Palisades High crushed visiting Hamilton on Friday night, 38-0, to retain its one-game lead in the Western League. The Dolphins (4-0) must go on the road and beat Fairfax (3-1) this Friday to win the league title outright.
The Stadium by the Sea was packed for homecoming and senior night last Friday, and the Dolphins gave the crowd many reasons to cheer.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Hamilton offense hit the wall against a Pali defense that hadn’t been scored upon in six straight quarters. Linebackers Syaire Riley and Noah Ghodooshim helped force a punt, one of many by Hamilton during the game.
Starting at the Pali 40, quarterback Forest Brock handed off twice to Max Palees, and then Kenny Cline broke loose for a 47-yard run to Hamilton’s two. He scored on the next play and Tommy Meek kicked the extra point.
The Yankees were once again forced to punt and the Dolphins took possession on their 47 and took the ball to the 32 yard line.
Meek’s long field goal was good.
On the kickoff, Hamilton returned it to the 25, only to suffer an interception by Ghodooshim, who ran 16 yards for a touchdown. The PAT by Meek was good and the score was 17-0.
Once again Hamilton was unable to move the ball and a punt return put the Dolphins on the Yankees’ 27. Brock’s 18-yard pass to Teddy Suisman moved the ball to the 2, and Cline carried it in for the TD. Meek’s PAT was good.
Following yet another Hamilton punt, Brock drove the Dolphins 75 yards with passes to Manheim and Palees, runs by Palees and Cline, and then a two-yard pass to Manheim for the touchdown. The PAT made the score 31-0 at halftime.
The Dolphins got their final touchdown at the beginning of the third quarter after Brandon Forrest returned the kickoff to the Palisades 48. The key play was a 24-yard pass to Suisman, followed by a 13-yard TD pass to Palees.
You could count on one hand the number of first downs that Hamilton managed during this game.
“Growth has been the key,” said Pali’s defense coordinator Chris Hyduke. He had a lot of underclassman who, “at the beginning of the season, weren’t sure of their ability. But they gained confidence and they got better and better.
“They played a lot and that was the key,” he said. “It was all part of the components we needed to be successful.”
Hyduke said his kids were athletic, and just needed time to absorb the skills they needed, especially on the offensive line.
Ghodooshim explained how he intercepted the pass in the second quarter. “I came out of the box, read the bubble, ran down the line and got there, and then took the ball home.” He was credited with four solo tackles and four assists, while his fellow linebacker Riley had two solos and nine assists.
“Sy and I have played together for a couple of years,” Ghodooshim said. “We have great chemistry.”
Head Coach Tim Hyde said, “We’ve played 10 straight shut-out quarters.” He hopes his Dolphins that keep the streak going against Fairfax on Friday as they strive to win the title and gain a home game in the City’s eight-team Open Division playoffs.
Currently, Banning is ranked fourth, Palisades fifth and Garfield sixth. “We’re all within one point of each other,” Hyde said. Narbonne, which has won five consecutive City Section championships, is ranked first.