Now 6-0 this season, the Palisades High Dolphins routed arch-rival Venice last Friday night, 33-13, to open Western League play.
Sophomore quarterback Sammy Silvia, starting only his second varsity game, completed three touchdowns passes to senior Moses Ross, and senior Daniel Anoh ran for 176 yards on just 15 carries as Pali dominated the Gondoliers offensively and defensively.
The Dolphins didn’t waste any time, playing for the first time in the renovated Venice stadium that features new bleachers, new lights, an all-weather track, and a grass field.
After Pali’s Joshua King returned the opening kickoff 10 yards to the 25, Silvia hit Ross with a pass at the 40 and he sprinted into the endzone for a 75-yard TD. Senior Giovanni Ferrero kicked the PAT.
Ferrero’s kickoff went into the endzone, and Venice started on its own 20-yard line. Pali’s defense kicked in and key tackles by seniors Ricardo Abrego, Jack Babala, Josiah Christopher and Liam Herrera and juniors Savyour Riley, Toby Manheim, Christopher Washington and Amari Yolas made it difficult for Venice to get a first down – which was true throughout the game. Sacks by seniors Trinity Camden and Liam Herrera prevented Venice quarterback Paul Kessler from moving the ball.
Venice punted and the Dolphins worked the ball downfield, with Ferrero kicking a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
After Venice again had to punt, the Dolphins started on their own 48. After a five-yard gain by Anoh, Silvia connected once again with Ross, who completed a 47-yard TD play. Ferrero’s PAT was good.
With four minutes left in the half, Venice punted, and Pali started a long drive at its own 14. This time, starting at the Venice 35, Ross made a beautiful catch over his shoulder and scored his third touchdown of the game. He finished the night with 7 catches for 162 yards.
The PAT was blocked, and the Dolphins led at halftime, 23-0.
Venice’s first touchdown was a gift from the Pali offense late in the third quarter. Following a Venice punt, the Dolphins took possession at its own 13. A bad snap from center went over Silvia’s head and into the endzone, and Venice recovered for the TD. The PAT was good.
After the kickoff, the Dolphins worked their way down the field until stalling at the Venice 6. Ferrero was called in to kick his second field goal as the fourth quarter started.
The Gondoliers scored their final touchdown with about five minutes left to play, and Pali’s Amari Yolas blocked the PAT.
Starting at the Palisades 25, Silvia handed the ball to Anoh, who ran the length of the field to score Pali’s final TD. Ferrero’s PAT was good.
Silvia replaced starting quarterback Dylan Hassid after the senior broke his leg at the end of the Reseda game on September 10.
Head coach Chris Hyduke had been rotating Silvia in the first four games when Pali had large leads. So, the sophomore had some varsity experience before he started against Brentwood and passed for 108 yards in Pali’s 42-24 victory.
Silvia looked solid on the field against Venice. “I take my hat off to him,” Hyduke said. “He made big strides tonight.” The sophomore completed 18 of 29 passes for 301 yards.
The coach noted that Silvia is only 5’11” and 155 pounds and should enjoy some solid growth over the next two years.
Overall, Hyduke said, “I’m pleased with the way they played.” He said he was frustrated by “stupid” penalties that in a tight game could cost a victory. He told his players, “Those are going to hurt us.”
Next up, the Dolphins host University at 7 p.m. this Friday. The Warriors were crushed by Hamilton, 56-13, in their league opener last week.
Currently, Palisades is ranked third in the L.A. City Section. Banning is first following its 48-41 victory over second-ranked San Pedro last Friday.
PaliHi’s JV team beat Venice 29-0.