Senior running backs Morris Gates-Mouton and Dre Hill combined for 261 rushing yards and six touchdowns to lead Palo Alto to a dominating 62-35 victory over host Milpitas on Thursday night and the Vikings third straight SCVAL De Anza Division football title.
Gates-Mouton had 149 yards and Hill added 112 as the Vikings rolled to 304 yards on the ground while improving to 6-1 in the division (8-2 overall) heading into next week's Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs. The Vikings are the defending champions.
Palo Alto has to hope for a No. 3 seed in order to avoid likely No. 1 seed Bellarmine until the championship game. Still, no opponent will be easy in the division that probably will include Mitty, Serra, and Valley Christian. The Vikings lost to Mitty, 27-21, on Sept. 16 but since then have gone 7-1 while averaging 44 points a game and allowing 15.6.
During that loss to Mitty, senior running back B.J. Boyd was moved to wide receiver when the Monarchs defended the rush and dared the Vikings to pass. That move allowed senior Morris-Gates Mouton to join Hill in the backfield and give the Vikings three big offensive threats instead of two.
Obviously, the moved paid off for Palo Alto. Boyd has flourished both as a wide receiver and kickoff return man. He had a 77-yard kickoff return for touchdown against Milpitas and a 75-yarder against Los Altos last week, during which the Vikings scored 74 points for the second-highest total in school history. Paly beat Menlo, 79-0, in 1932. Boyd now has 20 touchdowns this season.
Gates-Mouton and Hill, meanwhile, have sparked the run game, which has totaled 527 yards in the past two games. Hill had TD runs of 5, 15 and 25 yards against Milpitas (plus a 62-yard scoring reception from Keller Chryst) while Gates-Mouton scored on a 42-yard run to open the game and added a five-yard TD.
The offensive line of left tackle Michael Lyzwa, left guard Tory Prati, center Spencer Drazovich, right guard Sam Moses, right tackle Chris Ramirez and tight end Austin Braff has been a big part of the running game's success.
The 35 points given up to Milpitas was the most this season by Paly, which also allowed 337 passing yards also a season high. The Vikings, however, raced to a 35-21 halftime lead and wound up holding the Trojans to just 63 yards rushing.
The Paly defense also picked off two passes, one each by senior Gabe Landa and sophomore Malcolm Davis.
Palo Alto has scored more than 40 points in each of its past four games and is averaging 55.7 ppg during that time.
In nonleague action Thursday night, Menlo-Atherton got the job done, but the tuneup for next week's CCS Division I playoffs wasn't necessarily a good one as the Bears struggled to a 16-3 nonleague victory over host Woodside.
The Bears' normally explosive rushing attack was limited to just 84 yards on 29 carries, but quarterback Willy Fonua picked up the slack with 201 passing yards, including a 26-yard scoring strike to Richard Cornew as M-A improved to 7-3 with the help of three interceptions and a defensive effort that held the Wildcats to 241 total yards.