Sports

Back and forth SCVAL football game lands in Paly's corner

Palo Alto was able to celebrate a SCVAL De Anza Division football victory Friday night not because of any one particular play, though there were plenty of highlights from which to choose.

Adrian Faust blocked an extra point that proved pivotal. Photo taken Oct. 15, 2021 by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

The Vikings can celebrate their 35-34 road victory over Mountain View because of an attitude they brought with them.

After managing to get through practice Monday, Palo Alto coach Nelson Gifford had to spend the rest of the week at home because of a stomach virus.

"Me being sick meant all the other coaches had to figure out how to pick up the slack," Gifford said. "With me not being there, the team could have taken a few days off. Instead, they all decided they wanted to get better."

The victory puts Palo Alto (4-4, 2-2) into a position to secure an automatic bid into the Central Coast Section playoffs. The loss didn't bump Mountain View (5-4, 2-3) out of the equation but it didn't help.

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Palo Alto has two games remaining, beginning with a home game Friday against Milpitas, which beat Homestead 35-7, mucking up the standings even more, on Friday.

Palo Alto is one of three teams with a 2-2 league record, with Milpitas and Homestead. Mountain View has one game remaining and needs a win at undefeated Los Gatos (8-0, 4-0) on Thursday night.

The Spartans, elevated into the De Anza Division last season, lost their third game by four points or less. They are five points away from being a one-loss team.

Mountain View had a chance to win the game on its final play because they weren't about to give up either.

Mountain View's top running back Leo Navarro was not at full strength either but it didn't stop him from giving it his all.

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He slipped on a third-down play that lost a yard with 2:15 remaining to play in the game. The Spartans called time to think through a fourth-and-four situation near midfield. Paly had already stopped Mountain View on a couple of fourth down tries earlier.

Mountain View has lost three games by a total of six points this season. Photo taken Sept. 10, 2021 by Rick Eymer.

The Vikings weren't able to stop sophomore running back Dillon Daniels, who earlier returned a kickoff 81 yards for a score, from picking up 23 yards and a crucial first down. Two plays later Mountain View had a first and 10 on Paly's 16-yard line.

Jackson Steffen took a shot a shot at the end zone, lofting a pass into the corner towards Joe Brown, who had a bead on the ball. At the last possible second, Viking cornerback Kai Bussey got a hand up to knock it away.

Sawyer McFarland knocked down another pass a couple of plays later and Mountain View decided to try a field goal from 36 yards out that missed by inches.

Palo Alto scored the go-ahead touchdown on Danny Peters five-yard run with 7:35 left to play. He scrambled five yards for a first down on the previous play.

"I went though all my reads and didn't see anything," Peters said. "There was an open path and I just went for it. On the touchdown, I saw that they did not have an outside linebacker, the guy who usually marks me, so I was 100% committed to running there."

"Basically we broke down the defense," Palo Alto junior center Vainga Mahe said. "When he ran it in, it was pretty unexpected to me."

Paly was up 33-28 at the time and decided to try a two-point conversion. Here's how receiver Brody Simison describes it:

"I was sure I saw myself open. I saw their safety coming over and thought 'dang, a pick.' It went through his hands though and I had stayed on the ball and caught it."

Simison said it was almost like a gift. The safety did get his hands on it, knocking it up like a wounded swan and into Simison's hands, where he cradled it.

Peters threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 17 of 26 passing. He also gained 45 yards on 14 carries.

Josh Butler saw his first extended action since the Pioneer game in the third week, rushing for 69 yards on 12 carries. He had to leave the game with a muscle strain after a 22-yard run that helped set up a touchdown.

Charlie Hoke, who carried once for one yard in the first half, came on and picked up another 48 yards and scored a touchdown.

Tommy Butler caught touchdown passes of 5 and 26 yards and Simison had a 10-yard TD reception. Lucas Black caught four passes for 65 yards.

Min Park was knocked out of the game at one point and then returned, and with a little help from his line, rushed for 41 yards on a fourth down play and then 14 yards on the next play for the touchdown that brought the Spartans within a point.

Palo Alto senior defensive end Adrian Faust got penetration on the extra-point try and blocked it to keep Mountain View from tying the score.

Navarro, who also blocked a PAT, was Mountain View's workhorse, collecting 71 of his 89 yards in the second half. Park added 73 rushing yards while both Daniels and Steffen gained 56 yards.

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Back and forth SCVAL football game lands in Paly's corner

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Sat, Oct 23, 2021, 1:38 am

Palo Alto was able to celebrate a SCVAL De Anza Division football victory Friday night not because of any one particular play, though there were plenty of highlights from which to choose.

The Vikings can celebrate their 35-34 road victory over Mountain View because of an attitude they brought with them.

After managing to get through practice Monday, Palo Alto coach Nelson Gifford had to spend the rest of the week at home because of a stomach virus.

"Me being sick meant all the other coaches had to figure out how to pick up the slack," Gifford said. "With me not being there, the team could have taken a few days off. Instead, they all decided they wanted to get better."

The victory puts Palo Alto (4-4, 2-2) into a position to secure an automatic bid into the Central Coast Section playoffs. The loss didn't bump Mountain View (5-4, 2-3) out of the equation but it didn't help.

Palo Alto has two games remaining, beginning with a home game Friday against Milpitas, which beat Homestead 35-7, mucking up the standings even more, on Friday.

Palo Alto is one of three teams with a 2-2 league record, with Milpitas and Homestead. Mountain View has one game remaining and needs a win at undefeated Los Gatos (8-0, 4-0) on Thursday night.

The Spartans, elevated into the De Anza Division last season, lost their third game by four points or less. They are five points away from being a one-loss team.

Mountain View had a chance to win the game on its final play because they weren't about to give up either.

Mountain View's top running back Leo Navarro was not at full strength either but it didn't stop him from giving it his all.

He slipped on a third-down play that lost a yard with 2:15 remaining to play in the game. The Spartans called time to think through a fourth-and-four situation near midfield. Paly had already stopped Mountain View on a couple of fourth down tries earlier.

The Vikings weren't able to stop sophomore running back Dillon Daniels, who earlier returned a kickoff 81 yards for a score, from picking up 23 yards and a crucial first down. Two plays later Mountain View had a first and 10 on Paly's 16-yard line.

Jackson Steffen took a shot a shot at the end zone, lofting a pass into the corner towards Joe Brown, who had a bead on the ball. At the last possible second, Viking cornerback Kai Bussey got a hand up to knock it away.

Sawyer McFarland knocked down another pass a couple of plays later and Mountain View decided to try a field goal from 36 yards out that missed by inches.

Palo Alto scored the go-ahead touchdown on Danny Peters five-yard run with 7:35 left to play. He scrambled five yards for a first down on the previous play.

"I went though all my reads and didn't see anything," Peters said. "There was an open path and I just went for it. On the touchdown, I saw that they did not have an outside linebacker, the guy who usually marks me, so I was 100% committed to running there."

"Basically we broke down the defense," Palo Alto junior center Vainga Mahe said. "When he ran it in, it was pretty unexpected to me."

Paly was up 33-28 at the time and decided to try a two-point conversion. Here's how receiver Brody Simison describes it:

"I was sure I saw myself open. I saw their safety coming over and thought 'dang, a pick.' It went through his hands though and I had stayed on the ball and caught it."

Simison said it was almost like a gift. The safety did get his hands on it, knocking it up like a wounded swan and into Simison's hands, where he cradled it.

Peters threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns on 17 of 26 passing. He also gained 45 yards on 14 carries.

Josh Butler saw his first extended action since the Pioneer game in the third week, rushing for 69 yards on 12 carries. He had to leave the game with a muscle strain after a 22-yard run that helped set up a touchdown.

Charlie Hoke, who carried once for one yard in the first half, came on and picked up another 48 yards and scored a touchdown.

Tommy Butler caught touchdown passes of 5 and 26 yards and Simison had a 10-yard TD reception. Lucas Black caught four passes for 65 yards.

Min Park was knocked out of the game at one point and then returned, and with a little help from his line, rushed for 41 yards on a fourth down play and then 14 yards on the next play for the touchdown that brought the Spartans within a point.

Palo Alto senior defensive end Adrian Faust got penetration on the extra-point try and blocked it to keep Mountain View from tying the score.

Navarro, who also blocked a PAT, was Mountain View's workhorse, collecting 71 of his 89 yards in the second half. Park added 73 rushing yards while both Daniels and Steffen gained 56 yards.

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