Dolphins Win, 21-13, and Now Prepare for League Play
Last year, the Palisades High football team lost to Brentwood, 14-13, after leading 13-0 with just four minutes to play.
On Friday night, PaliHi Coach Tim Hyde and his players were looking for revenge and they got it, winning 21-13.
Brentwood scored first on its second possession as quarterback Cole Lourd led his team on a 92-yard drive in seven plays, featuring three spectacular passes. The PAT was good.
After receiving the kickoff, Pali had some good runs by senior Max Palees and Kenny Cline, but the Dolphins were forced to punt.
Pali defensive players Andy Lopez, Xavier Whitfield, Syaire Riley, Waka White and Immanuel Newell stopped Brentwood’s momentum, and an interception by Jared La Violette then gave the Dolphins possession with less than two minutes left in half.
With 38 seconds left, Tommy Meek kicked a 30-yard field goal to cut Brentwood’s lead to 7-3 at halftime.
The Dolphins received the second half kickoff and moved the ball to Brentwood’s 24 behind runs by Palees and completed passes to Teddy Suisman and Noah Ghodooshim. Once again Meek was called in for a field goal attempt, from the 34-yard line, to make the score 7-6.
Meek, as he usually does, kicked off into the endzone and Brentwood had to start from its own 20-yard line. The Pali defense forced a punt and the offense started on Pali’s 30. An eight-yard gain with Palees and then a 10-yard run by quarterback Forrest Brock helped put the ball on the Eagles’ 35. A quick pass to Palees and then four quick handoffs to the senior took Palees into the endzone and a touchdown. A crucial two-point conversion run by Palees put the Dolphins up 14-7.
Starting once again on his own 20, Lourd systematically drove Brentwood downfield to a touchdown in eight plays. But Pali blocked the PAT and held a 14-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
With less than eight minutes left, a strong Brentwood punt forced Pali to start on its 1-yard-line. Slowly, the Dolphins moved up the field, eating up the clock with first downs behind the running of Palees and Cline.
With less than two minutes left, Cline broke loose for a 20-yard touchdown run, and Meek’s PAT kick was good, giving the Dolphins a 21-13 lead.
But as Coach Tim Hyde said after the game, “That was war, they [Brentwood] let him score.” The reason: Brentwood needed to gain possession and the only way they were going to do it, with so little time left, was to force a kickoff.
The Eagles returned Meek’s kick out to the 30, and a completed pass by Lourd moved the ball to the Palisades 46.
Could the Dolphins hold on and avoid overtime?
A run and then another pass took Brentwood to the 29 with just 34 seconds left, but then the defense held and Lourd threw three straight incomplete passes. With 9 seconds left, Pali took over on downs.
Meek’s two first-half field goals were crucial, keeping Palisades in the game before it’s offense could produce two touchdowns.
“This game was personal,” Meek said, noting last year’s loss. “It felt great.” On one of the field goal attempts, he gave credit to Eli Manheim, the ball holder. “It was a bad snap, but Eli did a good job of holding.”
Meek was asked how it feels to go in with the pressure. “I don’t think about it,” he said. “It’s all about the reps [in practice].”
Hyde said a non-league game like this is fun, but he knew it was going to be a challenge because private schools have a different mentality. “They [kids] are high achievers, have high goals and have aspirations,” he said, meaning that this game would be a fight from the start. “We’ve had two great games with these guys [Brentwood] and the kids played their butts off.”
“It’s on to league now,” Hyde said. Western League action starts on October 4, when the Dolphins (4-1) host perennial rival Westchester (4-1) at 7 p.m.