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CHS faces Palma in football game for the ages


Published: Dec. 2, 2011

THE HIGH-Flying Carmel High School football team takes on Salinas powerhouse Palma School Saturday at Monterey Peninsula College for the Central Coast Section Division IV championship.

With anticipation building for the big game, Carmel Mayor Sue McCloud and Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue met in Devendorf Park Thursday, where they traded friendly barbs and challenged each other to make a wager on the game.

If Palma loses, McCloud suggested that Donohue dress up as Carmel High’s mascot, “Padre Bob,” at the next Salinas City Council meeting.
Instead of asking McCloud, a Carmel High graduate, what she would be willing to do if the Padres lose, Donohue upped the ante.

“We are prepared, in the event that the unthinkable happens and Palma doesn’t prevail, to fly the Carmel High flag at Salinas City Hall — below, the American flag, which will be flown at half mast,” joked Donohue, who was flanked by the school’s honorary bagpiper.

And to commemorate Salinas Valley’s reputation as “The Salad Bowl of America,” Donohue said he’s also willing to toss in a salad — for every Carmel resident.

After the summit in the park, McCloud was asked what Carmel is willing to give up if the Padres lose Saturday.

“Mayor Donohue needs to come up with a suggestion,” said McCloud, who was sporting a 1957 CHS letterman’s sweater and accompanied by several Carmel High cheerleaders. “We came up with ‘Padre Bob.’ The onus is on him.”

It was pointed out to McCloud that the bet was never finalized. “In typical political fashion, a lot is unclear,” she slyly added.

While McCloud played coy, Camille Kolles, the outgoing executive director of the Bach Festival, offered up a prize for the winning team: a chance to hear its school song played by at next year’s Bach Festival.

To get to the title game, Carmel High (12-0) used a fourth quarter surge last Friday to knock Monte Vista Christian School (10-2) out of the playoffs. The game was played at Pacific Grove High School.

Monte Vista Christian, which is located in Watsonville, jumped out to a lead when quarterback Taylor Cohan hit Austin Daich for a 78-yard touchdown just 12 seconds into the game. The Mustangs made the 2-point conversion as well.

The Padres quickly battled back. Capping an 11-play drive, quarterback Devin Pearson threw the first of his three touchdown passes on the night, and a see-saw battle began.

Coming into the final quarter, Carmel High held a 31-21 lead. Not ready to surrender, the Mustangs offense reached the end zone twice in the fourth period, but the Padres kicked their offense into overdrive and put an astonishing 28 points on the scoreboard to seal the win and advance to the title game.

Against a solid Monte Vista Christian team, Pearson had one of the most impressive games of his memorable Carmel High career. In addition to throwing for three scores, he ran for three touchdowns. The Mission Trail Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player, Pearson gained 201 yards in the air and 138 yards on the ground.

In 2009, the Padres won their first Central Coast Section Division IV crown by defeating Menlo School 56-35. Last year, Carmel High lost to Scared Heart School of Atherton, 39-32, in the championship game.

Against Palma (10-1-1) — which they haven’t faced since 1997 — the Padres will have their hands full. The Chieftains easily dispatched their opponent in the semi-final game, Sacred Heart School, 34-7. Since 1989, Palma has won 10 CCS titles.

“It will take our best performance of the year,” said CHS head coach Golden Anderson of his team’s chances. “This is the time of year when all the teams are playing extremely well. It will come down to which team executes better over 48 minutes.”

The game was originally scheduled in Pacific Grove High’s recently renovated stadium but was moved to MPC’s 4,000-seat stadium to accommodate a larger crowd. Advance tickets are sold out, but some will be sold at the gate.

The game starts at 7 p.m.