Malibu High sports begin CIF playoffs

The California Interscholastic Federation playoffs have begun, and destiny is knocking on the door for several Malibu High athletic teams. Will they answer it? We’ll find out soon. 

The Malibu football team clinched a postseason berth last Friday night for the first time since 2007 with a stirring rally to defeat Santa Clara 50-41. 

“We just kept plugging away,” Malibu Coach Ray Humphrey said. “The boys played out of their minds. The defense had a few good stops, forced some turnovers and the offense stepped it up.” 

Trailing 41-24 midway through the third quarter, the Sharks re-grouped and engineered another remarkable comeback by scoring 26 unanswered points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter to overcome the Saints. 

Junior quarterback Chase Gardella scored on a 14-yard run to make it 44-41 in favor of MHS and sophomore tailback Matt Vincent applied the final blow with a 13-yard touchdown run to pay dirt. 

Gardella completed 25 of 40 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) while senior captain Brennan Cassone caught 12 passes for 210 yards and scored three touchdowns (two receiving and one punt return for a TD). 

By virtue of the victory, Malibu (7-3, 3-1) claimed second place in the Frontier League and an automatic berth into the CIF East Valley Division playoffs. The Sharks will play on Friday at 7 p.m. at Linfield Christian High School in Temecula. 

“To make the playoffs feels great. It’s only the fourth time in school history,” Humphrey said. “These kids deserve it. The coaching staff worked so hard. It’s very rewarding. It was earned and well-deserved.” 

Girls tennis 

Two down, three to go. The powerhouse Malibu girls tennis team, seeded No. 1 in the CIF Division III playoffs, easily defeated Righetti, 14-4, and Rio Mesa, 14-4, in the first two rounds. 

“We need to continue to work hard and stay focused in practice and in each match,” senior captain Britta Mosser said. “It’s been an amazing season.” 

As of press time, Malibu (17-0) was entering its quarterfinal match against M.L. King of Riverside this past Monday. If the Sharks were successful vs. King as well as on Wednesday in the semifinals, they would play Friday morning, Nov. 9, at 10:30 a.m. for the CIF title at the Claremont Club in Claremont. (More information is available at the athletics office at MHS.) 

Malibu is in search of its first CIF title since winning back-to-back CIF championships in 2003 and 2004. 

“We lost in the semifinals last year so we want to win that ring this year,” Rachel Purewal said. “We’ve been training hard. We are ready.” 

Boys water polo 

Malibu (23-4) won its 15th league title in school history after defeating Villanova, 13-7, last week. For good measure, the Sharks then took down highly-regarded Santa Monica, 10-6, in their final regular season match to prepare for the CIF Division VI playoffs. 

“The guys are fired up and excited to begin their second season,” Malibu Coach Michael Mulligan said of the playoffs. “They are primed and ready to go.” 

Like the girls tennis team, the Sharks received the No. 1 seed and will be looking for their first CIF title ever. Malibu will host the wild-card winner between Beaumont and Xavier Prep Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with the quarterfinals on Saturday if they win. 

“If we are lucky enough to get that elusive CIF title that would be fantastic,” Mulligan said. “I want to get back to the CIF finals. I think this team has the capability of doing that and winning it.” 

The Sharks were CIF runner-up in 2008 and 2010. 

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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