Pali High Football in Playoff Mode

Palisades High’s varsity  football team can write another chapter in a storybook season Friday night when it travels to Eagle Rock for its first-ever City Section Open Division quarterfinal game.

This is the third straight season the Dolphins have reached the City quarterfinals, having lost 13-10 to San Pedro in 2016 and 42-28 to Dorsey in 2017, both in Division I.   

If the Dolphins upset the No. 2-seeded Eagles they will advance to their first playoff semifinal since losing to Gardena 46-20 in the Invitational Division in 1999 under former coach Ron Price. The last time Palisades made the final four in the City’s upper division (originally called 4A) was in 1976 when it fell to Cleveland 28-21—the Dolphins’ lone defeat that season.

Jack Stansell and the defense are allowing just 8.8 points per game.

Palisades has allowed only 88 points—the fewest in program history in a 10-game regular season.  The defense will be tested by one of the highest-scoring teams in the City, averaging 54 points per game led by senior quarterback Nathan Corrales (1,684 yards passing, 20 TDs; 641 yards rushing, nine TDs). However, the Eagles are also stout defensively, giving up a paltry 73 points in nine games.

“They’ve scored 50+ points seven times and their defense has the fastest front seven we’ve seen,” Pali High Coach Tim Hyde said.

The seventh-seeded Dolphins (8-2) tied Fairfax atop the Western League while Eagle Rock (9-0) is  the Northern League champion.

The teams have met only once before and Palisades beat the host Eagles 28-21 in Week 2 in 2000.

The teams have two common foes. The Dolphins blanked South Gate 24-0 but lost to Fairfax 30-23 while the Eagles beat South Gate 50-14 and topped Fairfax 37-20, their closest margin all season.

Palisades junior Max Palees is ranked sixth in rushing in Division I, averaging 121.6 yards per game.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Rock High.