PaliHi Football Loses Season Opener

Palisades junior quarterback Forrest Brock throws a pass against Cleveland in the first quarter.

To Cleveland, 28-25, in a Non-League Match

Last year, Palisades High dominated Cleveland, 27-0,  but as Head Coach Tim Hyde said before this season’s rematch, “It’s exciting to get to build a whole new team every year.”

The Dolphins fell to the Cavaliers, 28-25, in their season opener last Friday on the road. This gave Hyde a good look at where his coaching staff needs to focus before this Thursday’s game at Taft and before Western League play begins on October 4 against Westchester.

PaliHi was flat-footed defensively and unprepared for Cleveland’s wing-T offense. The Cavaliers ran the ball almost every play, with only about three passes by their quarterback.

A parent familiar with football said that Oklahoma and Nebraska used to run the wing-T offense in the 1960s. “We [Pali] didn’t have any defense for it,” he said, “because we didn’t practice for it.”

The way the Cleveland offense lined up made it difficult for Pali’s defense to see who had the ball and react. Unable to contain Cleveland’s fast running backs, the Dolphins fought to keep up.

Pali’s Tommy Meek kicked off into the end zone and Cleveland started on the 20. After only a few plays, Karieum Muhammad ran for a touchdown. The PAT was not good.

With junior Forrest Brock at quarterback, the Dolphins were unable to move the ball and Meek came into punt. Thanks to several key tackles by Pali senior Syaire Riley, Cleveland had to punt.

Brock handed off to senior running back Max Palees, who ran it down the field. Next, senior Tayari Glouster ran for a first down. Nine plays later, Brock went back to Palees, who scored the touchdown. Meek made the PAT and Pali led 7-6.

Despite key tackles by Riley and sophomore Ricardo Abrego, the Dolphins were unable to keep the Cavaliers from scoring a second touchdown (plus a two-point conversion).

The second quarter saw a lively offense with Brock connecting with senior Eli Manheim on a completed pass to and then another good run by Palees. But the forward progress was stymied, and Meek came in to kick a 20-yard field goal, making the score 14-10 at halftime.

Starting the second half, Cleveland did an off-side kick and recovered on the Palisades 40. They ran the ball down the field, gaining first downs, even as senior Noah Ghodooshim, Riley and Gage McCloskey all made tackles to stop the progression. The Cavaliers scored to take a 21-10 lead.

After Pali received the kickoff, Brock was able to connect with Manheim on a 46-yard touchdown pass, and the PAT by Meek cut the Cleveland lead to 21-17.

Just like that, the Dolphins were back in the game, or so it seemed, but Muhammad returned the kickoff for 99 yards for a touchdown and the PAT was good.

With 9:40 left in the fourth quarter, Pali held Cleveland on downs and took possession. The Dolphins benefitted from a penalty and Brock, in rapid succession, handed off to junior Brandon Forrest for a first down, then to Glouster, then to Palees, and finally to Glouster, who scored from 15 yards out.

The Dolphins made a two-point conversion to come within three points of Cleveland with six minutes left. Unfortunately, that was it for the Pali offense. The Cavaliers kept possession of the ball and ran out the clock.

If you want to watch the Dolphins, but are unable to travel,  parent James Riley live streams the games on the Pali High Football Facebook site, visit: https://www.facebook.com/paliquarterbackclub/.

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