Palo Alto returns home with a CCS football playoff victory

Jamir Shepard (right) caught two touchdown passes in Palo Alto's 27-20 win over Palma on Friday night. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

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.

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7 people like this
Posted by Rusty Shackleford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2019 at 9:47 am

Wingo! Go Vikings!

Let's not be modest here, we're going to get what we want. All the team has to do next week is beat the Oak Grove Eagles---#311 in the state says MaxPreps, and we're #235, THEN, we get a rematch against Los Gatos. Best of all, this will be on a neutral field, so more ...fair penalties distribution I would suspect and no outlandish segregation of fan bases.

Here I must confess I am partially at fault. I was having an argument with a Los Gatos fan about who had more street cred. He said just to afford his Victorian, he had to lease a condo on the side. I said, well get this. You don't have to see those renters of yours, but my family rents a casita in our own backyard to afford our house! and he said 'what's a casita'? and then you know the rest of the story, and the fan bases were separated. We never even got around to that who is better Bernie or Elizabeth argument!

Now, I realize that since I'm from Texas, I said casita and no one knows what that is in the Bay Area. I should have said 'guest house'.

On another matter, I'd like to make a complaint. I know, everyone thinks football players are so tough because they learn to bear the small injuries and insult of life without crying, like when someone steps on your hand or elbows you in the crotch and so forth. But this is a major insult and deserves tears for its unfairness.

This year, Gunn HS football lost only twice. Yet, they did not even make the Division V playoffs. Get this: they hammered Saratoga, seed #7 in the 4th Division, 35-21. This was no fluke! The only other team who beat them, made the Div. V playoffs. Max Preps says Gunn is #661 in CA. Making the Division V playoffs were two teams who lost 4 games, not 2: Pacific Grove, (#734) and even Mt. Pleasant (#821). Number 821!! (to Gunn's 661). 4 losses instead of 2. This ain't right. Where do we protest? Gunn Varsity Football 2019 was jobbed!!

2 people like this
Posted by Frank Owen
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:46 am

Yeah, why did Gunn get cheated out of the playoffs? Get to the bottom of this Rusty and get back to me!

Updating MaxPreps, now Paly is ranked Number 178 in CA HS football teams, and will next play Oak Grove (#214), before, yes, hopefully Los Gatos (#98). Earlier this year, Paly was ahead of Wilcox (#69) at half 15-10 and behind only 16-15 after the 3rd quarter, before losing 26-15. Wilcox will play Serra (#20) next weekend. As for your argument with the Los Gatos tough guy, maybe you should have discussed leaf blowers. Like which of your gardeners start earlier on weekend mornings. The earlier one would have more street cred. That's my vote.

Mr. Shackleford: for the record, I like Bernie. Democratic socialism has a nice ring to it. Wonder how it would go over in England...

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