Sharks fall in home opener

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Quarterback J.P. O'Fallon scrambles away from the oncoming blitz. Photos by Seth and Sam Rubinroit

The Malibu High School football team lost its first home game of the season Saturday afternoon to Flintridge Prep, 10-0. The Sharks, led by head coach Ray Humphrey, had the game pulled away from them by the referees, with Malibu’s three points from a field goal by Jonny Palmer being recalled on a holding penalty, taking them off the board. On the second attempt from farther back, the kick went slightly off to the left, leaving them scoreless.

Nearly every other play down the field resulted in a called penalty, allowing Flintridge to score a touchdown on a red-zone run in the last minutes of the game, added to an earlier Flintridge field goal from around 25 yards out. With less than two minutes to play, the Sharks’ made a sustained drive into the red zone, only to see numerous penalties leave them on the 26-yard line, with the ball going to the Rebels. However, the Sharks defense and special teams showed heart, with numerous tackles for losses of yards, and even a blocked punt the Sharks were able to control. The Sharks’ ability to hold the Rebels to only 10 points was a significant improvement over their 27-0 loss to Flintridge last season.

Malibu’s most effective player was J.P. O’Fallon, the Sharks’ starting quarterback and free safety. On top of starting on both offense and defense, O’Fallon also picked up the blocked punt and picked off a pass for an interception, both for a significant gain of yardage. O’Fallon, who, at the Summer Combine, was one of the top five leaders for both the speed and quickness drills and also jumping ability, displayed his athleticism with numerous scrambles out of the pocket to avoid the blitz and several runs for large gains. Sharks’ running back and strong safety Sean Conrad also contributed quite a bit with his ability to run up the middle, plowing over defenders and catching several key receptions.

The Sharks’ loss leaves them with an 0-2 record. The junior varisty team is currently 1-0-1, with a win against Bell Jeff and a tie with Flintridge, 7-7, on Thursday. The Shark’s next two games are away against Santa Monica and View Point. But the Sharks return home on Oct. 5 to play Daniel Murphy at 7 p.m.