Football to host Milpitas after loss to Mountain View

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Malia Wanderer and Amy Yu

After a crushing loss against the Mountain View Spartans (2-0)  and demotion to fifth place in the De Anza League last week, the Palo Alto Vikings football team (0-2) will get a shot at redemption 7 p.m. Saturday against the Milpitas Trojans (0-2).

Football to host Milpitas after loss to Mountain View

Photos: Amy Yu and Malia Wanderer

Additional Reporting by Maia Johnsson

Story text:

After a crushing loss against the Mountain View Spartans (2-0)  and demotion to fifth place in the De Anza League last week, the Palo Alto Vikings football team (0-2) will get a shot at redemption 7 p.m. Saturday against the Milpitas Trojans (0-2).

Junior quarterback Danny Peters told The Paly Voice after the game against the Spartans that the team lost focus of its main responsibilities, but the team will focus on executing individual tasks forward.

“I think [our goal is] just be more disciplined and just keep our mindset of doing your individual job, which is how you succeed as a team,” Peters said. “We’re just going to forget this [game against the Spartans] and go on to the next one.”

This game is also the Vikings’ senior night. Senior defensive tackle and tackle Patrick Crowley said he’s excited to have the opportunity to celebrate and finally play a home game.

“Senior night is a sad-happy feeling,” Crowley stated in a message. “It usually means that as a senior, it’s my last time playing at home, but it also means that we get to look back on all the good memories we had playing at Paly. … It sucks that it’s just one game at home, but it will definitely be more memorable.”

The game against the Spartans on March 27 kicked off after a surprise power outage and venue change. The Vikings were originally scheduled to play their first home game but had to relocate to Mountain View when the lights went out. According to Peters, despite the bizarre situation, the team remained focused on the game.

“I think it was weird, but in the end football is football,” Peters said. “Of course home field is nice, but it’s just a field. It brings that energy, but I think as a team we should bring that energy rather than just have the fans bring it.”

The Vikings fell behind in the first seconds of the game when Mountain View scored a touchdown off the initial kick. However, Paly quickly rallied back with junior running back Josh Butler carrying the ball up the field and Peters throwing a touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Amani Elfadil, ending the quarter with a score of 7-7.

According to junior wide receiver and cornerback Brody Simison, the Spartans’ touchdown resulted from weak tackles on defense.

“I think our hitting wasn’t there, so we were locked in and ready, but we couldn’t stop the run,” Simison said.

In the second quarter, the Vikings kept up the offensive pressure with strong runs from Elfadil and Simison and a touchdown from Butler.

However, after missing the kick for the point after touchdown, the Vikings lost traction, yielding another two touchdowns to Mountain View and falling back into a point deficit.

At halftime, the Paly cheer team performed for the first time this year, complete with a dance routine, tumbling and stunts. 

The Viking offense crumbled in the third quarter with seven incomplete passes and many flags against them as they struggled to move up the field.

On the other hand, the Spartans remained strong and continued making successful runs, scoring a field goal and lengthening their lead to 31-13.

According to head coach Nelson Gifford, the high number of flags and fouls against the Vikings had a significant impact on the game.

“I wasn’t so happy with some of the personal fouls, those need to be addressed,” Gifford said. “Penalties will happen, but the emotional aspect we always have to be in control of, so I really want to address that.”

In the fourth quarter, Mountain View continued to slip through Paly’s defensive line, scoring another touchdown. In the final moments of the game, the Vikings finished strong with a 68 yard run from Simison bringing the ball to the one yard line, setting up a touchdown thrown from Peters to junior tight end Lucas Black. Instead of attempting a kick, the Vikings successfully completed a two-point conversion, ending the game with a score of 21-38.

Gifford said he sees this game as a learning opportunity, especially for the less-experienced players on the team.

“Find the things that you did well and continue to develop those, find the things that you need to improve on and develop strategies to address those needs,” Gifford said. “As coaches, I really want us to study the film and figure out ways we can support our guys as they kind of are learning and doing at the same time. It’s definitely a different set of circumstances, and you’re learning on the job in this case.”

Captions:

Sophomore wide receiver Amani Elfadil celebrates a touchdown with junior tight end Lucas Black.

Junior running back Josh Butler evades Spartan defenders as he dashes up the field during the second quarter.

Junior quarterback Danny Peters prepares to throw a long ball to junior wide receiver and cornerback Brody Simison.