Sharks Football Boasts Winning Record With League Play on Horizon

The Malibu High Sharks football team didn’t stop at just one, two or three touchdowns in its shellacking of the Beverly Hills Normans on Aug. 31. Four times in the end zone wasn’t a stopping point for the Sharks, either.

Malibu defeated the Normans, 62-7, the squad’s third double-digit win of the season, and guess what? Sharks head coach Terry Shorten believes the troop can play better ball. 

“Our goal is to continue to work hard in practice,” he said. “On Friday nights, we have the opportunity to execute what we are working hard at practice on … challenge ourselves to be successful.”

Running back and linebacker Daniel Rafeedie said the 55-point triumph was Malibu’s best game of the season, but he agreed with his coach and said better showings lay ahead this season for him and his teammates. 

“We just have to keep working hard in practice,” the 16-year-old said. “That really translates over to the games and how we play.” 

Shorten said everything went right for Malibu in the downing of Beverly Hills.

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“It was a good night for us,” he said. “Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field. Defensively, we shut them out. The only touchdown that was given up was a kickoff return. Both sides of the ball performed well.”

Malibu was defeated, 41-17, on Sept. 14 by the Hueneme Vikings. It was the gridiron gang’s first loss of 2018. 

Next, Malibu will host the Santa Clara Saints on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

The Sharks, owners of a 4-1 record, rolled out three consecutive big wins to start the season. Malibu’s fourth win was a forfeit. The Sharks beat the Mark Keppel Aztecs, 47-0, on Aug. 17; the Viewpoint Patriots, 27-13, on Aug. 24; and the Beverly Hills win was seven days later. The team’s forfeit victory was over McAuliffe on Sept. 7. 

Shorten said contests where the team plays well in all aspects of the game, which has been the case several times this season, are fun. “You are having success, you are still working hard but having success,” he said. “It is a time to enjoy, live in the moment, because once the game is over we immediately have to start thinking ahead. You don’t want to get too high because there is always the game next week.” 

Shorten said this season’s Malibu team is the most experienced group he has led since becoming the school’s pigskin coach in 2015. However, the winning team is composed of only 25 players, the smallest group Shorten has coached. That has led players starting on offense and defense.

Their coach said making sure the athletes have the conditioning to lineup on both sides of the ball is a must. 

“We turn up the speed of our drills at practice,” Shorten said. “We get a lot of cardio in.” 

The silver lining is that players get a lot of practice on both sides of the ball. The team doesn’t tire easily. 

“At game time, we are ready to go,” said Rafeedie, Malibu’s captain. 

The Sharks’ offense has tallied 153 points on opponents. Junior running back Dane Kapler has led the way. The tailback has more than 10 touchdowns. 

“He has had some big nights on the ground,” Shorten said. “He is a really hard runner.”

Malibu quarterbacks Tee Barnes, a senior, and Jake Friedman, a sophomore, have also played well in the pocket. Senior wide receivers Louie Thrall and Eric Truschke have done a good job of hauling in the passes the signal callers throw their way. 

Shorten said the offensive line has made Malibu’s offensive explosions possible. 

“You can’t run or throw without a great performance from the offensive line,” he said.

Rafeedie, who had a TD against Beverly Hills, said the whole team is working together to execute every touchdown play.

Shorten said the defense has been able to stop opposing offensives from running the ball successfully. 

“That helps us put our offense on the field,” he said. “Both sides of the ball, offense and defense, complement each other. Right now, we are a good group of kids that have come together. We are a unit.”

Shorten said senior Haves Shoff is playing great at defensive end, as is sophomore Liam Moore at linebacker. The top Shark said Rafeedie seems to make all the tackles. 

“He is cleaning up house,” Shorten said of the 11th grader. “He is a ball hawk. Fundamentally, he is great at reading the offensive lineman, where they are going the ball is going. It’s almost like having a coach on the field. He is taking over games defensively.” 

Rafeedie said since most of the Sharks have played together for three to four years, the group knows how to execute plays on the gridiron well together. 

“At this point, there is really good chemistry on the field,” he said. “We know how everyone works their strengths, their weaknesses and how we can help each other.” 

This week is Malibu’s bye week, no game is scheduled for Friday so the team had additional days to prepare for the game against Santa Clara, the team’s first matchup against a Citrus Coast League foe this season. Malibu finished fourth in the Frontier League in 2017. 

Shorten said the team will find out how good it is amidst the five-game league schedule.

“It is a very tough, competitive league,” he said. 

Rafeedie believes the Sharks will snag more wins this season. 

“We have shocked opponents,” he said. “With our low numbers, people underestimate us. We can really show them what we can do and that we are not just going to roll over. We may get tired, but we are not going to stop.” 

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