Palo Alto takes care of business in win over Carlmont

Palo Alto's Bryon Escarsega-Calderon puts a stop to things. Photo by Karen Ambrose Hickey.

After the dust had cleared from a hard-fought 34-24 win over Carlmont, Palo Alto coach Nelson Gifford was paraphrasing the Rolling Stones.

“You don’t always get what you want,’’ Gifford said. “But we got what we needed.’’

Palo Alto (3-1) led throughout and looked in control at 14-0, 21-7 and 27-10. But Carlmont (2-2) rallied with two third-quarter touchdowns and turned the game into a battle.

With the score 27-24, Palo Alto took over on its own 29 at the start of the fourth quarter needing to score in order to regain momentum. The Paly offense, which was mostly terrific all game, was up to the task.

Josh Butler ran for 15 yards and a first down. On fourth and one the team’s short-yardage personnel package entered the game -- Kevin Cullen at quarterback, Creighton Morgenfeld at tailback and the Passarello twin brothers “Passarello left and Passarello right,” Lou and Joey, at blocking back.

Morgenfeld ran for 7 yards and a first down.

Butler picked up another 7 yards on first down, but a penalty and a fumbled snap made it third-and-19. That’s when Danny Peters threw it high and Jamir Shepard went up above the double coverage that was shadowing him all game and made a leaping catch for a 20-yard completion and a first down.

“That’s why Jamir is who he is,’’ Gifford said of the Fresno State-bound receiver.

On the next play Peters hit Colin Giffen for 24 yards and a first down at the 5. The short-yardage package entered again and Cullen scored on a 2-yard run to provide some breathing room.

After blowout wins over Overfelt (47-8) and Pioneer (48-0), Palo Alto needed a competitive game to get ready for the start of league play. Paly hosts defending league and state champion Wilcox next Friday, and Wilcox will be coming off a near upset off East Bay power Pittsburg. The Chargers led 31-14 before losing on a Pittsburg score in the final minute, 35-31.

“It’s going to be a battle,’’ Gifford said. “It’s going to be fun.’’

It was another impressive performance by Peters and Butler, the sophomore tandem at quarterback and running back. Peters completed 16 of 20 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Butler carried 13 times for 145 and scored one touchdown on a 58-yard run.

Carlmont did everything it could to take away Shepard and he finished with just two catches for 26 yards. But that left Giffen with single coverage and he had a huge game with eight catches for 155 yards and the team’s first touchdown, a 38-yard catch-and-run in which he spun away from multiple would-be tacklers.

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