Sophomore quarterback Sammy Silvia passed for 309 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Palisades High football team routed Westchester 41-14 last Friday night.
The Dolphins went 10-0 this season, won the Western League title and will now enter the City Section Open Division playoffs as the third-seeded team, hosting South Gate (8-1) on November 12 at 4 p.m.
This was PaliHi’s first undefeated season since 1976 and counting the three games they played in the shortened spring season, they have won 13 straight.
Senior Eli Ghodooshim told Facebook James after the win that “it was the greatest feeling to go 10-0.” And added, “But our job’s not done yet, we still have three more wins to get.” Pali has never won a City open division football championship.
For the first time this season, the Dolphins had trouble scoring their first touchdown, which came late in the first quarter. After taking over on downs at their own 13, they drove downfield behind the running of senior Daniel Anoh and sophomore Josh Russell before Silvia connected with senior Moses Ross for the touchdown from 20 yards out.
Giovani Ferrero kicked the first of his five PATS, and later had two field goals.
Following the kickoff, Westchester was forced to punt, and Amari Yolas returned the ball 16 yards to the Comets’ 20. On the second play, Silvia passed to sophomore Kwazi Estes for the TD..
On Westchester’s next possession, Jack Babala recovered a fumble on the Comets’ 20, but the Dolphins couldn’t move the ball and Ferrero was called in to kick the first of his two field goals.
After Westchester finally scored, the Dolphins responded with an electrifying play as Silvia passed to Ross and he completed an 83-yard TD play.
Just before half, the Comets had possession but suffered another unfortunate event when a pass bounced out of a player’s hand and another player grabbed it, only to fumble it away. Yolas picked it up and ran it into the endzone from the Westchester 35.
The halftime score was 31 to 6.
With about five minutes left in the third quarter, Ferrero kicked his second field goal as heavy fog started rolling across the field, making it difficult to see players.
Silvia passed to Russell for Pali’s final touchdown, finishing with 16 completions in 32 attempts. Estes had five catches for 65 yards and Ross five catches for 90 yards, completing the season with 992 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The team’s breakaway runner, senior Daniel Anoh, was held to just 43 yards in eight carries, finishing the season with 1,276 yards. Russell ran for 49 yards on 14 carries.
On defense, Victor Mindel, Toby Manheim and Jack Babala each had four solo tackles, while Johnny Babala and Trinity Camden each had three.
Pali Head coach Chris Hyduke said afterward, “It was a wild affair, they always play us tough.” He complimented the Westchester head coach, “He always does a good job.” The Comets finished the season with a 2-7 record.
Hyduke also had nothing but compliments for his team. “It was wonderful,” he said, noting that the Dolphins “knuckled down and took care of business.”
In the upcoming playoffs, top-seeded Banning plays Garfield, Lincoln (4) plays Birmingham (5), and San Pedro (2) plays Roosevelt (7), with the winner of this game playing the Palisades-South Gate winner.