By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
It had been 511 days since the Palisades High football team had played a real game and the rust showed last Friday night at Venice.
Sure, the Dolphins had won three of the last four meetings against their Western League archrivals, including a 38-14 throttling in their last encounter at Stadium by the Sea, but the squad that took the field for the opener of its shortened spring season bore little resemblance to the one in 2019 that reeled off nine consecutive victories en route to its first outright league title in 32 years.
“What made us successful is our offseason program and we haven’t been able to implement that at all,” head coach Tim Hyde said. “We had more sophomores starting today than seniors. We’re using these four games as a mini-camp because all of these kids will be back next fall.”
All but a few seniors opted not to play this season, including several of the Dolphins’ best linemen, and to make matters worse returning quarterback Forrest Brock transferred to City champion Birmingham.
When the clock ran out, the scoreboard at Venice’s new stadium read: Home 36, Visitors 0. It was the second time in Hyde’s eight years at the helm that the Dolphins got shut out. The other was their 2016 season opener when Sierra Canyon blanked them by the same score.
“We’re extremely young on both sides of the ball and we played like it,” Hyde said. “As the game wore on it was about making plays and we didn’t make any. We had opportunities to put points on the board on offense and stop them on defense. We have to watch the film and get ready for the next one.”
Dylan Hassid was named Offensive Player of the Year as the quarterback on JV in 2019, but the junior struggled in his first varsity start.
Venice quarterback Sam Vaulton, a transfer from Tennessee, threw for four touchdowns and ran for one. The Gondos led 20-0 at halftime.
Palisades hosts Fairfax on Friday at 6 p.m.
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