2014 Football Preview: New coach confident in young team’s talent


In the 2013 fall season, the Vikings fell to the Saint Francis Lancers 45-21 to end the season 6-6. The Vikings graduated 16 seniors and are looking to a young team to fill the graduated gaps.

Maddy Atwater, Staff Writer

After a rough loss to the Saint Francis Lancers in the second round of the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs last year, the Palo Alto High School football team remains confident as it looks to win a league title despite the team’s youth and lack of depth.

“We are excited, I’m excited. I’m excited to show the community and the school what we [the team] can do,” head coach Jake Halas said. “Right now the boys are working hard; they want to win and I have never questioned that.”

The Vikings graduated 16 seniors and seven of them continued their football career into college. With the loss of Keller Chryst (‘14), Andrew Frick (‘14) and Keesean Johnson (‘14), the team will need to step up on both offense and defense in order to succeed this season.

Oliver Svirsky (‘16), the Viking’s new quarterback, has large shoes to fill, but does not seem to let the pressure get to him.

“I think it will go [well], we have a good team even though we lost a lot of our key players last year,” Svirsky said. “We do have more talent overall.”

Along with Svirsky, Eli Givens (‘16), Shaun Pike (‘16) and Mikey Grandy (‘16) will be essential to the Viking’s success this season. These four players will bring the team experience, skill, and leadership as they all enter their second year on the varsity football team.

“We do have a handful of very solid juniors who played last year; this is their time time to shine and I want them to step up even though they are juniors,” Halas said. “We expect big things from Svirsky; we have a [defensive] line that is strong, we need Grandy to have a big year. The list goes on and on.”

The team looks forward to the first half of its season with three of the first five games being played at home. The Vikings will play Archbishop Mitty, Palma, and Wilcox in a row at Paly starting on September 19.

“I’m excited for the whole first half of our season because we have three big games at home starting with [Archbishop] Mitty, who we lost to last year by a lot, and I want to come out and prove something,” Pike said. “Also Palma and Wilcox because both of those games were really close and I think we all want to come out and show we have what it takes to beat them.”

The Vikings have their first game at Sequoia High School on Friday, September 5 at 7 p.m. and then will play their first home game on Friday, September 19 at 7 p.m. against the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs.