The Palisades High football team travels to the San Fernando Valley to renew its rivalry with Granada Hills on Friday and the Dolphins want nothing more than to keep their winning streak alive in the annual grudge game between the City Section’s first two charter schools.
“This is another road game against a West Valley team in the early season heat,” Pali High Coach Tim Hyde said. “It’s another week for us to keep working on preparing for the Western League but this game is huge to us because it’s a trophy game. Our only goal this week is to take a team photo afterwards hoisting that trophy up in the air. We love playing this game!”
Palisades routed Granada Hills by 39 points last season—the largest margin of victory by either team in Charter Bowl history—but the Highlanders return quarterback Ernesto Guevara, who threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns against the Dolphins as a sophomore two years ago.
Hyde had high praise for the Granada Hills signal caller: “He’s a third-year starting QB who has caused us havoc over the last two years and he’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve coached against.”
Granada Hills has started 0-2 under its second-year head coach Walter Roby, losing 42-8 to Oxnard and 68-8 to Grace Brethren of Simi Valley.
Palisades, meanwhile is trying to open the season 3-0 for the first time since 1997 when the Dolphins finished 10-2 and lost to Taft in the quarterfinals of the 4A playoffs under Ron Price.
Friday’s meeting marks the 12th edition of the Charter Bowl, which has been played every year since 2006 when the Highlanders won the inaugural matchup, 10-3. Palisades leads 7-4 overall, including five straight victories by an average margin of 19.4 points.
Since taking over the Palisades program in 2013, Hyde has never lost to Granada Hills and he wants to keep it that way.
“It’s another step to get to where we want to be at the end,” he said. “You want to keep improving.”
The Palisades-Granada Hills rivalry dates back to long before the Charter Bowl was established. The first and most memorable meeting in 1977 pitted future Super Bowl winning quarterbacks John Elway and Jay Schroeder against each other in one of the most exciting postseason games in City history. The Highlanders prevailed 28-27 when Elway connected with receiver Scott Marshall on a 28-yard pass to clinch the victory on the seventh play of an eight-play California tiebreaker. One person who remembers it vividly is Pali High line coach Larry Palmer, then the starting left tackle for Granada Hills.
“I was a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior when John was a junior–I protected his blind side,” Palmer recalled. “Our line coach was Leo Castro (Pali High head coach from 2004-06). Small world, huh?”
The schools met in the quarterfinals again the next year and Granada Hills prevailed, 31-12.
The JV game kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday and varsity follows at 7.