Palisades Defeats Westchester 20-6
Palisades High defeated the Comets 20-6 in a “must win” football game for both teams at Westchester last Friday.
“It was a great win, to be on the road and beat a team that was 6-0,” said Pali head coach Tim Hyde. “They’ve scored more than 50 points in three prior games and to hold them to six points was a great job by our defense.”
Westchester had previously scored 35, 56, 51, 48, 58, and 48 points against their opponents. Both teams are now 1-1 in Western League play, while Fairfax and Venice are both 2-0.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Westchester was forced to punt and the Dolphins started at their own 13. They marched methodically down the field and eventually scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Forrest Brock. Tom Meek kicked the PAT.
After Meek’s kickoff went into the endzone, Westchester was again forced to punt, thanks to good tackles by juniors Noah Ghodooshim and Syaire Riley.
Moving from Pali’s 30, Brock used junior Tayari Gloster as his main running back. (Starting the game, Hyde had several key players out with injuries, including leading rusher Max Palees.) Gloster was highly effective dodging through the line to continually gain yardage and first downs.
With eight minutes left in the half, Brock threw an interception, but unfortunately for Westchester, the Dolphins’ defense returned to the field. Riley continued to help stymie the offense, joined by junior guard Joe Huff, senior defensive end Jack Stansell and cornerback Jake Nadley.
Pali took over, but had to punt, and the defense again went to work, with key tackles by Will Janney and Huff forcing the Comets to punt.
Starting on Pali’s 45, Brock’s pass to Janney moved the ball to the Westchester 44. Another pass found Janney on the 35-yard line, and Brock for five yards before throwing a touchdown pass to Jake Nadley. The PAT was good and the half ended 14-0.
Palisades ate up eight minutes of the third quarter with a drive that started on its own 20-yard line. Gloster carried three times for 26 yards, Brock ran the ball to the 50, and Gloster ran five more times. Then Brock passed to senior Cristian Popescu down to the Westchester 7, and Gloster ran the final yards for the touchdown. The PAT was blocked.
With less than three minutes left in the third quarter, the Comets scored their only touchdown and the PAT failed, leaving the Dolphins in control, 20-6.
Pali controlled the ball for about six minutes during another long drive before turning the ball over. Yet once again, Westchester had to punt.
With less than two minutes left, the Dolphins fumbled, and Westchester took over, but was stopped on tackles by Nadley, Riley, Huff, Stansell, Immanuel Newell and Darion Robinson.
According to the Daily Breeze, the Dolphins possessed the ball for 34 (out of 48) minutes of the game, which kept Westchester’s offense off the field, and wore down its defense.
Senior offensive guard TJ Michel said, “It was a little tough coming into this, because it was a tipping point game.” In order to stay in the playoff mix, Pali needed a win following its loss to Fairfax.
Michael, a 305-pound offensive guard, was all smiles when he said, “I pushed the pile [behind Gloster, to score the third touchdown].”
“We felt the pressure,” said Gloster, who ran for 131 yards on 26 carries and was selected the MaxPreps Offensive Palisades Player of the Game. “Everyone did their job. I’m hyped! I’m ready for the next game against Venice.”
Hyde told the players how proud he was of them. “You kept their offense off the field.”
He was asked about players in the game who normally don’t start. “I had about a half-dozen kids out with injuries,” Hyde said. “We had lots of backups that got meaningful playing time and we got a lot of momentum.”
In other Western League games, Fairfax beat Hamilton, 17-3, and Venice crushed University, 42-0.
The Dolphins will travel to Venice Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Another key showdown on the road.