Malibu quarterback Chase Kapler took the snap, surveyed the field, pumped once and then let it fly. Luca Marinaro flanked to Kapler’s left, took off on his route making a sharp deceptive move and then sprinted ahead downfield as he separated from his helpless defender.
From 30 yards out, Kapler lofted a beautiful spiral that nestled into the waiting hands of Marinaro for a Sharks’ touchdown. Players high-fived and chest bumped as Kapler and Marinaro together made the play of the day.
Moments later on defense, strong safety Trevor Simonian demonstrated his innate ball-hawking skills as he raced over for an interception, setting off another celebration with his Shark teammates.
On a summer day at Malibu High School (MHS), the Sharks and their new head coach, Terry Shorten, provided a glimpse into the future with a decisive victory against Channel Islands in a seven-on-seven passing league game.
The victory was nice, but the overall growth and excitement has the veteran coach elated for the upcoming season.
“I’m really excited every single day that we come out here. The numbers keep going up, and we get new kids every day,” said Shorten, who had a very successful career at Oak Park High School. “Our younger kids are getting varsity experience, and that makes me really happy. It’s a combination of kids all coming together and working as one. It’s a great group of kids.”
Shorten inherited a group of players excited to learn and prepared for the grind that lies ahead beginning August 10, when fall training camp gets underway.
“They have so much enthusiasm. They are really eager to win and eager to be coached,” said Shorten. “They are just energetic. It’s been real refreshing.”
On this day, Malibu looked crisp on both sides of the ball, as veteran returners and young newcomers both had opportunities to compete against a quick and physical squad from nearby Oxnard.
With the Sharks’ top playmaker Indiana Mcalpine not available due to another commitment, a host of Malibu players stepped up in his absence, and the Sharks had their strongest performance to date in the summer.
“We were a man down and we came together and played really well,” Marinaro said. “We are starting to know the plays and it’s coming together. It’s looking nice.”
“We played really well. We showed a lot of improvement and it’s a result of all of our hard work and everyone coming out every day and giving it their all,” said Simonian. “We were a little rusty having not played since the fall. But everyone has kept their heads up and worked hard with a good attitude. They wanted to work harder to get better and it showed today.”
Malibu has competed against Channel Islands, Oak Park, Fillmore, Agoura, Rio Mesa and Glendale in several seven-on-seven passing round robins. Skill players work on timing, patterns, defensive reads and coverages, while the offensive and defensive linemen hit the weight room.
A week prior to the Channel Island’s contest, Malibu participated in a four-way against Rio Mesa, Agoura, Oak Park and Glendale. The Sharks struggled, but it proved to be a valuable lesson learned when Malibu came back home, had a strong week of practice and raised their level versus Channel Islands.
“It was a long day for us and we had to re-establish ourselves today, and I thought going one-on-one against Channel Islands was a good matchup for us,” Shorten said. “It gave us a chance to get not only physical, but to play against speed. Every kid stepped up and is really trying, even if it’s a position they don’t know.”
Shorten has been pleased with everyone in the program as each player continues to mature physically and mentally.
Marinaro, Simonian, Mcalpine, Kapler, Marco Krause, Harry Innes, Colter Barish, Ben Crosby-Brodka, Louie Thrall, Keaton Brewster, Braxton Pierce, Frankie Churchill and Tee Barnes have had a productive summer. The players have been receptive to their new coach and the implementation of his philosophies and style of play.
“He’s brought a lot of energy and a lot of positive changes, which have made football fun for everybody,” Simonian said. “Everyone is enjoying it and having a good time.”
“He brought us a positive mindset and a winning mentality to the team. He’s very focused and ready to win,” Marinaro added.
Malibu now begins a mandatory, three-week dead period before resuming practice on August 10. The 2015 season kicks off on August 28 at Windward. The Sharks’ home opener is on September 11 versus Saddleback Valley Christian at 7 p.m.