By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Game by game, quarter by quarter, snap by snap, quarterback Jake Nadley has matured into a confident leader for the Palisades High junior varsity football team.
His command of the huddle was evident throughout Friday afternoon’s Western League game at Westchester, in which he threw two touchdown passes and engineered two long fourth-quarter drives that salted away the Dolphins’ 23-20 triumph.
After a sluggish first quarter, Nadley rolled to his right and fired a bullet to the corner of the end zone from 15 yards out. Noah Ghodooshim stretched out to grab the ball with his left hand and pulled it into his body as he landed inbounds for the first points of the game. Tommy Meek added the extra point and Palisades led 7-0 early in the second quarter.
A turnover gave Westchester the ball deep in Palisades territory and quarterback Jeliun Carter snuck across the goal line to cut the Comets’ deficit to 7-6.
On third-and-10 at Westchester’ 25-yard line, Nadley threw to tight end Jack O’Rourke for a touchdown and Meek tacked on a 32-yard field goal later in the third quarter to increase the Dolphins’ lead to 16-6.
“On the play to Noah I scrambled and he made a great play,” Nadley said. “Coach called the play to Jack, I out it where it had to be and Jack did the rest.”
Carter connected with Marquis Ashley for a 45-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to pull Westchester within 16-14, but the Dolphins answered with an 11-play, 66-yard drive capped by a two-yard run by Max Palees. Meek again kicked the extra point to make it a two-score game.
Carter found Ashley again for a 67-yard touchdown with 3:20 left but the two-point try failed.
Palisades (6-3 overall, 3-1 in league) got it back and proceeded to run the ball–and seconds off the clock–forcing the Comets to expend their timeouts. Palees scampered 20 yards before being shoved out of bounds inside the 5-yard line, giving the Dolphins a fresh set of downs, and Nadley took a knee on the next play to run off the final 20 seconds.
During the week, Coach Ray Marsden had his team practice on the baseball field to get acclimated to natural grass and made sure the Dolphins weren’t overlooking the Comets with archrival Venice up next.
“It was a potential trap game and we came out flat in the first half,” Marsden said. “The secondary fell asleep a couple times, which made it closer than it should’ve been. Having a kicker at this level is key and Tommy was huge today on field goals and kickoffs.”
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