Dolphins Avenge Last Year’s Loss to South Gate with 24-0 Shutout to Remain Undefeated
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
As defensive coordinator Chris Hyduke strolled to midfield for the postgame handshake with the final seconds ticking off the clock last Friday evening, several players snuck up behind him and poured a bucket of ice water over his head—a reward for dialing up the right defense at the right time.
“Hats off to Coach Hyduke and the defense,” Palisades High football coach Tim Hyde said after the Dolphins’ impressive 24-0 triumph over visiting South Gate. “I’ve known him since 1986, he’s been my right-hand man on ‘D’ anyway but this year I said I’m going to let you handle it and he’s done an outstanding job.”
It was Palisades’ second shutout this season and sixth in Hyde’s six seasons. The Dolphins have outscored the opposition 112-21 and at 4-0 are off to their best start since 1997 when they won their first five games under then head coach Ron Price.
“We got embarrassed last year at their place—we’ve never blown a lead like that before,” Hyde said, referring to a 32-31 loss at South Gate in which Palisades squandered a 17-point lead in the third quarter. “This was a big test against a good Division I team and the kids played with so much effort, so much heart. It’s huge because we have the tiebreaker. If we see them again in the playoffs we know it’ll be here.”
The Rams (2-2) tried a squib kick to start the game, but Jared LaViolette made them pay with a 34-yard return to South Gate’s 33.
The Dolphins needed seven plays to reach the end zone, the last a six-yard run by Max Palees, who amassed a career-best 151 yards in 16 carries.
After forcing a punt on South Gate’s first possession, Palisades got the ball back at its own 31 and drove inside the Rams’ 10 before settling for a 25-yard field goal by Tommy Meek to make it 10-0.
After an interception by Pali High quarterback Daniel Hayes, only his second of the season, put the Rams in Palisades territory, they drove 41 yards in 10 plays before Jake Nadley intercepted a pass at the goal line right before halftime. His fourth takeaway of the season couldn’t have come at a better time.
“This means so much to us, it was a redemption game,” said tight end/linebacker Noah Ghodooshim, who had six tackles on defense, including a sack. “It proved who we are. Momentum can swing so fast! Last year we had a big cushion and they took it away from us. We have great chemistry and we’re all super close to each other. I love playing with my brothers every Friday night.”
Early in the third quarter South Gate threatened again but safety Will Janney intercepted an underthrown pass at Palisades’ 10 and returned it 34 yards.
Beginning late in the third quarter and extending into the fourth, Palisades put the game out of reach, burning six minutes off the clock with a 14-play, 91-march capped by Hayes’ two-yard keeper.
Janney jumped high in the air to pick off a throw by Rams quarterback Andrew Gallego and sprinted 33 yards for the Dolphins’ final touchdown with 8:05 left. It marked Janney’s fourth interception this year. He had four interceptions and 68 tackles in 12 games to earn All-City honors as a junior last fall.
“Our DBs… Xavier [Whitfield], Jake [Nadley] and I are all returning starters and we know what to do,” Janney said. “I read the route and I was waiting for my first pick six this year. I give the credit to my teammates who blocked for me.”
Hayes connected on seven of 10 throws for 69 yards, upping his season total to 503 yards with four touchdowns.He has also rushed for five scores.
Adam Cravens gained 71 yards in eight carries, Nadley had four receptions for 31 yards, Janney had two catches for 24 yards and Cristian Popescu caught one pass for 14 yards. End Immanuel Newell and linebacker Sy Riley each had eight tackles.
“I’m speechless—the kids played their tails off for 48 minutes tonight,” Hyde said. “All the guys we lost… I truly feel like it’s my first year again. We have a young team and a brand new staff, but it goes back to January. We have a bunch of kids who enjoy playing together, who want the ball. There’s a lot of football left but we’ve put ourselves in a good spot.”
Hyduke was both the defensive coordinator and Hyde’s position coach when he played at Redondo Union. Upon retiring from teaching, Hyduke joined the Dolphins’ staff in 2015 and Hyde is thrilled to have his mentor coaching alongside him.