Football: Vikings to take on Homestead in final league game

Marvin Zou, Sports Editor

Senior quarterback Jackson Chryst snaps the ball under center against McClymonds High School on Aug. 7 in a game the Vikings won 29-20. The Vikings beat McClymonds by getting the ball to their playmakers and Chryst will look to do the same against Homestead at 7 p.m. on Friday. Receivers Jamir Shepard and Paul Thie will be two of Chryst’s biggest targets. Photo: Jevan Yu

The Palo Alto High School football team (8-1, 4-1) is set to face the Homestead High School football team (1-8, 1-4) in the Vikings’ final league game at 7 p.m. on Friday at Homestead High School.

The Vikings are currently in second place in the league standings and will be the favorites against the Mustangs, who are currently fifth.

Since their first loss against Wilcox on Aug. 28 , the Vikings have not lost a game, winning three straight against Cupertino, Fremont and Los Gatos by large margins.

Behind their high-powered offense and lockdown defense, the Vikings have outscored opponents by a total of 111 points since the loss against Wilcox and are looking to continue their dominant play against the Mustangs.

According to senior linebacker David Hickey, although the Vikings have already clinched a playoff spot, this upcoming game will have an impact on what seed they will be given in the playoffs.

“Homestead played a good first quarter against Wilcox, so they can put up a fight,” Hickey said. “We want the best possible resume going into playoffs.”

Offensively, the Vikings will look to get the ball to junior Jamir Shepard, a wide receiver, who has been one of the main contributors to the Vikings’ success this season.

Shepard has 931 reception yards and 16 touchdowns this season, and had a breakout game against Los Gatos, catching three balls for 205 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, the Vikings will be led by senior linebackers Wes Walters and Dwayne Trahan, who will look to stop the Mustangs’ run-heavy offense.

Trahan and Walters have a combined 86 tackles on the season while the Mustang’s offense has accumulated 1,343 rush yards over their first nine games.

Hickey said that to beat Homestead, the Vikings must stay focused throughout the entire game and play mistake-free football on both sides of the ball.

“We know we are better [than Homestead], but just because we are better doesn’t mean we can be sloppy,” Hickey said.

Hickey added on and said that he hopes the team can achieve a fast tempo, execute well on every play, and be in control the entire game.

This is the Vikings’ final game before the Central Coast Section playoffs, starting Nov. 9, and according to junior receiver Joey Passarello, beating Homestead is a good opportunity for the team to compete before playoffs.

“We hope to get everything in tune so that we can be heading into the playoffs strong,” Passarello said.