As the opponents get bigger, so does the injury list for the Palo Alto High football team – leaving head coach Danny Sullivan wondering when things will again start making sense.
Good news for the Vikings – the preseason is over. Bad news – they lost again, to Aragon, 48-14, on Friday.
“We’ve been getting better, but players keep going down. We had second-string guys in there tonight. They stepped up, but it’s tough,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said Chryst’s injury was to his Achilles tendon. He suffered the injury on Paly’s third offensive play from scrimmage, when he was sacked for a six-yard loss on third-and-13 from his own 32.
It’s been that kind of preseason for the Vikings, who, after giving up 40-plus points to Half Moon Bay (48-7), Mitty (42-6), and Aragon (48-14) in succession, are 0-4.
Those are all top-10 CCS teams, and they are huge on the lines. And the bruising schedule will help Paly in league play.
If they survive.
They’ve already lost Paul Jackson III (hamstring), one of the top running backs on the Peninsula. Other starters are out with less serious injuries.
Still, there are bright spots. Paly was only trailing 21-14 at the half on Friday. That's thanks to scoring hookups between backup quarterback Kyle Mostofizadeh and sophomore Jamir Shepard – the first a 77-yard beauty that brought them within 14-8 late in the first quarter.
Shepard took a slant pass over the middle and outran the defense to the right corner of the end zone on that one. And with 48 seconds remaining in the first half, the two hooked up again for 19 yards – this TD coming when Shepard dragged three players into the end zone to make it 21-14.
Paly running back Aiden Chang also had some great moments, collecting 86 yards on 14 carries with a combination of elusiveness and strength.
But the Vikings couldn’t overcome Aragon’s size on the offensive and defensive lines. The Dons wore out their opponents, rumbling for 230 rushing yards with six TDs.
Paly also lost two fumbles, and six of its first eight running plays went for negative yardage.
The left side of the offensive line, Alex Daw, Andres Jiminez, and Irvin Brown-Alexander showed improvement, especially in the first half.
Defensively, Paly’s Dwayne Trahan at corner, and defensive end Seattle Hmelar (sack for 14-yard loss in the second quarter) stood out.
Elsewhere, there were a handful of positives but not much else as Gunn lost at Andrew Hill, 41-18, Sacred Heart Prep lost at McClymonds. 42-17, and Woodside lost at Christopher, 41-14.
In eight-man football, Priory remains unbeaten after taking down East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, 60-6.