Saratoga beats Palo Alto, earns spot in CCS

November 17, 2014 — by Michelle Leung, Arjun Ramanathan and Devin Zhao

The Falcons beat the Palo Alto Vikings 41-33 on Nov. 14, securing a coveted spot in the CCS playoffs — a feat they last accomplished two years ago. 

The Falcons beat the Palo Alto Vikings 41-33 on Nov. 14, securing a coveted spot in the CCS playoffs — a feat they last accomplished two years ago. Their first Division III CCS game is against Pioneer tonight at Pioneer High.

Against the Vikings, senior wide receiver Joey Medeiros had three touchdowns, senior running back Ken Wu had two rushing touchdowns and junior wide receiver Vinny Faylor had one. Sophomore quarterback Will Liddle completed 14 of 24 passes for 259 yards.

After a series of turnovers in the crucial first quarter by both Saratoga and Palo Alto, Medeiros scored the first touchdown. The defense held the Vikings to only one touchdown and offense was able to score another touchdown, with two extra points added by senior kicker Robby Gragnola.

After a disheartening Hail Mary touchdown that the Vikings scored on the final play of the first half, Palo Alto tied the score 14-14.

“During the second half, [our] defense had three huge stops inside the 10-yard line,” senior linebacker Alex Hansen said, “but we brought in a new defense that worked really well and was able to stop them.”

One of the highlights of the game was Faylor's 92-yard touchdown reception during the final quarter that beat his brother alumnus Grant Faylor's record 89-yard touchdown. Senior defensive end and tight end Andrew Ferguson said the touchdown “basically sealed the deal for us.”

According to Hansen, the final Saratoga record-setting receiving touchdown caught by Faylor “shut down Paly morale and we were able to finish them off and win the game.”

“Our coaches and captains did a really good job of leading the team to compete and prove [to] people that we can play and compete with the teams in our league,” said senior Alvin Kim, who played with an injured knee. “I think it’s huge for any team to reach playoffs because it shows that you can play with other high caliber teams in your league.”

The crucial Palo Alto game was important because it cemented the Falcons’ position in the playoffs.

“Palo Alto is a very good team and we knew that, but we knew the better team was going to come out and get the win,” Kim said. “Our team did a great job of competing and finishing strong in the second half.”

The sizable crowd braving cold weather to support classmates and cheer on fellow Falcons also helped motivate the football team, said Kim.

Making CCS this year is a sign of great games to come in the following seasons as well, especially because six sophomores were pulled up to the varsity team this year, which doesn’t usually happen, said Wu.

“Usually freshmen and sophomores are on JV and juniors and seniors are on varsity,” Wu said, “but if coaches think you can help the varsity team they bring up the sophomores and have them play in the varsity level.”

While the CCS games will not be easy matches, Wu thinks that the Falcons have a good chance of winning their first game. According to Wu, the Falcons are a team with genuine heart.

“I think [CCS] will be a battle because the team we are playing is very similar to us,” Wu said. “The offense they run [is very similar to ours].”

Rather than prove an obstacle, however, the Falcons’ underdog status motivates them. Kim hopes that the team will be able to extend their season.

“We're usually not bigger than the teams we face, so as underdogs, we're trying to prove a point,” Kim said. “On every sports team you're representing the name on the front of the jersey, and we're hoping to make our school proud and [go] as far as we can.”

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