By Bonta Hill
Hours before his first ever varsity game, Galileo Academy sophomore quarterback Kyle Nelson was a nervous wreck in class.
Down 15-6 to Mills High School of Millbrae midway through the second quarter, watching his teammate, fellow sophomore Ronzel Fox, leave the game due to an unspecified injury, Nelson was forced to grow up in a hurry.
And did he ever, leading the Lions to 22 unanswered points en route to a 28-15 victory over Mills in the season opener for both teams.
After starting the game passing 1-for-10 along with an intentional grounding penalty that resulted in a safety, Nelson finished 17-for-34 with 164 yards passing and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
“I started out terrible,” Nelson said. “We lost our best player, but [assistant] coach Don [Harris] told me to calm down and relax. We stepped up.”
On the other sideline, the Vikings (0-1) blamed themselves after the game. The Vikings were penalized 13 times, three that resulted in automatic first downs for Galileo (1-0), and couldn’t generate anything on offense after taking a 15-6 lead.
“We just killed ourselves,” said Mills head coach Packy Moss. “We had a lot of penalties and we couldn’t sustain drives. Really just shot ourselves in the foot.”
After Mills quarterback Weyland Quan connected with running back Sira Casper for a 45-yard touchdown, the Galileo faithful got a huge scare when Fox staggered, then collapsed to the field before an offensive snap.
Fox ran for 61 yards and a touchdown on five carries and delivered several highlight-reel downfield blocks, but was not allowed to return to the game by referees.
But the Lions rallied without their leader and five plays later Nelson hooked up with Liam Ford, who was open in the right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nelson, also the teams kicker, executed a perfectly placed onside kick and the Lions quickly capitalized on the gift.
In their newly installed spread offense, Nelson moved Galileo to the 10-yard line, where he connected with Sebestian Brezeale for a touchdown.
“One completion, quick easy throws, and we got some energy going and scored some touchdowns,” Nelson said. “We’ve got some good receivers on this team and we can win with this spread offense.”
Galileo head coach Mark Huynh was equally impressed with his team, noting how young his team is, a roster that only boasts seven seniors.
“I’m really pleased with how we rallied back today. Kyle made some good reads and the offensive line held up. That was good to see,” Huynh said.
M: 8:50 — Jephta Zapata 11-yard pass from Weyland Quan (Anthony Vozaites kick good)
G: 7:30 — Ronzel Fox 42-yard run (Kick failed)
M: 7:56 — Safety on Galileo intentional grounding in end zone
M: 5:46 — Sira Casper 45-yard pass from Quan (Kick failed)
G: 4:44 — Liam Ford 18-yard pass from Kyle Nelson (Nelson run on conversion)
G: 3:53 — Sebastian Brezeale 10-yard pass from Nelson (Dontell Jackson pass from Nelson on conversion)
G: 0:46 — Nelson three yard run (Kick failed)