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 fall to Knights in Homecoming match

The Menlo School Knights push the pile against the Palo Alto High School Vikings during the Homecoming match on Friday night at home. The Vikings suffered a 0-14 loss following a fourth quarter surge by the Knights. According to Viking senior running back Jeremiah Madrigal, the Vikings need to work on perfecting their offensive plays. “We have to start from the base,” Madrigal said. “It’s on offense. We have to figure out our blocking on the line and figure out our routes. Everybody has to do their work, come to practice and just keep working.” (Photo: Divij Motwani)

In the Homecoming and first league match of the season, the Palo Alto High School Viking varsity football team (0-1) lost to the Menlo School Knights (2-0), 0-14, in a fourth-quarter surge Friday night at home.

According to Knight sophomore quarterback Jack Freehill, the Vikings have been their toughest opponents in the six matches they have played so far.

“Our defense completely shut out [the Vikings],” Freehill said. “Our offense struggled in the first half, and we have not faced this much offensive adversity. But we came back for 14 points in the fourth quarter. [Knight senior quarterback] Mikey Mcgrath did a great job along with [senior wide receiver] Brady Jung.”

Freehill said the Knights knew the game would be tough due to the fact that it was the Viking’s home game.

“We came in 5 to 0, but we knew that this would be a hard game, especially since it’s Paly’s Homecoming,” Freehill said. “So, we just came here knowing they were going to fight, and we were just going to have fun playing ball.”

According to Viking junior free safety Jeremiah Fung, the team came in ready to give its all since it knew it had a difficult opponent to face.

“All of our practices this week were super solid,” Fung said. “We had good tempo, good pace, good everything, and I feel like it was just the minimal mistakes that we had in the game that lost it for us.” 

Knight’s head coach Todd Smith said the energy around the match was exciting because of the Homecoming crowd.

“Our kids were prepared, and Palo Alto was prepared, and they had a great crowd since it was Homecoming for them, so they were ready to go,” Smith said. “So, it was a great, great night of football.”

In the first quarter, many drive-ending sacks from both sides resulted in both teams’ defenses shutting down all offensive drives. Fung intercepted a pass from Freehill, but the Vikings were unable to capitalize on this momentum.

The intense head-to-head competition continued into the second quarter. Neither team was able to overcome the other’s defense. Near the end of the quarter, the Knights missed their first field goal attempt. However, Viking senior wide receiver Jason Auzenne fumbled the ball on the first play of the drive, and the ball was recovered by the Knights. The Knights consequently attempted another field goal and missed again, leaving the score at 0-0 at the end of the half.  

According to Freehill, the halftime break was spent supporting the Knights and boosting their confidence.

Crowd of Palo Alto High School students roots for the Vikings during its Homecoming game. (Photo: Ketan Altekar-Okazaki)

“During halftime, we were just talking and lifting each other up,” Freehill said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game, and we haven’t really had a tough game like this, so we did a good job facing adversity and our coaches helped us do it.”

Fung said during halftime, the team was excited to have held their opponents scoreless.

“We were hyped that we held a 5-0 team to a 0-0 score at halftime,” Fung said. “When we were in the locker room, we were ready to go and score coming up the half.”

Both teams still struggled to gain yardage in the third quarter. Before either team could make it to the red zone, the other team’s defense would shut down the offense by sacking the quarterback or blocking a pass.

In the fourth quarter, the Knights finally overcame the Viking defense. A series of three passes totaling 90 yards from Mcgrath ended with a touchdown reception by Jung, setting the score to 7-0. In a desperate attempt to even out the score, Viking senior quarterback Declan Packer’s pass was intercepted. After a couple of plays, Knight senior running back Nicholas Scacco ran for a five-yard touchdown, ending the game with a score of 14-0.

According to Fung, the Vikings will need to spend more time studying and watching film in order to better understand the opponent’s playing style.

“We need everyone in the film room, we need everyone watching, we need everyone paying attention, we need everyone knowing every little detail and every little play so we can protect Declan and make sure we can get the ball,” Fung said.

According to Smith, the Knights look to improve each week by learning from their mistakes and focusing on the season ahead of them.

“We’re 2 to 0, so we’re off to a good start,” Smith said. “Every week is a week of its own, so we have to learn from this one and then flush it and move on.”

Fung said the loss by the Vikings was amplified due to the fact that it was Homecoming night.

“I haven’t got to talk to any of my senior friends yet, but I bet they are very bummed about it [losing the game],” Fung said. “We were all super high in spirits, and we really wanted to win this one for the seniors.”

The Vikings are scheduled to play their next match 7 p.m. Friday against the Half Moon Bay High School Cougars (0-2) at home.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
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.
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.

Comments (0)

All The Paly Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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