Football team to open season with game at San Benito

Allison Cowie, Author

B.J. Boyd (’12) runs the opening kickoff back for a touchdown of last year’s game against San Benito on September 2, 2012. [Photo: Matt Ersted]

The Palo Alto High School football team is preparing to take on the San Benito Haybalers in its season opener on Friday, Sept. 7, in Hollister.

This is the first game of the season for the Vikings, who are coming off of a 10-3 season last fall.

The team has been working hard in practice to come into the game prepared both mentally and physically, according to senior wide receiver, cornerback and safety Jayshawn Gates-Mouton said.

“We have [had] film days during lunch where we go into a classroom, and we watch their film and their plays, and then we observe how we can stop their plays to the best of our ability,” Gates-Mouton said.

Their time spent in the classroom has translated into productive practices, according to junior left tackle and defensive tackle Jack Anderson.

“We have been practicing against their offense and defense and … against the triple option because that is a key component in their offense,” he said.

According to senior captain center and defensive tackle Spencer Drazovich, to stop San Benito’s triple-option offense Paly will have to force the Haybaler’s quarterback to throw.

“The key this week is going to be shutting down their run game and making them pass the ball,” Drazovich said.

Unlike Paly, San Benito will be playing its second game of the season this Friday and already has a win in the record books.  They beat Pioneer High School 24-21 on Aug. 31.

“They’re a solid all-around team,” Drazovich said.  “They have hard-working lineman and disciplined skill positions which makes any team a tough opponent.”

However, the Vikings are confident in their preparation and are ready to take on their opponent.

“They [San Benito] have a couple of pretty good linemen, … but they are nothing to be afraid of,” Anderson said.

Advance media coverage of the match-up has been used by Paly players to their advantage, according to Gates-Mouton.

“Coach [Earl Hansen] cuts the paper out and puts it on our wall to remind us every day what our focus is on,” he said.

This being the first varsity-level game for many of Paly’s players, there are many opportunities for the Vikings to prove themselves under the lights.

“Everyone has a big role in this game since its the first one of the season,” Drazovich said. “But we definitely have a lot of young guys who are looking to prove themselves on the field… [such as] our young offensive line.”

Anderson thinks that his team is ready to go.

“We have been practicing hard for a while now … if we step up and do what we’ve been coached to do, we should get a big win,” he said.

The game starts at 7:30 p.m.