It was 10 years ago today that the Palisades High varsity football team hosted Lincoln in the first round of the City Section Division II playoffs. The Dolphins had gone 5-5 in the regular season, finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the Western League under new coach Perry Jones. Lincoln traveled to Stadium by the Sea with a 9-1 record, having finished second in the Northern League. The contest marked the Dolphins’ first home playoff game since a 42-14 City Invitational loss to Marshall in 2006. The 10th-seeded Tigers blitzed to a 21-6 halftime lead behind junior quarterback Brandon Lopez and senior running back Carlos Duran. Jones gave his players a spirited talk in the locker room and Palisades looked like a different team after intermission. The seventh-seeded Dolphins pulled even by the end of the third quarter, then they tacked on a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to prevail, 43-28, despite only one pass completion, a three-yard toss from Kevin Mann to Alex Anastasi. Palisades won its first postseason game since 1999 and did most of its damage on the ground. Colorado-bound tailback Malcolm Creer averaged 18.25 yards per carry, rushing eight times for 146 yards and three touchdowns while fellow senior Hakeem Jawanza added 134 yards and two touchdowns in only 10 carries. Senior linebacker Victor Garcia provided a spark on defense by returning a fumble 48 yards for a score. “We had to make some adjustments defensively at halftime,” Jones said. “On offense we simply didn’t have the ball enough and they were smart to use up most of the clock. This was a character win for us because we played a good team. But now it’s on to the next one.” In the second round Palisades upset second-seeded Poly, 50-40, but its season came to an end with a 35-28 loss to sixth-seeded Chatsworth in the semifinals. Still, Palisades had enjoyed its first winning season since going 8-3 in 2000. Creer, also a guard on the basketball team, ended the 2010 campaign with 1,270 yards rushing and 21 total touchdowns. He won the Post Cup Award as Pali High’s outstanding senior athlete.
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