In honor of the 2010 State Championship football team, the Viking staff wanted to acknowledge the victory and the journey of the players and coaches.
October 14, 2020
The score was 15-13, Paly in the lead. 30 seconds remained on the game clock and Centennial’s kicker lined up for the game-winning field goal. The ball was snapped and the kick was away. As the ball sailed through the air, Paly cornerback Maurice Williams’ outstretched fingers managed to scrape the bottom of the ball, altering the trajectory of the kick. 7,000 people watched in apprehension as the football sailed through the air and fell short. The game was over. Paly had won.
After connecting with several coaches and players who were a part of this historic team, we can honor the season, the victory, and the amazing people who made the team special to the Palo Alto community.
Despite winning the State, the season was not smooth sailing for the Vikes, in fact, it was far from it.
As explained by several coaches, one of the games against Homestead during the season became known as the Homestead Massacre. Numerous important players were taken out by injuries. To give you an idea of the game, Paly’s starting center, Jackson Moses, had already broken his hand before the game. His backup, brother Sam Moses, got hurt during the game as well. Anyone who knows football knows how important every player on the team is. The next couple of weeks became a puzzle of finding out who would fill the key positions.
By the week following, the coaching staff was starting the 5th string center. Sophomore Spencer Drazovich, a previous offensive tackle, was converted into the starting center and kept that position for two and a half years.
“I think of the 2010 offensive line like a bunch of guys who held together not on God-given talent, but through intelligence, sacrifice, toughness, and commitment,” said Steve Foug, the offensive line, and defensive ends coach. “That was their personality. And that isn’t anything that a coach can create.”
The playoffs can be described as the toughest stretch of the season, where Paly had to defeat three West Catholic Athletic League private school teams, including Paly’s league rival Archbishop Mitty.
“We were down 6-10 against Mitty and our season was about to end, with 36 seconds left Christoph Bono threw a perfect pass to Davante Adams in the left corner of the end for the TD and the win,” said Earl Hansen, the head coach. “It truly was one of the greatest plays by both players I have witnessed in 40 years of coaching.”
“Let’s go all the way tonight. No regrets, just love. We can dance until we die,” sang the players after their victory.
“Teenage Dream” was the team’s victory song. After every victory, the players would celebrate by belting the song, dancing under a disco ball in the locker room, and eventually making a viral video out of it. But quite ironically, the Vikes truly accomplished a “Teenage Dream.”
The state championship had snuck upon them, but the Vikes prepared.
“We traveled down to Los Angeles to scout Centennial the week before the state game, ‘’ said Dave DeGeronimo, running backs and defensive backs coach. “We prepared for Centennial the week before as well, and we started the defensive game plan in LA. Halas made some creative adjustments to our nickel Defense, and the rest is history.”
The team would battle it out against Centennial, a school part of the Kern High School District, at the “Home Depot Center” in Los Angeles. The stadium seated around 30,000 people, which held a Paly section filled with proud parents and the Palo Alto community. It rained the whole day and throughout the game, which several coaches believe played a role in the outcome.
When Centennial ran out on the field, the players and coaches saw a drastic difference. Paly had about 45 players suited up, and Centennial came storming out with over 100. But this did not phase the team.
“When Centennial came out of the tunnel it was like the scene from ‘Big Green’, the Disney Soccer movie where the goalie sees everyone on the other team turn into Knights,” said Bono, the starting quarterback.
Even though the Vikes were the underdogs, they would shock the crowd that night.
“As the game ended and we jumped up and down on the sloppy, wet grass field hugging each other, I felt a rush of emotion hit me all at once,” said Matthew McGinn, the linebackers and tight end coach. “As a coach, you try to stay focused and not think about anything but preparing your players to be their best, and at that moment, we were allowed to let go and celebrate!”
Kevin Anderson, defensive end, described it as one of the best moments of his life, and we can bet the rest of the team felt the same way.
“When the clock hit zero, it was one of the best moments of my life. I still get chills thinking about it!” said Anderson.
Similar to any other sports team as successful as the Vikes, they had raw talent in every position. But what is the point in having talent without chemistry? To these boys, the season was not just about bringing home a big state championship trophy, but making connections that would last them a lifetime. To this day, the players and coaches of the 2010 season still keep in touch through social media and even see each other around the Bay Area from time to time.
“A lot of guys from the team are still in the Bay Area so it is nice to catch up with some around town in Palo Alto or others up in San Francisco,” said Christoph Bono, former quarterback for the Vikes. “I see TJ Braff, Michael Cullen, Will Glazier and others occasionally, and if the Packers are in town it’s great to see Davante. It is awesome to see where everyone is now and what they do for work.”
The 2010 team set a high standard for following football teams to come and for any player or coach who set foot on the field. A life-size painting of Christoph Bono and the names of the coaches from the 2010 team on Paly’s own gym wall to remind Paly students of the team’s accomplishment.
“Football is just the ultimate team sport,” said Steve Foug, Offensive line and defensive ends coach. “It takes all kinds of athletes to build a championship team. Football is the most democratic sport too. You can’t just bank all your hopes on one superstar. You can be tall, short, fast, slow or anything in between, but if you are willing to work hard and sacrifice, you can contribute. And we had that all over the place in that 2010 team – sacrifice and trust.”