The Palo Alto High School Vikings football team (1-1, 0-0) fell to the San Benito Haybalers (2-0, 0-0) by a score of 49-34 last Friday in the second game of the season, a well-fought battle that was decided by a one-sided third quarter.
According to senior quarterback Justin Hull, the Vikings played harder and performed better this year than they did in last year’s game against San Benito, in which Paly lost 33-0.
“Last year we just got blown out by these guys, so it was nice to see a lot of effort across the board, offense and defense,” Hull said.
The Vikings started the game off on a high note when Hull connected with senior wide receiver Riley Schoeben for a touchdown in the first 10 minutes. Immediately afterward, junior linebacker Jamie Cullen recovered a fumble on the Vikings’ 1-yard line, stalling a Haybalers’ drive.
San Benito came back, however, with consecutive touchdowns scored by junior fullback Hunter Nye and senior running back Kyle Cameron.
Although Paly senior fullback Shaun Pike tied up the game at the half with a touchdown less than 11 minutes into the third quarter, San Benito scored two back-to-back touchdowns in the same quarter. The Vikings’ head coach Jake Halas accredited this to the Haybalers’ wishbone offense, a formation that puts heavy pressure on the opposing team’s defensive players.
“We had a hard time shutting down that offense,” Halas said. “The wishbone offense hits very hard. We had some assignments blown, we couldn’t really stop them.”
However, the Vikings didn’t go down without a fight. Hull found receivers in the endzone multiple times during the second half, including a one-handed catch by senior wideout Eli Givens.
Ultimately, San Benito’s running game proved too much for the Vikings to handle.
“It was disappointing, but there’s a lot that we can learn from it,” Pike said. “It’s a good learning experience.”
The Vikings’ next game is against the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs (2-0,0-0) at 7 p.m. this upcoming Friday in San Jose.