Keller Chryst is no ordinary sophomore. Not in stature, confidence, or ability. Only his face looks 15. The 6’3” 215 lb. transfer from Weddington High School in Matthews, North Carolina has taken over the reins of the Palo Alto Vikings’ offense after the , who now plays football at UCLA. His athleticism is obvious, his arm strength is apparent, and his size speaks for itself.
“[When I first saw him] I thought we had a potentially very good athlete coming to Palo Alto High School,” Palo Alto Head Coach Earl Hansen said. “He’s not afraid to do what it takes to be a good football player.”
Chryst threw for two touchdowns en route to a victory over the San Benito Haybalers in his first start as a Viking on Sept. 2. In his short time at Palo Alto, Chryst has had to adjust to Hansen’s West Coast offense, learn a new playbook, and establish connections with his receivers, teammates he has never played with before this year.
“He put in the work during the summer, going to passing leagues and learning the offense,” senior lineman Tory Prati said. “He’s a quick learner and he’s adapted well to the offense.”
Chryst and his family moved out to California when his father, Geep, received an offer to be the quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers. After leaving North Carolina in April, Chryst and his two siblings finished up their school years in Palo Alto while their family set up a new life in the Bay Area.
“I’m pretty much comfortable here,” Chryst said. “It’s great weather, no humidity – better than North Carolina. Palo Alto’s a lot different than my old school though.”
He attended the football team’s spring practices in May, and following a summer of weights, conditioning, and practicing his drops, he’s come into the fall focused and ready to play.
“He’s definitely very focused,” senior linebacker Brennan Miller said. “He has good attention to detail, which is really important as a quarterback.”
Thanks to the returners from last year’s state championship squad, Chryst has not had to take over all of Bono’s leadership duties. With three starting lineman rejoining the Vikings’ offensive huddle this year, Chryst should have strong protection this season. And with the dynamic running back duo of seniors B.J. Boyd and Dre Hill hoarding the attention of opposing defensive coordinators, the sophomore gunslinger could manage to fly under the radar.
“He really works hard,” Hansen said. “He’s somebody who really wants to improve his game.”
Work ethic and discipline will separate him from the competition, but time is his greatest asset. He may tower over his fellow underclassmen and fill out shoulder pads like a college quarterback, but he has yet to receive his driver’s license or go to Prom. Rome wasn’t built in two weeks, but everyone dreams of the finished product.
“Everyone sees the huge potential he has and his ability to learn,” Prati said. “We have a lot of confidence in him.”