Football Season Recap


courtesy of Karen Hickey

Tyler Frick, Tyler Martin, and Grace Li

This football season was an eventful one. From a losing streak to making it to the quarter-finals, the team came back unexpectedly through massive improvements.

The team had a rough 1-6 start, however, they bounced back, finishing the season 7-7. The team worked extremely hard to make such a drastic improvement.

“We started to understand how everyone played and how we can build off each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” wide receiver Jason Auzenne (‘24) said.

Under a new head coach, David DeGeronimo, the program needed time to get used to his change in philosophy, and culture. Over time, they became a tight-knit group, rallying around each other to find success.

“Coach DeGeronimo is a very dedicated coach with a lot of experience so we were very blessed to have him this year. He believed in every single one of us and saw great potential in the team on the first day of practice. Coach D is overall an amazing person. I will forever be grateful that I got to be a player for him,” defensive lineman Va’inga Mahe (‘23) said.

The biggest turning point of the season came when they defeated Mountain View in a thrilling game. This win gave them the confidence needed to make their impressive run.

“After the Mountain View game is where everything started clicking,” Auzenne said. “The whole team started to come together.”

After coming through in must-win games against Mountain View and Milpitas, the team qualified for Division V CCS.

“In all honesty, after beating Milpitas, I was very happy about that Milpitas win. But that win made us realize that we had a chance to be great,” Mahe (‘23) said.

The Vikings stayed hot, defeating Stevenson, Seaside, and Monterey, on their way to winning a CCS championship.

At Stevenson, the team executed their plays well and felt a deep sense of accomplishment.

“For me, it was big because last year we lost first round to Christopher HS and ever since that game I was telling myself that I will do anything in my power to not let that happen again,” Mahe (‘23) said.

Seaside was a team that PALY held in high standard, as Seaside held PALY in high standard. Making sure not to underestimate them, PALY went into the game with a great game plan.

“We executed on both sides of the ball and… I… contributed as I got a scoop and score touchdown in the 4th quarter. It was just an amazing night,” Mahe (‘23) said.

Monterey is a game that the team will never forget, as it was the game where they won the CCS Division V Championship.

“Winning is a great feeling. Being a CCS champ is an even better feeling. Monterey was a good and very disciplined team. It was a good game and I’m glad we came out on top,” Mahe (‘23) said.

Unfortunately, the team’s winning streak came to a halt when they lost against Santa Teresa.

“A very fast-paced and very crazy game. A lot of simple mistakes were made during the game. Although we lost, It made me realize how special our team was,” Mahe (‘23) said.

Even with their loss, many PALY players earned an all-league status for their tremendous play this season.

Jack Newman (‘23) – who starred as a running back as well – was voted as Linebacker of the Year, totaling 143 tackles and 15 tackles for loss. Running back Jeremiah Madrigal (‘24), offensive lineman Ikinasio Tupou, defensive lineman Va’inga Mahe (‘23), and defensive back Kai Bussey (‘23) all earned the first-team all-league honors.

The first-year starting quarterback Declan Packer (‘24), took off during the Vikings’ win streak. Overall, he threw 19 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions, and finished with a 99.0 quarterback rating.

The dynamic backfield duo of Newman and Madrigal combined for 19 touchdowns on the ground. Both players averaged over 60 rushing yards per game as well.

Jason Auzenne led the team in both receiving yards and touchdowns. He saw a massive increase in production during the Viking’s winning streak.

Defensively, linebacker Lincoln Tutor (‘23), Va’inga Mahe, and Yoshi Lee (‘23) led the team with 3 sacks each. While Leitch (’23) led the team with 3 interceptions on the season.

In totality, the Vikings made the absolute best of a difficult start, and their perseverance resulted in the program’s first CCS championship since 2010.