May 30, 2024
Palo Alto quarterback Declan Parker threw for 273 yards on just nine completions to lead the Vikings over the Chargers.

SAN JOSE — Palo Alto’s big-play passing game got the best of Leland’s clock-controlling power ground attack Friday.

Declan Packer completed only nine passes, but for 273 yards — 174 of it to Jason Auzenne —  as visiting Palo Alto came away with a 38-20 victory at Pat Tillman Stadium.

Packer has thrown for over 400 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions over two games this season. It doesn’t hurt having Andrew Luck and Christoph Bono on the coaching staff.

Luck, the former Stanford and Indianapolis Colts star, works mostly during the week with the freshman team at Palo Alto. But of course, passing along tips to Packer is a no-brainer.

“It’s pretty cool having a former first-round NFL draft pick helping me out,” Packer said. “He’s taught me a lot.”

Palo Alto’s Jason Auzenne(2) scores an 86-yard kickoff return touch down during the 1st half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Bono, the son of former 49ers quarterback Steve Bono, was Paly’s quarterback on its 2010 state championship team. He’s the hands-on varsity QB coach and gave Packer an extensive tutorial session before the game.

Worked out pretty well, especially the dynamic connection between Packer and Auzenne.

On the opening possession of the game they connected on a 71-yard completion on a third-and-nine play, setting up Packer’s 2-yard touchdown run.

Leland responded with a 76-yard, nine-play drive, all but one play on the ground, with Jacob Gibson scoring on a 1-yard run to bring the Chargers even.

Leland’s Diego Vasquez(25) is dragged down by Palo Alto’s Isaiah Walker(23) during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Auzenne returned the subsequent kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, to quickly regain control for Palo Alto.

“Special teams is probably one of the most important parts of practice,” Auzenne said. “We work on it as a team. I saw the gap.”

Palo Alto (2-0) took over on its own 2 after a Leland punt and scored on a 67-yard pass from Packer to Auzenne. By halftime Packer had completed four passes, all to Auzenne, for 167 yards.

“You just can’t cover him,” Packer said. “I’ve been playing football with him since first grade.”

“We’ve made an agreement to get me 1,000 receiving yards this season,” Auzenne said.

Palo Alto’s Jason Auzenne(2) looks over his should after scoring a touchdown during the 1st half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Trailing 24-13 at halftime, Leland took the second-half kickoff and marched 72 yards in 12 plays, 11 on the ground, and scored on a 1-yard run by Diego Vasquez to draw to within 24-20.

But the Vikings responded with a 76-yard drive of their own that concluded on another big play, a 42-yard touchdown pass from Packer to Jeremiah Fung. That made it a two-score lead and they added on after a fumble recovery by Anthony Mendoza, with Isaiah Walker scoring on a 2-yard run.

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Vasquez rushed for 106 yards for Leland (1-1) on 14 carries. Chayse Swenson had 105 yards, 97 in the first half, on 13 carries.

“Second week in a row we were able to run the ball a lot,” Leland coach Kelly King Jr. said. “The line played well and opened some holes. Definitely a positive to take out of this.”

Giving up the big play was just too much to overcome.

“Their playmakers made plays,” King said. “We wanted to run the ball and keep it away from them, which we did. It was 24-20 going to the fourth quarter. It just got away from us at the end.”

Palo Alto’s Declan Packer(4) hands the ball to Palo Alto’s Jeremiah Madrigal(19) during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Leland’s Jacob Gibson(3) prepares to throw during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. Palo Alto beat Leland 38-20.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Palo Alto’s Beau Revenaugh(12) fights to catch the ball during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Leland’s Wyatt Markos(1) celebrates after Leland’s Diego Vasquez(25) scores a touchdown during the 1st half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Palo Alto’s Joseph Kessler(22) celebrates his big play during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Leland’s Diego Vasquez(25) runs for yardage during the 1st half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Palo Alto’s Isaiah Walker(23) scores a touchdown during the 2nd half of the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Palo Alto players celebrate after defeating Leland at the Palo Alto at Leland high school football game on Friday, September 1, 2023, in San Jose, Calif. Palo Alto beat Leland 38-20.(Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

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