The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

We want to hear your voice!

Which school event do you most look forward to this year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Vikings suffer shutout against Bears

The Palo Alto High School Viking’s offense lines up against the Menlo-Atherton High School Bears during the last non-league match of the season Friday night at Menlo-Atherton High School. The Vikings suffered a 0-21 shut-out as the Bears displayed offensive and defensive mastery throughout the four quarters. According to Bear head coach Chris Saunders, this last match was a great opportunity to calibrate their strategy before the upcoming league matches. “Right now, we have a bye week,” Saunders said. “You only have one of them in the season. So, it’s nice to relish the opportunity to take a step back and really evaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t for us.” (Photo: Ketan Altekar-Okazaki)

In the final non-league match of the season, the Palo Alto High School Viking varsity football team (2-3) was crushed by the Menlo-Atherton High School Bears (2-3), 0-21, in a series of offensive and defensive plays throughout the match Friday night at Menlo-Atherton High School.

Bear head coach Chris Saunders said that given how the Bears played, he is very hopeful about a deep run into the playoffs. 

“We came out with purpose and passion today,” Saunders said. “Going into league play, the people we play are obviously very strong. We got our toughest opponents ahead of us. It’s a chance for us to rise up to the challenge.”

According to Viking junior wide receiver Jeremiah Fung, the Viking defense held up well even though they did not have the usual players guarding their quarterback due to injuries.

“I liked how our defense was holding,” Fung said. “We didn’t have any of our usual linemen, but we still kept on pushing. Next week we really got to step on the gas, get in shape and get ready for league.”

Bear senior running back Jordan Masuisui said in order to prepare for their game, they honed in and focused on how the Vikings would play. 

“Going in[to] practice, we were just more physical and more in tune with our movements, and we paid more attention to the details of our opponents,” Masuisui said.

Fung said the team’s loss last week against Los Gatos motivated them to practice harder. 

“We came off a hard loss against Los Gatos, and we just wanted to get the flow back going,” Fung said. “We wanted to get a win and try to pair as much as possible through our practice.”

During the first quarter, after stopping the initial drive by the Vikings, the Bears executed a series of successful running and passing plays that ended in a 1-yard touchdown rush by Masuisui, setting the score to 7-0. On the following drive by the Vikings, after getting past the halfway line, senior quarterback Declan Packer was continuously pressured by the defense, ultimately resulting in a punt. The Bears were also stopped early after Viking junior middle linebacker Joseph Kessler intercepted a pass from Bear junior quarterback Xander Eschelman. 

Following the interception, the Vikings continued their drive into the second quarter where Packer was pressured by the Bear’s defense, leading to a turnover after an incomplete pass on fourth down. The Bears responded with a seven-play drive that ended with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Eschelman to senior tight end Alek Marshall, expanding the lead to 14-0.

To begin the third quarter, a series of running plays from the Bears ended when Viking junior outside linebacker Isaiah Walker recovered a fumble by Eschelman. However, the Vikings were unable to capitalize on the fumble, and the Bears quickly returned to offense. Another seven-play drive resulted in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Eschelman to Marshall, bringing the score to 21-0.

Defense dominated the field during the fourth quarter with no points being scored. In the final few minutes of the match, Kessler intercepted another pass from Bear junior quarterback William Roberts. Through a series of passing plays, the Vikings ended up 1 yard away from the endzone. However, after two failed rush attempts, the clock ticked down to zero, leaving the Vikings scoreless, 0-21.

According to Saunders, the Bears have not yet fully shaken off their nerves, coming off of two straight losses, but this game was a big moment and could be a turning point. 

“It was nice that there’s a big momentum change right before a bye week,” Saunders said. “We’ve also been able to shut out a team. It’s tremendous momentum and really a statement about the style of play that was very physical today. I know we came out with purpose and passion.”

Fung said the Viking’s main priority is keeping the players healthy and prepped for the upcoming league games.

“As a team, we’re going to try to get everyone healthy and in shape,” Fung said. “We are going to get stronger and better as the days go on, and then hopefully, we’ll improve enough to finish strong in the league.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their homecoming and first league game at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 against the Menlo School Knights (4-0) at home.

Leave a Comment
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.
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki, Senior Staff Writer
Ketan Altekar-Okazaki (Class of 2024) joined The Voice his junior year and enjoys volunteering in his free time.

Comments (0)

All The Paly Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *