PaliHi Loses to Fairfax, 30-23
“We were so much in control, but we gave away points,” Palisades High football coach Tim Hyde said his team’s home game last Friday night. “We gave up two offensive touchdowns.”
And that made the difference in Pali’s 30-23 loss to Fairfax in the Western League opener for both teams. It was a disappointing outcome because the Dolphins had hoped to avenge last year’s 14-7 upset loss.
Early in the game, Pali handed Fairfax its first touchdown when a pass thrown by quarterback Daniel Hayes was intercepted and taken 65 yards to put the Lions on the scoreboard.
Hayes (5’9”, 175) was pulled and replaced by sophomore Forrest Brock (6’2”, 175 pounds).
Starting from their own 38-yard line, the Dolphins moved the ball down the field until a bad snap, a sack and an incomplete pass brought in punter Tom Meek.
He sent the ball to the Fairfax 8. The Lions advanced to their own 23, but a five-yard penalty sent it back to the 18 and a joint tackle by juniors Syaire Riley, Noah Ghodooshim and Immanuel Newell forced Fairfax to punt.
Newell blocked the punt in the end zone, resulting in a safety, at the start of the second quarter.
Junior Max Palees started a series of runs up the middle that advanced the Dolphins from their own 28 deep into Fairfax territory. Two penalties against Fairfax helped move the ball down to the 7-yard line, and Palees ran it in for the touchdown. Meek’s PAT put Pali ahead, 9-7.
The Dolphins were called for excessive celebration and punished with a 15-yard penalty on the kick-off. Fairfax took over on its own 48 and proceeded to march downfield for a touchdown, taking the lead 13-9 with 3:52 left in the half. The PAT failed.
After kickoff, Pali began its next drive from its own 18, and strong running by Palees moved the ball to the 40. But the Dolphins fumbled, and the Lions recovered on the Pali 40, setting up a field goal and a 16-9 lead at halftime.
The Dolphins kicked off to start the second half and forced Fairfax to punt, thanks to key tackles by senior Will Janney, Ghodooshim, Newell and senior Jack Stansell.
Starting from its own 30, Pali made a first down and then Brock passed to Jack Nadley for 56 yards, down to the Fairfax 2-yard line. Palees scored and Meek’s PAT tied the game at 16-all.
Fairfax responded with a long touchdown drive of its own, moving the ball from its own 24 down to Pali’s 15. Riley made a tackle that caused a fumble, but it was recovered by the Lions. A 13-yard pass into the endzone was good, and the PAT put Fairfax back in the lead, 23-16.
On its next drive, Palisades reached the Fairfax 31, but Brock fumbled the ball and Fairfax recovered. The Lions then marched 62 yards for another touchdown and a PAT, making the score 30-16 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins were forced to punt deep into Fairfax territory, and the Lions mounted another long drive before Riley and Ghodooshim made key tackles and caused the Lions to fumble.
The Dolphins recovered on their own 16-yard line. A personal foul against Fairfax moved the ball to the 32, and Palees ran the ball to the 42. Brock then completed passes to Janney, Nadley and Noah Ghodooshim that moved the ball to the Fairfax 5-yard line.
The Lion defense trapped Brock, who ran backwards and dropped the ball but recovered it on the Fairfax 20. He then passed to Cristian Popescu, who was tackled on the 1-yard line. With a quarterback sneak, Brock scored and Meek’s PAT was good to cut the Fairfax lead to 30-23 with 2:32 left to play.
Fairfax took over but was unable to move the ball and punted to the Dolphins with 1:26 left. Brock completed a short pass to Nadley, but then had two incomplete passes and an interception with 59 seconds left to seal the outcome.
“You had a golden opportunity and you didn’t do it,” Hyde told his players afterwards. “We are a tough football team. It’s been two games in a row where we were a few seconds away from being 6-0.”
The Dolphins started the season 4-0, but then lost to Brentwood, 14-13, before the Fairfax game.
Palees said, “We started out bad and hurt us in the end. We gave up so many points it’s frustrating.”
About Westchester, whom the Dolphins play on the road this Friday Palees said, “We’re super thirsty for a win.”
In other Western League games, Westchester beat University 48-14 and Venice crushed Hamilton 41-0.