Starting senior running back Paul Jackson III and junior quarterback Jackson Chryst will be on the sideline as the Palo Alto High School football team (0-4, 0-0) looks to kick off conference play with its first overall win during an away matchup against the Homestead High School Mustangs (1-3, 0-0) at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Jackson hopes to return for the next game against Los Gatos High School (1-3, 0-0) on Oct. 6, after dealing with a hamstring injury. Chryst left the field during the first quarter of the Vikings’ game against Aragon High School (3-0, 0-0) on on Sep. 15, and is expected to be out for four to six weeks with an achilles injury.
Despite these two critical injuries, many players have stepped up and are prepared to lead Paly to its first win.
Last week against Aragon, junior backup quarterback Kyle Mostofizadeh stepped in for Chryst, completing seven of 13 passes for 153 passing yards and two touchdowns.
According to head coach Danny Sullivan, his players never gave up in the challenge of adversity.
“It’s always hard when two of your biggest offensive contributors are not playing, but we ask that it’s next man up,” Sullivan said. “[Junior running back] Aiden [Chang] played well, Kyle really played well and I can’t say enough about them stepping in and helping us out.”
Sophomore wide receiver Jamir Shepard has posed as an emerging threat, receiving two touchdowns against Aragon on 96 receiving yards.
According to senior wide receiver Brey Johnson, the team needs to be successful in its first league matchup.
“We for sure need to win,” Johnson said. “We have prepared well in practice and have been practicing hard, so we need to practice how we play and hopefully come out with a win. We’re running new formations and new sets and a lot of people are stepping up.”
According to senior tight end Bryant Jefferson, the team has been preparing on and off the field and hopes to bounce back for league.
“We need to be physical and we need everyone to do their jobs the best they can and play their role,” Jefferson said.
For the Mustangs, senior running back Andrew Oduor leads the team with three rushing touchdowns on 324 yards.
The Vikings will head into a “bye” week after they face Homestead on the road. This is key in getting players back and healthy.
“It’s week by week, we get better every week,” Sullivan said.