Sharks Nab First Victory in Two Seasons

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The Malibu offense lines up to go into action on Friday night against Santa Clarita Christian School. The Sharks pulled off a dominant win, routing the Cardinals 34-6. 

The Malibu High School football team won its first game in 22 months during a dominant victory over the visiting Santa Clarita Christian School Cardinals, 34-6, at home on Friday, Sept. 5.

Until Friday, the last time the Sharks had won a game was on Nov. 2, 2012 during a 7-4 season where they made the playoffs. Last year, they went 0-10. This season’s first win puts their record at 1-1. 

Sharks coach Ray Humphrey said the win made his team confident. 

“They believe in themselves,” he said. “A lot of these guys were on that 0-10 team and to be able to go out and get that first win sets a huge tone because they know they can do it. They knew they could do it last year.”

The victory over the Cardinals came despite losing starting senior quarterback Dylan Lubell to an ACL tear in an Aug. 22 scrimmage against Oak Park High School, and having junior defensive leader Alec Stevenson ejected early in the contest due to an illegal hit on a Cardinals’ player.

Senior Nico Basile, who has stepped in for Lubell, directed a quick and darting Sharks offense. A strong defensive showing forced two turnovers and harassed Cardinals quarterback Jonathan Saavdra, bottling up an offense that scored nearly 70 points in its opening week.

The Sharks were led by junior wide receiver and defensive back Indiana McAlpine, who had two touchdown catches and an interception; Basile, who tossed the two scoring passes to McAlpine and snuck in two touchdowns on quarterback keepers; and senior running back Justin Baldinger, who rushed for one score. 

Senior linebacker Matt Vincent led an emotionally charged defense and could be heard yelling encouragement throughout the contest.

McAlpine got things heading the Sharks’ direction early by picking off one of Saavdra’s passes to end the Cardinals’ first drive of the game. A 35-yard pass from Basile to McAlpine helped the Sharks complete the drive to give Malibu a 7-0 in the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, junior Matt Rafeedie intercepted Saavdra’s pass and returned it 30 yards into Cardinals’ territory. On the next play, Basile and McAlpine connected for a 65-yard touchdown pass. 

Quarterback sacks from defensive lineman senior Jason Nikora and sophomore Logan Moore helped keep the Cardinals from scoring in the first half. 

In the third quarter, Baldinger scored on a 28-yard dash. In the fourth quarter Basile scored again. After a Cardinals’ drive, score, and missed extra point the score was 28-6.

With four minutes left in the game, McAlpine scored on a 33-yard pass from Basile. However, the extra point was missed, so the contest’s final stood at 34-6. 

McAlpine said the whole team came together. 

“We all did really well,” he said. “We came out really strong. The loss of Alec Stevenson really set us back, but we have just kept on coming.” 

Humphrey said the Sharks just believed they were a better team. 

“We have the better athletes, and we knew that,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from [the Cardinals], they are a good team. We were able to get to the quarterback and fluster him, and we were able to take their receivers out. We just threw different stuff at them to try to confuse them.”

The dominant win comes after the Sharks lost 21-3 to St. Monica Catholic High School to start the season.

The Sharks travel to San Juan Capistrano to take on the Saddleback Valley Christian School Warriors on Friday, Sept. 12. 

If the Sharks beat the Warriors it will be the first time the gridiron squad has won consecutive games since the 2012 season.

The Warriors (1-0) won their first and only game of the season so far, beating Winward SChool, 35-7. 

Humphrey said he wants the team to continue the style of play that led them to victory against Santa Clarita Christian.

“We are balanced and we want to throw the ball, but we can run the ball too,” he said. “I don’t think we are going to change much. We will go with what is working and keep moving from there.”

McAlpine said the Sharks are on a winning track.

“We did well all-around,” he said.

Several supporters came up to Humphrey after the game and offered words of encouragement, pats on the back — even selfies. 

Humphrey said finally winning again was a refreshing feeling. 

“Last year was a rough season,” he said. “People coming up and hugging you—that is always fun. As much as I rant and rave, I like a pat on the back every now and then.”