High school football: Palo Alto uses big-play passing game to knock off Leland

With some big-name former quarterbacks helping as coaches, 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 prevailed over Leland’s clock-controlling power ground attack on Friday.

Declan Packer completed nine passes for 273 yards, 174 of which went to Jason Auzenne, as visiting Palo Alto won 38-20 at Pat Tillman Stadium.

Over two games this season, Packer has thrown for over 400 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Having Andrew Luck and Christoph Bono on the coaching staff helps.

Luck, a former Stanford and Indianapolis Colts quarterback, primarily works with the Palo Alto freshman team during the week. Of course, passing on information 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.”

Bono, the son of former 49ers quarterback Steve Bono, led Paly to the state championship in 2010. He’s the hands-on varsity quarterback coach, and he gave Packer a thorough tutorial session before the game.

The dynamic connection between Packer and Auzenne worked out quite well.

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

Leland responded with a 76-yard, nine-play drive on the ground, with Jacob Gibson scoring on a 1-yard run to tie the game.

Palo Alto quickly regained control after Auzenne returned the subsequent kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.

“Special teams is probably one of the most important parts of practice,” Auzenne says. “We work on it as a group.” “I noticed the chasm.”

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

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

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

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 cut the deficit to 24-20.

The Vikings, on the other hand, responded with a 76-yard drive that ended with another big play, a 42-yard touchdown pass from Packer to Jeremiah Fung. That gave them a two-score lead, which they extended after Anthony Mendoza recovered a fumble and Isaiah Walker scored on a 2-yard run.

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

“Second week in a row, we were able to run the ball a lot,” Leland coach Kelly King Jr. said. “The line performed admirably and created some openings.” There is definitely something positive to take away from this.”

Giving up the big play was simply too much to bear.

“Their playmakers made plays,” according to King. “Our goal was to run the ball and keep it away from them, which we accomplished.” Going into the fourth quarter, the score was 24-20. “In the end, it just got away from us.”

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