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The Paly Voice

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Vikings defeat Firebirds in first home game of the season

The Palo Alto High School Vikings clash with the Fremont High School Firebirds at the line of scrimmage during the first home match of the season Friday night. The Vikings defeated the Firebirds 28-10 in a dominant performance, showcasing excellence in both their defense and offense. According to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Fung, despite having a new roster, the team shows a lot of potential. “We have a pretty solid roster,” Fung said. “It’s a small team but everyone is good, and I feel like we can go as far as we want to.” (Photo: Celina Lee)

In the highly anticipated first match of the season, the Palo Alto High School varsity football team (1-0) crushed the Fremont High School Firebirds (0-1), 28-10, Friday night at home. 

Viking head coach David DeGeronimo said starting the season with a win is rewarding and the new lineup looks promising.

“We try to get better every week and just win some ball games so starting off 1-0 is nice,” DeGeronimo said. “It is a younger roster, but we do have key returning players … so it’s a good combination and when they start to gel, I think they can get really far.” 

According to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Fung, the football team worked hard to prepare for the match.

“This offseason we had a lot of team workouts and good effort throughout the whole summer,” Fung said. “Coming into this game, we had a scrimmage against Mitty [Archbishop Mitty High School] we performed really well in, and I feel like us performing well in the scrimmage carried over to this game and carried us through.”

During the first quarter, the Vikings shut down the Firebird offense, preventing them from gaining enough yardage for another 1st down. Meanwhile, the Vikings had a long drive of 12 plays that resulted in a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jason Auzenne, setting the score in favor of the Vikings, 7-0. 

According to Auzenne, there was high energy on the field after the first touchdown of the season.

“I came back to the sideline, and everybody was hype,” Auzenne said. “Everybody is head butting you and giving you high fives. There is just good energy overall when you come over to the sideline and get cheered on by your teammates.” 

In the second quarter, the Vikings executed another dominant drive of seven plays. It culminated in a 4th down play where senior quarterback Declan Packer threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Auzenne, extending the Vikings’ lead to 14-0. Another vain attempt from Fremont to gain yardage resulted in a blocked punt attempt by junior outside linebacker Roman Jacobs, followed by a 50-yard touchdown pass from Packer to Fung, putting the Viking’s further ahead with a 21-0 lead. However, the Firebirds strung together its own 10-play drive to score a field goal, bringing the score to 21-3. 

Throughout the third quarter, the Firebird’s defense was able to shut down the Viking offense. In the first two drives, the Vikings were unable to gain another 1st down, while the Firebirds strung together two drives with a total of 21 plays, ultimately resulting in a one-yard touchdown rush by junior quarterback Henry Buenrostro, closing the gap slightly to 21-10.

In the final quarter, the Vikings regained control of the football and executed a 17-play drive ending with a 2-yard touchdown rush by senior running back Jeremiah Madrigal, bringing the score to 28-10. A vain attempt by the Firebirds to score a last-minute touchdown was denied by the Viking defense.  

According to Firebird head coach Rob Swartz, the Firebirds have trained and conditioned intensively in preparation for this match.

“I’m really proud of their effort tonight,” Swartz said. “When you look at the two teams, Palo Alto had kids that were a little bit bigger than our guys. But we didn’t back down and I thought we really played well in the second half.”

DeGeronimo said the team training in preparation for the season over the summer paid off. 

“In the summer we do a lot of passing games and you can see tonight that it was clicking because Declan did a great job, Jeremiah Fung had a touchdown, and Jason had two touchdowns,” DeGeronimo said. 

Buenrostro said despite the loss, he is hopeful for the upcoming season.

“Hopefully we make the playoffs for my boys that are gonna be seniors and leave next year,” Buenrostro said. “I hope to have a winning season and have fun with the kids who are going to college next year.” 

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next non-league match at 7:15 p.m. Friday against the Leland High School Chargers (1-0) at Leland High School.

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Game Statistics (Courtesy of Voice reporters)

Vikings: 102 rushing yards, 143 passing yards, 17 first downs, 1 fumble, 0 interceptions

Firebirds: 138 rushing yards, 6 passing yards, 14 first downs, 1 fumble, 0 interceptions

Player Stats (MaxPreps)

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About the Contributors
Maxwell Zhang
Maxwell Zhang, Senior Staff Writer
Maxwell Zhang (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his sophomore year and wishes to pursue management and STEM in college.
Celina Lee
Celina Lee, Editor-in-Chief

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