The Vikings triumph over Wilcox 38-12

The Palo Alto High School football team improved their record to 4-2 with a 38-12 win over the Wilcox Chargers, spoiling the Chargers’ homecoming game.

After forcing a Wilcox three and out, the Vikings drove down the field to the Chargers 20, only to stall on the 3rd down. Palo Alto called out their field goal unit for a 30 yard attempt, but James Foug (’13) was unable to split the uprights and the Chargers took over on their own 20. Wilcox went right to work with their option-oriented offense, breaking down the field for multiple big plays. The offense had two touchdowns called back on penalties, but managed to punch it in for 6 points on their third attempt. However, the point after attempt after was to no avail. The Chargers led Paly 6-0 with 10 seconds left to go in the first quarter.

The ensuing Wilcox kick would go out of bounds for a 15 yard penalty and the Vikings received good field position on their own 35 to begin the second quarter. Palo Alto began moving down field until Keller Chryst (’14) was sacked on 3rd and short. However, Paly would capitalize off a 15 yard penalty, granted to Wilcox, for showboating following Chryst’s sack. On the next play, Chryst  led his team t0 Wilcox’s goal line where he blasted into the end zone,  for the Vikings’ first touchdown of the game. Foug’s kick would follow the TD, putting the Vikes up 7-6 over Wilcox with 7:22 left in the half.

Wilcox’s offense responded by pressing the Vikings to their own 32. However, the Vikings’ defense stood strong and on a critical 3rd down, Drew Rider(’13) stuffed the Wilcox running back in the backfield to force a Charger punt.

However on a mishandled snap, Wilcox’s punter fumbled and the Vikes swarmed him, setting up Paly’s offense up in excellent field position on the Charger’s own 20.

Keller Chryst found De’Antay Williams (’13) for an 11 yard gain, but as Paly drew closer to the endzone, the Wilcox pass rush busted through the offensive line to reach Chryst for a  seven yard sack on 3rd down.

Following the failed drive, Foug came through, easily hitting a 23-yard field goal, putting Paly up 10-6 with 1:20 left in the first half. Wilcox’s offense elected to run out the clock. The Vikings hit the locker room with a four point lead over the Chargers at the half.

At the start of the second half, Palo Alto’s offense struggled to move the ball on it’s opening possession. On 3rd and 10, Chryst, not finding any targets down field, tucked the ball down for a 10 yard, first down worthy run. Following Matt Tolbert’s (’13) rush attempts, Chryst “threaded the needle”, darting a ball in between two defenders over the middle, to favorite target of the night,  Williams for a 25 yard gain. Following the play, Chryst rolled out of the pocket and floated one to the corner of the end zone, finding Williams for a touchdown. Following another successful point after attempt, Palo Alto found itself on top, 17-6 in only two minutes and 43 seconds, with a commanding scoring drive.

The Chargers’ uninspired offense was only able to produce a 15 yard run against a stout Paly defense, forcing another punt after only a few plays.

Paly took over at their 33 and on third down, Matt Tolbert (’13) exploded through an opening in the middle for 10 yards, preventing a Paly three and out. Chryst connected with Tolbert on the following play for an electrifying, 24 yard run, in which Tolbert broke multiple tackles before being taken down. The Vikings would continue to rush Tolbert, who picked up yards in chunks of 6 and 8. On the following play, Justin Gates-Mouton (’13) followed some critical blocks for a 16 yard run, setting up the Vikes on the Chargers’ one yard line. Chryst attempted to punch in the touchdown, but was called back on an “assisting the runner penalty” and the Vikings were given a 5 yard penalty. Now on Wilcox’s six yard line, Chryst rolled out to find Williams once again in the corner of the end zone with about three minutes to go in the third quarter. Foug’s following kick was good, putting Paly up, 24-6.

The Paly defense stood strong once again, busting through Wilcox’s offensive line for a sack and stuffing Wilcox’s struggling running game. Another three and out resulted in a Wilcox punt to the 50 yard line.

Wasting no time, Gates-Mouton, broke through for a 50 yard touchdown on the Vikings’ following possession. Gates-Mouton broke at least seven tackles on the way to the end zone on an unbelievable run. Foug split the uprights yet again, to give Paly a 31-6 lead with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.

But the Chargers’ running-back quickly responded to Paly’s touchdown, breaking out for a 4o yard run. Wilcox willingly moved the ball to the Vikings’ 12 yard line, before being stopped by the fourth quarter break.

Now in scoring position, the Chargers managed to punch it in for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. After a failed two point conversion, Paly still lead 31-12.

The Vikings seemed to struggle with finishing the game, punting to the Chargers’ 27 yard line. However, Wilcox’s offense would do nothing with it, punting the ball back to Paly to set the Vikes up on their own 38.

Determined that the game wasn’t over, the Paly coaching staff ensured that their offense would put up another touchdown. Paly willingly pounded the ball down field using a variety of backs seen in Andrew Frick (’14), Tolbert and J. Gates-Mouton, who all plowed their way through defender after defender to set up Chryst’s third touchdown pass of the night to Malcom Davis (’13) for 17 yards.  Another successful Foug field goal widened the gap between the Vikes and Chargers, 38-12.

Wilcox’s offense continued to struggle, and would punt two more times, even after recovering a Paly fumble. With less than a minute left in the game, Paly ran out the clock to take home it’s second league win. The Vikes prevailed 38-12, and improved to their record to 3-2, 2-1 in league.

Hansen was very pleased with his team’s performance, acknowledging that, “Wilcox is a very good football team, [and] you have to beat Wilcox to win a championship.”

“Our receivers did a good job, our defense stepped up pretty big and stopped what they had to do, what they were trying to do,” Hansen said.

Connor Scheel (’14), too was pleased with his team’s effort in Friday’s game.

“We came out strong. There were a few plays where we let up a little, but we were able to play through the whole game so that was good,” Scheel said.

Scheel has confidence that the team will be able to pull out another win next Friday night against Los Gatos: “As long as we keep practicing as hard as we did this week, I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t handle Gatos,” he continued.

The Vikings will face the Los Gatos Wildcats next Friday night at 7:30 at home.