The Palma High football team was sent to the Central Coast Section Open Division for a second consecutive year, and it once again was unable to get a win.
The Chieftains were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by Archbishop Mitty of San Jose 28-0 on Friday night at Rabobank Stadium.
After the game, Palma coach Jeff Carnazzo put the season in perspective, saying how proud he was of the team overcoming an 0-3 start. The team finished the season 7-4.
“We knew what we were up against tonight,” Carnazzo said. “If you get to the Open, that means you’re one of the eight best teams, and I’m glad to be included in that. But it was a tough game.”
A year ago, Palma celebrated a Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division title only to get ousted by St. Ignatius in a big way just a week later. Friday night felt a little bit like deja vu.
The Chieftains came into Friday’s game with the 2013 division title and a seven-game winning streak. But it couldn’t muster a score.
Mitty, the residents of the West Catholic Athletic League, quickly took a footing on the new turf.
The Monarchs took a 7-0 lead with 6:03 to go in the first quarter on a 25-yard touchdown run by Trevor Lewis. This came immediately after Palma fumbled on rushing attempt up the middle.
Palma went 21 yards on five plays before punting it back to Mitty.
Mitty then found gold again, going 54 yards on seven plays capped off by a Trent Scharrenberg one-yard run to give the visitors a 14-0 lead. The big play came before Scharrenberg’s run, when he threw a rocket to Tommy Hudson, who nearly fell into the end zone after catching it over a Palma defender.
Palma found some tempo with 8:45 to go in the second quarter. It started at its 20 and went 12 plays. And it was a myriad of players moving the ball. Christopher Vargas was among the running backs carrying the ball, and Mitchell Kidd found time to throw it to Vargas, Dominic Fusanotti and Brian Banuelos.
But on the 12th play of the drive, with Palma at Mitty’s 11-yard line, Mitty’s Drew Mount intercepted a pass.
Mitty was at its 8-yard line with 2:52 to go and just one time out. Time was not a problem.
Four plays and 66 seconds later, Mitty went ahead 21-0. The capper of the drive was a 27-yard pass from Scharrenberg to Jose Manzo.
Palma had four first downs in the second half.
Three plays into the fourth quarter, Mitty stared at a third down at its own 31-yard line. It didn’t get the first down, as Zachary Zender tipped the pass and then corralled it in for an interception, getting Palma to the Mitty 21-yard line to start a new drive.
“That was a positive for us. It got us going a little bit,” Carnazzo said.
Six offensive plays later, Palma was at Mitty’s 2-yard line facing a fourth down and one. It went for it. It didn’t get it. Mitty defenders engulfed a rush attempt at the center of the field.
Palma later got to Mitty’s 19-yard line before another drive stopped.
Palma came into the game without the services of running back Brandon Olivares, who came into the game with 313 carries for 1,656 yards on the season.
Vargas had 52 yards rushing on 17 carries. Kidd had 106 yards passing.
Carnazzo said he told his team to stay positive following the game.
“We had a great season, but we ran into a good team,” coach said. “I want to let them know to don’t let football be their only shining moment. Football is hard, but life is harder.”
With the win, Mitty becomes the fifth different team to win a game at Rabobank Stadium. It snapped an eight-game winning streak by the Rabobank Stadium home teams, be it Palma or North Salinas.
The Monarchs advance to the semifinals, where it will play fellow WCAL mainstay Valley Christian in one week at Independence High in San Jose. Valley Christian defeated previously unbeaten and top-seeded Terra Nova 26-7.