Sacred Heart Prep-Palma football

Game of the Week
Friday's game
Palma (0-2) vs. Sacred Heart Prep (0-2) at MPC, 7:30 p.m.
 No one saw this coming.
 Two of the elite teams in the Central Coast Section both winless after two games.
 "We were 0-3 a couple of years ago and pulled out of it,'' Palma coach Jeff Carnazzo said. "We are going to continue to play teams that will challenge us and make us better in the end."
 For the second straight week, the Chieftains are playing a state finalist from last fall as they will host Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton Friday at Monterey Peninsula College.
 Palma moved the game to MPC because its regular home Rabobank is unavailable and Scared Heart could not play the game on Saturday.
 "We have played what I believe are two of the better teams in Northern California,'' Carnazzo said. "That being said, we're 0-2. No one likes to be 0-2." 
 Dating back to last year's Open Division III semifinal playoff loss to Riordan, Palma has dropped three straight games.
 After being humbled in giving up 52 points in a season opening loss at Sutter, the Chieftains held defending state DIII finalist St. Francis to two points until the final two minutes in an 8-7 loss.
 "I've never been prouder of a team after a loss,'' Carnazzo said. "We held arguably the best team in the CCS to a late fourth quarter touchdown.''
 Which was helped by a critical turnover in the fourth quarter.
 "We played inspired football,'' Carnazzo said. "But we still have some things to clean up. We got better last week. Now can we take another step forward? We have to."
 The Gators are searching for their own identity, having been outscored 49-15 in their first two losses, which included a 30-12 setback to San Benito.
 Of course, Sacred Heart Prep is no strangers to slow starts, dropping two of its first three games last year, including a 31-28 loss to Palma, before going 10-1 and playing for a state title.
 "We have to stop their ground game,'' Carnazzo said.
 The Gators run the fly offense, an attack Palma once ran in the 1980's and 1990's. Last year they had two running backs rush for over 1,000 yards.
 "Even though we ran it years ago, it's not easy to defend,'' Carnazzo said. "You just don't see it run very much any more.''
 Palma has ridden the legs of tailback Emilio Martinez, who has 300 plus yards in two games. Last week the senior went over 100 yards in the first half, but was bottled up in the second half.
 "We have to get things going in our passing game,'' Carnazzo said. "We have to generate 150 yards or so throwing the ball. You can't be one dimensional."
 Part of Palma struggles through the air is the transitional process in breaking in a new quarterback this fall.
 "That and we've played two great defenses,'' Carnazzo said.

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