The Malibu High School Sharks scored a stunning victory Friday, holding onto a razor-thin lead to upset the heavily favored Chadwick Dolphins 19-18. The win assured the Sharks (6-1) of their first-ever winning season and extended their winning streak to six games.
Chadwick (6-1) opened the game with a strong drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to their all-purpose offensive threat Chris Kim. Trailing 6-0, the Sharks had trouble getting on track offensively despite strong first-quarter rushing efforts by the trio of Miles Edman (160 yards), Andrew Heric (154 yards) and Matt Nechak (51 yards).
After the Shark’s first drive stalled, punter Matt Hale pinned the Dolphins at their own 3-yard line with a perfect 43-yard kick. After Chadwick failed to sustain a drive, Malibu took over at their own 25-yard line and began to drive down the field, bolstered by a 21-yard run by tight end Nechak. Facing a third down and six situation early in the second quarter, head coach Rich Lawson abandoned his powerful running attack and called two pass plays that resulted in incompletions and Chadwick taking over on offense. The Dolphins were able to capitalize on the misstep as they scored another touchdown to extend their lead to 12-0.
Needing a score to keep the game within reach, the Sharks mounted a sustained drive highlighted by a 32-yard romp by Heric and capped with Heric’s 2-yard dive into the end zone with 3:15 left in the half. The extra point was good and Malibu was within five points of the Dolphins.
Chadwick immediately marched downfield, threatening to score once again, but a Greg Milliken recovery of a Dolphin fumble gave the Sharks a chance to score in the last minute of the half. After a pass interference call gave the Sharks the ball at the Chadwick 12-yard line with 2.4 seconds left, Lawson chose not to kick a field goal, instead trying one last stab at the end zone. Quarterback Johnny O’Neal was sacked as time ran out in the second quarter.
After both teams’ defenses held strong in the third quarter, Malibu’s offensive guard Noah Flores was given the ball at the Chadwick 30-yard line on the trick “fumble-roosky” play that baffled the Dolphins as Flores ran the ball for a touchdown and a 13-12 Malibu lead.
As Chadwick faced a critical fourth and one situation late in the fourth quarter, the stadium fell silent as the referee was on his knees for nearly a full minute to check the measurement of the Dolphins forward progress. Chadwick barely came up short of the first down and turned the ball over to the Sharks at the Dolphins 40-yard line. Malibu once again sustained a drive that ended with junior Edman standing in the end zone after a 29-yard scamper through the Chadwick defense. Malibu was left holding onto a 19-12 lead after the two point conversion failed.
With a minute and a half left in the game, Chadwick stunned the Sharks with a 40-yard pass completion to James Brooks that gave the Dolphins a first down at the Malibu seven-yard line. Chris Kim scored a touchdown with just over a minute left, and the Dolphins trailed by only a point 19-18 as they attempted a two point conversion to win the game. After a fierce pass rush flushed the Dolphin quarterback out of the pocket, a desperation pass fell incomplete in the end zone as Malibu held on for the victory.
On Thursday, Chadwick’s junior varsity team forfeited their game against Malibu due to their inability to field a team. The Sharks’ JV record now stands at 5-1.