Football recap: Vikings conclude season with 52-35 blowout loss to Serra

Edward Mei and Neal Biswas

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Quarterback Keller Chryst throws a pass downfield in Paly’s CCS playoffs loss to Junipero Serra High School on Friday night. Photo by Matt Ersted.

The Palo Alto High School Vikings (8-3) season came to an end as they fell to the Serra High School Padres (9-2) 52-35 on a rainy Friday night in the opening round of the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs.

Paly could not keep pace with Serra’s run-oriented offense in what turned out to be a high scoring affair. Junior quarterback Keller Chryst led the way for the Vikings with two touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns, but the Paly defense had no answer to the Padres’ star senior running back Eric Redwood.

Redwood, who came in averaging 141 rushing yards and a little over two touchdowns a game according to MaxPreps, had an incredible performance with four rushing touchdowns.

The teams traded blows in an exciting first half that went back and forth, but the Padres pulled away in the third quarter behind Redwood.

The Vikings opened up the first quarter with a quick 14-6 lead after capitalizing on a Padres’ muffed punt return. However, Redwood responded with two touchdowns of his own and the game was tied, 28 apiece, at halftime.

In the second half, the Padres struck first with a booming 44-yard field goal, and they never looked back. Serra went on to score three unanswered touchdowns that put the game away for good.

Suffocating defense, as well, was a big factor in stifling the Viking offense. The Padres held their own on key third downs, forcing the Vikings to punt and stopping any form of momentum. Serra didn’t allow a second-half score until Chrsyt ran in a touchdown with just under a minute left in the game.

This was expected to be a difficult first round CCS game for the Vikings, who came in as the No. 4 seed matched up against the No. 5 Serra squad, a member of the West Catholic Athletic League. Serra will advance to face No. 1 seed Bellarmine next week.

Paly finished off the season with a respectable 8-3 record. Although the Vikings failed to advance in CCS, they still managed to capture another SCVAL De Anza League title. Despite the loss, Chryst was positive about the outcome of the game and the Vikings season.

“I’m proud of the way we played tonight, we just couldn’t get the win,” Chryst said. “I’m proud of the way we worked, the guys worked hard all week, the guys worked hard all season, it was a great season with the team.”