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Turnovers, mistakes and all that jazz cost Palo Alto

 
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Junacio Henley showed off his vertical leap in grabbing this reception. Photo by Jenna Hickey.

The Palo Alto football team will look back at Friday night’s 29-22 loss to Los Gatos with regret. It was a game filled with mistakes (four turnovers), a very high level of frustration over plays not executed correctly and a flag-happy officiating crew.

Palo Alto (5-3, 2-2) outgained Los Gatos 314-170, but the home standing Wildcats (8-1, 4-1) did a better job of capitalizing on their opportunities. The refs nearly accounted for more yardage than either team by penalizing Palo Alto 14 times for 145 yards and Los Gatos nine times for 93 yards.

“We have to hold ourselves accountable,'' Palo Alto coach Nelson Gifford said. "We can’t make excuses, can’t point fingers at anyone but ourselves. The refs didn’t make us fumble, false start or miss tackles.’’

But without a doubt the penalties had a heavy impact on the game's tempo and the quality of play.

“It’s a challenge for a play caller,’’ Gifford said. “Now it’s first and 20 and you’re changing the script, having to ad-lib, like in jazz, and I’m not all that much into jazz even though my mother is from New Orleans.

Sophomore quarterback Danny Peters completed 19 of 37 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jamir Shepard, who finished with seven catches for 143 yards. But it wasn’t one of Peters’ better games. He threw three interceptions and for much of the game his passes seemed to lack their customary zip.

“After our first touchdown I might’ve got a little overconfident,’’ Peters said. “And then later I found I was trying to aim the ball more than airing it out.’’

That first touchdown came on Palo Alto’s third play from scrimmage, a short pass just over the line of scrimmage that Shepard took 59 yards for a touchdown. Los Gatos had already taken the opening kickoff and drove for a score. But instead of kicking the extra point to tie, Paly went for two and Kevin Cullen ran it in for an 8-7 lead.

Then continuing with the foot-on-the-throat, aggressive style, Paly tried an onside kick and recovered it. But an interception on the first play swung the momentum to the Wildcats. They went in for a touchdown and a 14-8 lead that stood up until halftime.

Palo Alto got a break early in the third quarter when a snap went over the Los Gatos punter’s head and Paly took over at the Los Gatos 1. A plunge by Creighton Morgenfeld and Alex Wang’s extra point gave Paly a 15-14 lead. But Los Gatos scored two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the third quarter to go up 29-15.

The Vikings finally put together a sustained drive, going 90 yards in 16 plays with Peters connecting with Shepard on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 left. But Los Gatos ran out the clock and celebrated the win.

“We didn’t play our best game, but I’m proud of the way they fought and battled on that last drive,’’ Gifford said. “That pass Danny threw to Jamir was a real fastball.’’

The loss dropped Palo Alto into third place in the SCVAL De Anza Division, The Vikings will look to right themselves next Friday in the homecoming game against Mountain View.

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Comments

7 people like this
Posted by Frank Owen 1914
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 26, 2019 at 6:59 am

Coach Gifford has far too much class to say it, so I will for him. The penalties last night were to placate the Los Gatos fans, who uh, caused the game last night to be segregated like I have never once seen at a football game. Segregated you ask? yes. starting with two entrances, gates and ropes and even separate bathrooms and concession stands recalled well bus rides before Rosa Parks and rock n roll concerts in the Southern US before the Beatles. This is the important point: for similar reasons. The Los Gatos fans simply don't know how to act around ...other ethnic groups. Of course the question then becomes was the guest concession stand as good as the home concession stand? I ask because in Los Gatos maybe it's time to test the concept of separate but equal.


4 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 26, 2019 at 8:37 am

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Easy Frank. My guess would be the "segregation" was due to the recent history of LG/Paly fan behavior. Last year students were barred from attending LG vs Paly games.

The same thing is done at other schools I have seen in San Diego and LA

The schools could have continued the ban on students, but that would reduce gate revenue. Dollars before safety.


4 people like this
Posted by Josh smith
a resident of University South
on Oct 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

Funny - clearly “Frank” needs new glasses as anyone watching that game saw it called fairly and Los Gatos made the most of their opportunities. Tough to out gain a team when Palo Alto is throwing picks and getting pinned in their own end. Either way a good game of sportsmanship by both teams until one of our receivers stepped on the head of a Los Gatos player at the end of the game.

As for the “segregation” - race had zero to do with it. How about focusing on the poor behavior by both sides the last few years. Stop trying to make something of nothing, “Frank”. Grab your chair and find different stands to sit in - we don’t need your kind of bias in Palo Alto.


9 people like this
Posted by I Know What's Up
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2019 at 9:03 am

@Josh Smith, [portion removed] The history with Los Gatos football goes back at least ten years when my son was on the team. The Los Gatos kids make a practice of using the N word and purposefully instigating racial animosities, on and off the field. The Santa Cruz mountains area has long been known for skin heads. [Portion removed.] This is the reason for the tension between the schools. It's not happening with other schools. [Portion removed] That's what's up.


3 people like this
Posted by LG Fan
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2019 at 9:37 am

[Portion removed.] What are you talking about with racial stuff? LG plays ever week against a mixed team and is multi-racial itself. Never has the N-word been used by this team. Paly had 6 unsportsmanlike penalties. Kicking one kid on the ground in the head, 88 throwing a punch at another and 21 was just jabbering with the ref by himself. I saw mostly white kids on the Paly sideline. The turnovers made the difference in this game not skinheads in the hills.


7 people like this
Posted by I Know What's Up
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:22 am

Congratulations LG fan on your pronouncements, "Never has the N-word been used by this team". Like you are the oracle of truth. The N-word has been used and is used, by this team. My son heard it, his friends heard, it and now my younger son and his friends who attend Paly have heard. It could care less who won the game. That is not the point. The point is the history of racial slurs and intimidations by Los Gatos against Paly Black kids. That's just the sad truth. Denial doesn't change truth.


4 people like this
Posted by PA Fan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

@Josh - 145 yards of penalties against PA, almost as many yards (Only 170) as LG gained all night. 93 penalty yards against LG. If you haven't watched the film and the critical penalties, you shouldn't be so confident about the calls. Correct or not, anytime a bunch of referees are more a part of the game than a bunch of hardworking high school boys, there is a problem. Refs should run the game, not become the game.

@LG Fan - The kick in the head was just one of the retaliation penalties called against Paly. The receiver kicked to get rid of the LG player twisting his injured ankle after the play finished along the LG sidelines. I do agree that turnovers were part of the difference, but there is much more to the story.

Many other comments above are rooted in sad truth, but I would rather stay out of the racial conversation.

For the record, my son played last night and said the LG guys that he played against were tough athletes and good sportsmen. I don't think he would say that about the entire LG team.


1 person likes this
Posted by Josh Smith
a resident of University South
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:37 am

Frank - I think you do care who won the game as that was what you started complaining about early, poor calls against your team (I was at the game - looked very even, but I am not wearing your jaded glasses). Get over it - we lost.

Your racism against Los Gatos is troubling. Every community has i racists and people who teach their kids ignorant ways. [Portion removed.] Hopefully your children have enough sense that your slants on racism in the Santa Cruz mountains (which, if you need a geo lesson, extend to many communities not just Los Gatos) are outdated and not tolerable. [Portion removed.]

Let’s move on from the loss and I wish you great healing for all the wrongs you have faced in your life, especially in Los Gatos.


Like this comment
Posted by Frank will be the best ref evuh!
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:45 am

"The penalties last night were to placate the Los Gatos fans..."

Not called fairly? What officials group does Los Gatos use? You should submit film and have them fired! As a man of such integrity, you can't let this stand! Defend sportsmanship, defend the players!

Well, what are you waiting for?!?!?

Also, since you are so smart and have such great vision that you can see plays from fifty yards away, you should become an official! You'd be the BEST EVER!


Like this comment
Posted by Frank will be the best ref evuh!
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:48 am

" Correct or not, anytime a bunch of referees are more a part of the game than a bunch of hardworking high school boys, there is a problem."

Agreed. The fix? Proper Coaching. Those players should be taught how to play the game without getting caught for holding, etc..


Like this comment
Posted by PA Fan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:53 am

Frank will be...

Good sense of humor

I agree that they boys should not have retaliated and I like your suggestion to submit the film.


6 people like this
Posted by I Know What's Up
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2019 at 11:19 am

@ Josh Smith, it wasn't Frank who mentioned the history in the Santa Cruz mountains, it was me. It's sad that you call Frank a racist and possibly this is directed at my comments. Speaking about racism doesn't make you a racist. I won't call you one, I will just review your comments. Sunlight is the best disinfectant:

"Your racism against Los Gatos is troubling. Every community has i racists and people who teach their kids ignorant ways." [So is the racism happening IN Los Gatos that Paly kids have long experienced at all troubling to you too?]

"[Portion removed.] Hopefully your children have enough sense that your slants on racism in the Santa Cruz mountains (which, if you need a geo lesson, extend to many communities not just Los Gatos) are outdated and not tolerable. [Portion removed.]

"As for the “segregation” - race had zero to do with it." [How do you know this? Are you an all-knowing and omniscient being?]

" How about focusing on the poor behavior by both sides the last few years. Stop trying to make something of nothing, “Frank”. [See my post above about this history of poor behavior due to the racialized interactions. Let's focus on the poor behavior due to same, not deny it as nothing.]

"Grab your chair and find different stands to sit in - we don’t need your kind of bias in Palo Alto." [I don't think we need yours, dude. You're denying and attacking what has been said here about this history of racial problems, and calling that bias. Huh?]

"Let’s move on from the loss and I wish you great healing for all the wrongs you have faced in your life, especially in Los Gatos." [Another ad hominem attack, as you have done above with calling people a 'victim'.]
[Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 26, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Did Paly really have 6 unsportsmanlike penalties? That needs to be addressed by the coach. That's embarrassing.


4 people like this
Posted by Rusty Shackleford
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2019 at 6:27 am

Always surprising to me to see the theme of shouting down even mild dissent on this site. Is this still the Palo Alto of ...Joan Baez, Grace Slick, and Pig Pen? Case in point. Frank seems earnest here to me, questioning segregation of partisan supporters at a HS football game--something he had never seen, and asks what appears to be a fair question: 'was ethnic prejudice involved?' The loud angry answers immediately came from Samuel L.(but NOT Jackson))and Josh, that 'this segregation was a good and necessary thing! so we can be SAFE; it happens all the time, at those beacons of ethnic equality and fairness- Los Angeles and San Diego, and what's more, not only is there no racism in Los Gagos, but they never even say the 'n' word once. and referees? honest as the day is long!

Well, this is my 2 cents. Call me a ragged-trousered philanthropist, but I agree with Frank Owen. I've never seen this at a HS game either, and I come from Texas with the whole towns v. whole towns at 'Friday Night Lights'. Not once. What's so great about Los Angeles? The word safe ...just sounds dishonest. You is it 'unsafe' when adult Stanford fans rub elbows with Oregon Duck fans? (or Cal Berkeley Berars).? Why would rivalries render today's kids unsafe? and it hits me. Bill Maher is right. It's the parents' fault, telling their kids how fragile and special they are and their opinions are. They are the 'hey, Buddy' generation, as in, 'hey, buddy, could you please stop kicking Daddy at the grocery store'? Tell me that the students were being punished--by overreach/Draconian overkill, and I will buy that. But differences of opinion and ethnicity don't make kids 'unsafe' and in need of a bubble-wrapped 'safe-space'.

In summary: racism exists. Of course, they sling the n word in Los Gatos. and referees do not always make the correct calls. These are subjective differences of opinion I have with smug-twitter-named Samuel L and Josh. I think if these two gentlemen try really hard, they will be able to bear our differences of opinion without segregation. That is my hunch.


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