the fourth quarter, Menlo began engineering its comeback.
With 42 seconds left, Menlo senior Chris Reed ran the kickoff to the Knights' 35. Junior Matt Bradley completed a pair of long passes to junior Connor Stastny and senior Tommy Ford to get down to the Santa Cruz 30.
Sophomore quarterback Jack Heneghan came in and connected down the middle with Reed, who got the Knights to the 2-yard line. With 5.7 seconds left, senior Dylan Mayer scored behind senior Spencer Buja and junior Wyatt Rouser. Junior Timmy Costa added the PAT, and the Knights walked away with the win.
"We played a lot of guys in different spots," Newton said. "We'll be able to take away a lot of teaching points – to improve, and there's a lot they did well."
It was Mayer, who also tied the game 12-12 with a 60-yard run with 5:46 left in the fourth quarter. He finished with 155 yards on 18 carries.
Newton credited defensive coordinator Jason Ward and coaches Taylor Skaufel and Mark Mueller for directing the Knights' defense.
Menlo plays host to Mission San Francisco in its home opener, a nonleague game on Sept. 9 at 3:15 p.m.