The Palo Alto High School football team is looking to develop this fall by focusing on team commitment, leadership and more physical play, according Head Coach Jake Halas.
The Vikings ended last season with a record of 3-7, which they are aiming to better this year. Some notable losses in the team’s lineup include graduated seniors Jayshawn Puckett and Jon Martinez.
Although there were only a few seniors on the team last year, they all made significant contributions, according to senior wide receiver Eli Givens.
“They were huge factors and helped out the team a lot last year,” Givens said.
According to Halas, the team will be focusing on being more physical, while also utilizing individual player skills.
“We have several players whom we expect to have big years, especially our seniors, but as a team, we have much more depth [than last year],” Halas said. “With the success of last year’s freshman/sophomore team, we anticipate many of the younger players to contribute right out of the gate.”
According to junior center Peter Snodgrass, the team is striving for more accountability and commitment from teammates.
“We expect each teammate to show up everyday and put in their A effort,” Snodgrass said. “Most importantly, we are trying to bring Paly back to what it was a few years ago.”
The Vikings are working toward doing well in the De Anza league and making it to the Central Coast Section Playoffs, according to senior quarterback Justin Hull.
“This year we have a lot more people playing and a lot more seniors, so we should have much more depth and better leadership,” Hull said. “Everyone on our team seems to be much more dedicated this year and everyone wants to get better and be a really good football team.”
According to Givens, some players to keep an eye out for this season are seniors Hull, Takeru Nishi, Mikey Grandy, and Riley Schoeben, along with juniors Snodgrass and Troy Henderson III.
The Vikings’ first league game against Sequoia High School is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at home.