Palisades High School Football team defeated the Narbonne Gauchos 45-36 in the Division I semi-final game on November 18 at the Stadium by the Sea.
“I put my heart in this,” said PaliHi senior and captain Savyour Riley.
With that win, the Dolphins, who were the third seed, will enter the championship game against the top-seeded Granada Hills at Valley College on November 26.
Long-time Palisades sports editor Steve Gallazzo said that in the school’s history, the team has only made it into the championships three times, including this year, and has never won a title. He told players on the field after the game, “Pali has never won a title, you can make history.”
After the game head coach Chris Hyduke said, “They prepared like crazy, won and earned another game.
“It gives seniors a chance to win another game,” he said.
“If you had told me at the beginning of the year, we’d be here. . .” Hyduke said and reflected that when the season started players were young and there were few returning with varsity experience.
“They were so young,” Hyduke said, and admitted, he thought they might go 5-5 for the season.
The Dolphins were 10-3 for the season and 4-1 in League.
Annually Pali plays on Granada in the Charter Bowl, but because of field issues at Granada, that game didn’t happen this year.
Now the two will face off for the Division I title. On paper, they are evenly matched with Granada 10-2 for the season and 4-1 in the West Valley League. Hyduke said that if his players can stay “laser focused, it should be a good game.”
The first score of the semifinal game came at the end of the first quarter, when quarterback Roman La Scala took it from the Narbonne one yard line in for the score. Junior Kellan Ford kicked the first of his six PATs. He also kicked a field goal from the 15-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Two back-to-back penalties (30 yards) against Pali, helped Narbornne score their first touchdown early in the second quarter. The PAT was no good.
With six minutes left in the half, Narbonne scored its second touchdown and passed for the two-point conversion. At the end of the half, they were up 14-7.
It was a high scoring third quarter for Palisades. The team scored four touchdowns. Narbonne had one.
Gauchos fumbled on a fourth down, Pali took over on the 10 yard line. A short pass from La Scala to Amari Yolas was the first of three touchdowns by Yolas.
Chris Washington picked up the second touchdown of the quarter taking a short pass from La Scala at the Narbonne 3-yard-line.
When the Gauchos were unable to move the ball, they attempted to punt, which was blocked by Pali’s Riley and Pali took over.
La Scala threw a pass from the Narbonne 37 and Yolas took it in for a touchdown. On the return kickoff, Narbonne scored, but the PAT was not good.
In a spectacular 78-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, Yolas scored. The third quarter ended 35-20.
Pali’s final touchdown was made by senior Anthony Lieberman, who ran it in early in the fourth quarter from the Gaucho’s five-yard line.
Dolphin seniors Eric Daniels and Nikolas Brown were both credited with a sack. Sophomore Jake Treibatch led the team with four solo tackles and nine assists. Junior Matthew Spoonamore had six solo tackles and five assists and Riley had five solo and three assists.