Palo Alto went on the road Friday to Salinas and came back home with a big upset win, 27-20 over No. 3 seed Palma.
And thanks to another upset win taking place in the lettuce capital of the world by No. 7 Oak Grove, 26-20 over No. 2 Salinas, No. 6 seed Paly will play its Central Coast Section Division II football semifinal game at home next Friday at 7 p.m. against Oak Grove.
“We wanted to play another game,’’ Palo Alto coach Nelson Gifford said. “It’s fun, so we said, let’s keep playing.’’
The Vikings (7-4) overcame the loss of several key players to pull out the win. Already without standout tackle Alberto Ruiz and tight end Colorado commit Lou Passarello, starting quarterback Danny Peters sat out the game due to illness. And then once the game began the Vikings lost standout wide receiver/linebacker Colin Giffen, who turned an ankle in the first quarter, and center Jackson Bundy.
Kevin Cullen, subbing for Peters at quarterback, threw two touchdown passes to Jamir Shepard and ran for another touchdown -- a 70-yarder on the first play of the second half, which increased Paly’s lead to 27-6.
“And he played safety and probably had 10 tackles,’’ Gifford said.
The team’s fourth touchdown came on a 65-yard fumble return by Max Giovannotto. The fumble was caused by Creighton Morgenfeld, who was blitzing from his safety position.
With all the key players out a number of unsung players stepped up in a big way.
“It was a MASH unit out there,’’ Gifford said. “I’m proud of how they battled and fought. A lot of sophomores played. They were asked, not just to play varsity football but to play varsity playoff football.’’
Palo Alto also had another Shepard touchdown nullified due to an inadvertent whistle.