The question Palisades High football fans were asking last Saturday afternoon at the Stadium by the Sea was, “Which team will show up to play Garfield: the one that lost to Venice 36-0 or the team that beat Fairfax 36-6?”
It was the latter: this Dolphin team played with increasing confidence and experience, defeating Garfield 23-0.
Unfortunately, the Covid-abbreviated season ends this Friday night at 6 p.m. at Westchester, when the Dolphins take on their long-time football rival.
About eight minutes into the first quarter last Saturday, Garfield moved the ball from its own 34 into Pali’s red zone. But Dolphin defender Riccardo Abrego (a junior, 5-9 and 215 pounds), stopped the Bulldogs on the three-yard-line.
Two offsetting fouls (holding and facemask) moved the ball back to the five, fourth and goal for Garfield. An incomplete pass gave the Dolphins possession.
Junior quarterback Dylan Hassid handed the ball to junior Daniel Anoh, who gained five yards. On second down, Hassid handed the ball to Isaias Alegria, and as parent James Riley said on Facebook, “He’s running. He’s running. He’s still running!”
Alegria ran 90 yards for the touchdown, and Sebastian Conway-Burt kicked the extra point.
After the kickoff, Garfield was stopped at its own 26 when Trinity Camden (a 6-1, 190-pound junior) sacked the quarterback. A high snap on a planned punt sent the ball into the endzone, giving the Dolphins two points for a safety.
Garfield kicked off and Pali took possession on the Bulldogs’ 46. On second and 15, Hassid handed the ball to Daniel Anoh, who ran 51 yards for a touchdown. Conway-Burt’s PAT was good, and the half ended with Pali leading 16-0.
The third quarter was a defensive effort by both teams.
In the fourth quarter after numerous penalties, Pali juniors Ryan Crayton (6-0, 180 pounds), Jack Babala (6-1, 190 pounds) and Matt Fahn (6-0, 205 pounds) made key tackles to keep Garfield off the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, with about nine minutes left to play, Hassid threw a long pass to wide receiver Xaiver Smith, who took it to the Garfield 25. Brandon Forrest ran for a touchdown and the PAT was good, making the score 23-0.
Garfield threatened at the end of the fourth quarter, moving to Pali’s 14. But standing on the one-yard line, sophomore Amari Yolas intercepted a Bulldog pass and ran it back to the Garfield 40.
A handoff from Hassid to sophomore Christopher Washington gained 10 yards, and another play moved the ball own to the 16, but time ran out.
Both teams lined up on either side of the field and applauded their foes competitive effort.
Pali defender Abrego said afterwards, “It was a good game. You just have to be physical. Physical wins the game.”