Paly won 10 games last year, following its state championship run in 2010.
In order to repeat the team’s success, senior wide receiver Jayshawn Gates-Mouton will have to play a key role in the team’s offense. Last year, according to Maxpreps.com, he racked up 518 receiving yards along with five touchdowns.
“I expect … to win league again as we did last year,” he said. “The next challenge is going back to states.”
He also has high expectations for himself this year.
“My personal goal this year is to play a bigger role in leading our team to wins throughout this season,” Gates-Mouton said.
Junior quarterback Keller Chryst threw for 2,165 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. Despite the success, Chryst does not want to get ahead of himself.
“It’s important to take it one play, practice, and game at a time and give everything in order to succeed,” Chryst said.
He does not doubt the ability of the team.
“We expect to be a very successful team this year with all of the talent we have,” he said.
B.J. Boyd, last year’s star who averaged nearly seven yards per carry while also racking up over 1,000 receiving yards, graduated in the Class of 2012 . However, head coach Earl Hansen is not worried about the loss of Boyd or other key players.
“Yeah, B.J. was a very good football player,” Hansen said. “But we also have Jayshawn, who’s better than he was last year. [Junior] Malcolm [Davis] is also very good. So, you know, we’re stepping forward with that.”
Hansen expects players, including Chryst and senior center Spencer Drazovich, to step up as team leaders this season.
Additionally, Gates-Mouton said that he would like to play a bigger leadership role this season and encourage younger players to do the same.
Last year, Paly compiled 10 victories before falling in the Central Coast Section finals to Bellarmine College Preparatory, 41-13.
Despite the successes of recent years, nothing will come easy.
“Our league is very tough,” Hansen said, “And we are going to know a lot more about our team after we play San Benito and Mitty the first two games. They are both very good teams, so we are looking forward to those challenges.”
Hansen said he still has high hopes of going back to the CCS championship and coming out on top. Chryst, on the other hand, refuses to look too far in the future. He prefers to take things one step at a time.
“Right now we just have to beat San Benito,” Chryst said.
Paly opens its regular season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 7 at San Benito. The Vikings open up their home schedule at 7:30 p.m. the following Friday against the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs.