For once in a Spirit Week filled with rival competition and classes turning against each other, Palo Alto High School was unified for one night.
The Paly Vikings (6-2, 4-1) romped the Saratoga High School Falcons (5-3, 2-3), 51-34, at tonight’s homecoming game with the student body cheering on.
The Vikings now sit with the Milpitas High School Trojans (6-2, 4-1) atop the SCVAL De Anza Division standings, each with a league record of 4-1.
In a game that was characterized by a heavy output of points, the Vikings took advantage of a lackluster Falcons’ defense and blew the game open in the second half.
Senior running back Matt Tolbert, junior fullback Andrew Frick and senior receiver Justin Gates-Mouton dominated the offense, each scoring two touchdowns. Junior receiver Malcolm Davis also contributed to the scoring with one of his own.
The Falcons had a strong start, jumping out to a 13-7 lead with two first quarter field goals and an 80-yard rushing touchdown with 5:29 to go in the first half.
Yet the Vikings stormed back, led by Frick and Tolbert, each with one touchdown. By halftime, the scoreboard read 17-13 with the Vikings on top.
Although the Falcons’ defense put some pressure on the offensive line, junior quarterback Keller Chryst was exceptional throughout the game, evading defenders and consistently hitting his recievers for key completions.
After halftime, which included a cameo by the Paly Spirit Week floats and dance teams, the Vikings looked determined to put the game away fast.
Chryst connected with Davis and Justin Gates-Mouton for touchdowns on back-to-back drives, and the Vikings extended their lead to 31-14.
The Falcons responded with some offensive firepower of their own, including three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and a spectacular one-handed grab by a Falcon receiver that brought the crowd to its feet. However, the Vikings had already built a comfortably large lead, and the Falcons never posed a real threat.
“They’re a good team, don’t let the scoreboard tell you otherwise,” junior lineman Jack Anderson said. “We let them score a couple of times in the end, but overall I’m proud of our team’s performance.”
The Vikings take the field next against the Mountain View High School Spartans (2-5), 2:45 p.m. next Friday at Mountain View.