Vikings remain confident despite recent adversity

Josh Yuen, Author

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The Palo Alto High School football team (1-4, 0-1) will look to build off of a productive bye week as it receives another chance at a second victory on the season this Friday against Monta Vista High School (1-4, 0-2).

The Vikings, ever since a season-opening victory on the road at Sequoia, have lost four straight games, including their first three home contests. During the team’s most recent game, a 20-19 loss against the Wilcox Chargers (4-1, 2-0), senior running back and captain Jayshawn Puckett exited early after suffering an apparent ankle injury during the third quarter. According to junior wide receiver Eli Givens, Puckett and several other hampered Vikings received some well-needed rest during the bye week.

Junior wide receiver Oliver Svirsky catches a pass in front of a Wilcox defender during a 20-19 loss. Photo by Josh Yuen.

Junior wide receiver Oliver Svirsky catches a pass in front of a Wilcox defender during a 20-19 loss. Photo by Josh Yuen.

“Last week we just took things a little slowly and it gave some of our players time to heal from injuries,” Givens said. “The attitude from the team is that we’re going to Monta Vista and going to get the job done: make plays, score touchdowns and come home with a win.”

The Wilcox game was a solid bounce back performance, especially from the team’s defense. After surrendering a total of 123 points in three games following the win at Sequoia, the Vikings defense held a tough Wilcox offense scoreless in the second half, forcing three fumbles. Despite falling short on the scoreboard, head coach Jake Halas is proud of the way his team competed hard at home after suffering back-to-back-to-back blow-out losses.

“I’m proud that our boys gave the student body a show,” Halas said after the game. “They deserve it. They come out every game and fill out their section, and I’m glad we put a show on for them.”

As for this week, Halas was grateful for a bye week that provided rest and the opportunity to improve on overall technique in preparation for Friday’s showdown of struggling teams.

“We practiced on getting better, just technique,” Halas said. “We got some of our guys healthy and are getting ready for Monta Vista. We expect to go in there and take care of business. Their record is identical to ours, but we need to go in there and dominate.”

The Vikings and Matadors kick off at 7 p.m. this Friday at Monta Vista.