The Palisades High varsity football team was right where it wanted to be heading into the final 12 minutes of Friday night’s intersectional game against Santa Monica. The Dolphins were one touchdown away from tying the game and had momentum on their side, but the Vikings held on for a 15-7 victory in the 29th meeting between the schools.
“It was all about us and competing, we gave it everything we’ve got and we kept battling,” Pali High Coach Tim Hyde said. “We held Santa Monica to 15 points. You tell me that every year and I’ll take it.”
Santa Monica had won the previous 1o games in the rivalry by an average of four touchdowns, but it was clear from the opening series this would be no runaway. It was tied 0-0 after the first quarter and Palisades threatened to score first, driving to the Vikings’ 14-yard line before an interception by Isaac De La Rosa. Santa Monica led 7-0 at halftime thanks to a 19-yard scoring run by Zachary Cooper with just over four minutes left in the second quarter.
Cooper’s three-yard scoring run capped Santa Monica’s first possession of the second half and holder Genki Yoshida ran for the two-point conversion after a low snap prevented kicker Jordan Golden from attempting the extra point. Cooper had 151 yards in 29 carries and Deon Hoard added 77 yards in 11 carries for the Vikings (1-1), who attempted three passes and won despite being penalized 15 times for 145 yards.
Quarterback P.J. Hurst completed five of 11 passes for 96 yards and ran for the Dolphins’ only touchdown midway through the third quarter two plays after he connected with Quincy Cowherd on a 37-yard pass play to Santa Monica’s 2-yard line. Palisades drove deep into Vikings territory late in the fourth quarter but Yoshida sacked Hurst on fourth down and Santa Monica proceeded to run out the clock.
Brad Boorstin ran for 41 yards in 14 carries and Desmond Box added 30 yards in 14 carries for the Dolphins (1-1), who play undefeated Canoga Park in their home opener next Friday at Stadium by the Sea.
“We should’ve won this game — it was more mental mistakes than anything but we played our hearts out,” Box said. “Samo beat us this whole decade so we really wanted to win, but now we have to move on to the next game.”
Lofton Mason had 7.5 tackles and one sack, Mario Lofton had seven tackles, Kenny Jones had 6.5 tackles, E.B. Odeh had six tackles (one for a loss) and Josh Garcia had 4.5 tackles for the Dolphins, who played without starting safety Duane McBroom (bruised knee). Linebacker Alec Simpson was sidelined with a sprained ankle on the first play of the second half.
“I’m extremely proud of my kids,” Hyde said. “They’re slowly starting to believe in themselves and understand we can play good football this year. We went for it on some fourth downs, we mixed it up, we stayed aggressive. We want to be known as a hard-nosed football team.”
— Steve Galluzzo
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