2013 Football Preview: Chryst and strong senior crew aim high

Becca Raffel and Jared Schwartz

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A motivated team, led by Stanford-bound quarterback Keller Chryst, begins its quest for a successful year as the 2013  football season kicks off in the coming weeks.

Despite previous successes with earning a league title and entering into the Central Coast Section playoffs, the 2012 Palo Alto High School football team concluded its season with a disappointing loss to Serra High School in the first round of CCS playoffs. However, coming into the 2013 season, many players agree that this year’s squad is even better than last year’s.

“We just need to take every practice and game at a time and get better every day,” Chryst said.

Chryst himself has worked on his footwork in the off-season, and will continue to do so, he said.

“I’ve gotten a little quicker and lighter on my feet,” Chryst said.

Last year, Chryst put up phenomenal stats, throwing for nearly 2,500 yards to go with 28 touchdowns, according to Maxpreps.com.  This year, he expects to be even more successful.

One of Chryst’s targets, senior wide receiver Tully McCallister, hopes to be a big contributor this season.

“I’ve been in the weight room and on the field all summer working out and preparing myself for the season,” McCallister said. “My goal is to help our team win every game this year.”

 Senior left tackle Jack Anderson expects this hard work will pay off as well.

“My goal for the team is to win state, and I expect nothing less,” Anderson said. “This is a special group we’ve got this year and I think expecting anything less than the best would be unreasonable for the talent that we have.”

Senior wide receiver Keesean Johnson shares Anderson’s goal, but also expressed the need for some of the younger players to step up their game for the team to have a chance to win Paly’s second state championship, its first since 2011.

“The goal is to win the last game of the season,” Johnson said. “We just have a lot of sophomores who are going to need to step up.”

While Chryst acknowledges the youth in some parts of the roster, he is not worried about a young team.

“We are definitely younger and less experienced in some areas but [there are] guys like Malcolm [Davis],[Andrew] Frick and myself who have been on varsity for three years and can lead the team,” Chryst said.

Even if they aren’t the most experienced group, McCallister sees the Vikings as having a leg up on opponents.

“I expect us to work harder than any other team on our schedule,” McCallister said.

The  2013 season will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13 with a game against San Benito High School at Paly’s Hod Ray Field.