In past years, the football team has gone seasons without winning, with the junior varsity division barely scoring points in the entire season. But this year, something changed: the Titans are off to a great start to the season, currently 4-1 overall, the best they have done since 2002.
Last year, the Titans began making minor strides towards improvement. In 2017, the team went 1-5 in the league. During varsity coach Jason Miller’s first year, 2018, the team went 2-4 in league play and 4-6 overall, a major improvement from past years. Miller came from Compton High School, which bred his competitive spirit. “[Coach Miller] shows that he actually cares about the team and the program, which is another thing that coaches in the past haven’t expressed,” senior Aiden Everett said. “He’s also told us that he’s done this exact same thing with four different high schools in his career where they went like 1-9 the year before and the next year they go undefeated. He knows how to turn around programs.”
Miller attributes their recent winning streak to the team’s hard- working attitude. “The kids are more comfortable with the system, putting a lot of hard work in the offseason and becoming students of the game. Their hard work drove the improvement,” he said. Senior Leo Ye believes their success is due to increased attendance to summer workouts. “Everyone has a championship mentality and we work like a champion every day. It’s all about the offseason workouts,” Ye said. “Everyone’s been showing up, and they’re hungry and want us to win every game.”
The attitude at the practices has also shifted. “It’s been a quick turnaround in the numbers of people that were coming out to play football and the commitment level,” Everett said. The Titans have seen dramatic strides from many players. “Jack Delleanbach has improved in his ability to tackle,” Miller said. “Cory Hallada has come out and made a ton of strides. Everyone has really improved a lot.” Hallada is second in the league in rushing yards with 124 yards per game. Senior Eitan Smolyar, who averages 132 yards per game, is first.
Right now, the Titans are playing in the El Camino League and have yet to face tough opponents like Saratoga.“The strongest team in our league is considered to be Saratoga,” Miller said. “They scored more points than us, they are a passing team and they are very sophisticated,” Miller said. According to Miller, the team’s goal is to put themselves in a position to play Paly. However, in order for that to happen, the Titans need to win in the El Camino League. “We want to show the school and the city that there is another football team in Palo Alto,” Everett said.