SAN JOSE, Calif.
- With their second Central Coast Section Open Division championship firmly in hand following a 21-14 win over third seed Valley Christian, the Palo Alto Vikings are eyeing a return to the CIF Bowl Game championships.
The Vikings played in the first Division II CIF Bowl Game five seasons ago, falling to Orange Lutheran 42-28. Now, Palo Alto has a shot at earning the Division I NorCal bid – a fact not lost on Viking quarterback Christoph Bono.
"We will just wait and see who we will play," said Bono, who completed 13 of 16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. "Hopefully we will have two good weeks of practice and just leave it all out on the field."
Bono and company knocked off a top-seeded Valley Christian team with three big plays, two touchdown passes by Bono and a long touchdown run by B.J. Boyd.
Palo Alto (13-0) opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bono to Maurice Williams. The Viking receiver beat Valley Christian cornerback Byron Marshall on a fade route to the corner of the end zone. Bono added the extra point and Palo Alto took the 7-0 lead with 3:11 left in the period.
Valley Christian (11-2) began the second half with a 70-yard drive that ate up seven minutes on the clock only to stall at the Palo Alto 23.
The Vikings took over on downs and quickly expanded the lead to 14-0. Bono found Williams in the right flat and Williams did the rest. Shaking off a pair of Warrior defenders, Williams raced down the sideline 78 yards for the touchdown.
Palo Alto then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Vikings were unable to take advantage of the turnover when Bono was sacked at midfield on fourth down.
Marshall did most of the damage on Valley Christian's next drive as he had receptions of 14 and 7 yards and also broke off a 17-yard run before scoring from the 8-yard line on a run up the middle.
However Palo Alto quickly retaliated. Boyd, who gained 114 yards on 11 carries on the night, tentatively ran to the line, found a hole and sprinted 66 yards for a touchdown. Bono's kick with 8:38 remaining in the game put Palo Alto up 21-7.
The Warriors advanced to the Palo Alto 22, but an interception in the end zone ended the drive. The Vikings ate up most of the rest of the fourth quarter by marching 67 yards before missing on a field goal attempt from the 28.
Valley Christian was able to drive 80 yards in the final minute, scoring on a 1-yard run by Jarrod Lawson with 20 seconds remaining.