After a shortened 2020 football season because of Covid 19 (only four games in the spring), Palisades High opened a new season on Friday with a decisive 39-0 win over Cleveland.
Coach Tim Hyde, who had been Pali’s head coach for eight years, moved to the East Coast over the summer. His defensive coach Chris Hyduke was hired as Hyde’s replacement, and the transition was impressive on opening night – from new coaches to players, plus the excitement of being back on the field.
A bit of history is important. Hyde had played for Hyduke at Redondo High. When Hyduke, a history and psychology teacher, retired in 2015, Hyde asked him to come to Pali to work with the defense.
“Hyde totally rebuilt the program,” Hyduke said in an earlier YouTube interview. “He got it going in the right direction and I just want to keep it going.”
Hyduke added Rocky Montz and Jonah Manheim as offensive coaches, joining Johnny Garcia (offensive line) and Jeremy Read (linebackers and special teams), plus Adam Licea and Sean Brown, the defensive coordinators, who also assist JV Coach Ray Marsden.
Many PaliHi fans may remember Coach Manheim, who played quarterback here five years ago. When the starting quarterback Gabe Galef suffered an injury, Manheim stepped up and played all 12 games in that position as a senior. He went to Indiana University, where he minored in coaching, and now he’s back at his alma mater. He understands the pressures that current quarterback Dylan Hassid is facing. Last spring, Hassid was shoved into the role when Pali’s QB transferred to Birmingham.
Manheim’s brother, Toby, is a junior on the team, playing linebacker. Their mom, Lisa, is president of the Quarterback Club. When CTN saw her on the field at the game on Friday, she laughed and said, “It’s been nine years – but that’s what happens when you have three boys.”
With the coaching in place, it was up to the players Friday night, and they didn’t disappoint. They came out on the field with speed, pass completions, interceptions and tackles that put the game in overdrive.
This year’s captains are seniors Daniel Anoh, Jack Babala, Richard Abrego and Nicholas Raddon.
From the beginning, the Dolphins were impressive and played like they knew what they were doing.
Junior Marcus Brown returned the opening kickoff from Pali’s 40 down to Cleveland’s. A quick pass from senior QB Hassid (6’1”, 190 pounds), to sophomore Kwazi Estes put the ball on the three yard line, Anoh gained two yards and then Hassid kept the ball and scored.
The PAT was no good. After years of long-kickers and dependable punters, that is an area for Pali to iron out.
About two minutes later, senior Johnny Babala (6-3, 180) intercepted a Cleveland pass near the Palisades 45. A pass from Hassid to Toby Manheim put the ball on the Cleveland 18. After a holding penalty nullified a good run by Anoh, Hassid passed to senior Moses Ross down to the 10 and sophomore Josh Russell ran for touchdown. Sophomore A. J. Schultz made the PAT and the score was 13-0.
The Palisades defense kicked in, with key tackles by senior Victor Mindel (6-1, 180) and brothers Jack and Johnny Babala forcing a punt. Despite several holding penalties, the Dolphins managed to move downfield to their own 11 yard line. Hassid had a nice run and completed two passes to Toby Manheim (6-1, 190) before connecting with senior Xavier Smith for a touchdown. The PAT was no good and Pali led 19-0 early in the second quarter.
The Cleveland quarterback was intercepted by junior Marcus Brown, but the Dolphins were forced to punt, only for Cleveland to lose the ball on a fumble at the Pali 28.
Anoh (5’10”, 172 pounds) ran for 17 yards, and two plays later Hassid completed a 40-yard pass to Estes down to the 4. Anoh scored from there and a QB sneak added two points, making the score 27-0.
The Dolphins added another touchdown with about five minutes left in the half, driving 97 yards behind sophomore quarterback Sammy Silva. Anoh ran the final yard for the six points and a 33-0 lead at halftime.
Cleveland started the second half with the ball, but a pass interception by Victor Mindel gave the Dolphins possession at their own 46. Their final TD drive culminated with Anoh running 26 yards for his third touchdown.
After the game Hyduke kept it simple. “Good opener,” he told players. “Nice job. My only complaint is we had too many penalties. In a close game it could have hurt us.”
Next up is the 7 p.m. home game against San Fernando on August 27. The JV play at 4 p.m.