Sharks Prepared for Football Season With Strong Offense

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Quarterback Chase Kapler hands the ball to runningback Dane Kapler.

The Malibu Sharks offense was rolling during the team’s home scrimmage last Saturday against the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals. 

A couple of nice rushing attempts and a completed pass led to quarterback Chase Kapler dashing over 20 yards and breaking at least one tackle before reaching the end zone.  

No score was being recorded and coaches from both teams were on the field offering instructions to players throughout the hour-and-a-half matchup but afterwards Malibu’s senior signal-caller said it felt good to record a touchdown.

“The offensive line made a nice hole,” Kapler said. “I saw it, made the cut to it and scored.” 

The Sharks and the Cardinals alternated possession of the ball during the scrimmage, so both teams had an opportunity to practice kick-off and kick-off returns, punting and punt returns, and offense and defense.

During all the tweaking of plays and coaches guiding players, Santa Clarita Christian scored a few times and Malibu hit pay dirt with scores by Kapler and sophomore running back Elijaah Bryant.

Kapler, bouncing back from a 2016 injury, said he hoped the successful scrimmage would set the tone for Malibu’s season, which begins Friday at home against the Mark Keppel Aztecs at 4:30 p.m.

“We wanted to come out fast and come out hard with a lot of energy,” he said. “We did that.” 

Senior wide receiver and safety Frankie Churchill concurred with his quarterback.

“We got to go full power,” he said. 

Sharks assistant coach Kyle Shorten, the son of Malibu head coach Terry Shorten, said he was happy to see Malibu match the physicality of the Cardinals and added that after only having teammates to practice and work out with in the spring and summer, it was good to have an opponent. 

“It is good to see another color out there and for the guys to hit other people,” the younger Shorten said. 

The younger Churchill on the squad, Griffin, an offensive and defensive lineman, said, “We didn’t have to go soft on them.” 

Malibu players (and fans) were cheering, giving congratulatory smacks on the helmets and shoulder pads to each other after good plays and “ooohhhing” after big hits. 

Kapler said the big positive he took from the scrimmage was the standout play of the offensive linemen. 

“I got enough time when I was dropping back to pass,” he said. “They opened holes. A lot of guys on the other team’s line were bigger than them, so I was proud of them for not being intimidated and just playing disciplined.” 

Offensive lineman Dovid Rabinowich said they can build off their performance against the Cardinals.

“All there is left to do is look at game film and get even better,” he said. 

Center and defensive tackle Brandon Chaisson said Malibu bounced back from bad plays.

“It was a well-balanced game,” he said. 

Malibu finished with a 2-8 record last season. Terry Shorten said early in this season the 35-member team, dominated by younger players, is focused on working hard and getting better each week. 

“They will learn on the fly, in a way, since we have a lot of new starters, but we have hit the ground running,” he said. “We will grow as the season goes because we have a great group of young players.” 

The third-year Malibu coach said he expects Kapler, sophomore running back, linebacker Daniel Rafeedie, junior wide receivers and cornerbacks Max Gordon and Louie Thrall, senior lineman Brandon Chaisson, and lineman and linebacker Ben Crosby to lead the Sharks by example this season—”And be playmakers for us,” Shorten said. “Playmakers are going to be our core strength.” 

The head coach’s son singled out Kapler and Crosby—”He is really the driving force of the team”—to lead Malibu.

“They are good leaders for the team,” Kyle Shorten said. 

Junior lineman Sebastian Hernandez said he and his teammates need to play with energy throughout the season to be successful.

“Since we have so few numbers, we must play with a lot of energy for four quarters each game,” he said. 

Shorten, the head coach, said the group must get better each week to win the league title. 

“I like our chances,” he said. “We are going to grow this team into a league champion.” 

Kapler wants the Frontier League crown.

“We can win it,” he said. “We have a lot of talent at receiver. Seeing our line play today, and do really well gave me a lot of hope.”