MHS football plays to a tie

0
272

Following a loss in which the Sharks sustained numerous injuries, the Malibu High School football team traveled to Occidental College on Friday night to take on the Flintridge Preparatory School Rebels. Their second away game of the season, the Sharks (1-3-1) were involved in an entertaining contest against the Rebels (0-3-1) that concluded with a 14-14 score.

The game began with strong play from both teams’ defenses in a scoreless first quarter. Despite numerous injuries on the defensive line, the Sharks were able to keep the Rebels’ offense in check during the first quarter.

“The backups really stepped up today,” sophomore nose-tackle Jordan Alexander said. “We were missing two major lineman in Evan Anthony and David Sandborg and we had to move our linebackers around, but we totally held them up in the end.”

The Sharks’ offense struggled early with the running game. However, Malibu was happy to see senior quarterback Chris Konkol return from an ankle injury that sidelined him for two weeks. The Sharks were still without senior running back Matt Mason, who underwent surgery on his injured ankle.

Flintridge Prep opened the second quarter successfully moving the ball. A touchdown pass from Kyle McDonald to Jared Norsworthy put the team up 6-0.

The Sharks’ offense continued to have trouble advancing the ball during the second quarter, and the team had to rely on the defense throughout the duration of the first half.

With the ball in striking range toward the end of the second half, it appeared the Rebels would take a two-possession lead into the break. McDonald lofted a ball toward the end zone, but Malibu sophomore defensive back Brennan Cassone made an interception at the two-yard line to close the half.

The Sharks opened the second half with a big kickoff return from junior running back Cooper Smart. However, Konkol reaggrevated his ankle during the first drive, and the Sharks went three and out. The team’s defense picked up where they left off before halftime with strong play.

The Sharks then found some offensive life from sophomores Cassone and Apollo Loomis. On third and long, Loomis made a 30-yard catch that not only gave them a first down, but also put them in scoring position. Cassone then gave the Sharks their first points of the game on a 10-yard touchdown run, putting the team up 7-6 after the extra point.

The Rebels fought back with a scoring drive of their own. They opened the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown run, and took a 14-7 lead following a 2-point conversion.

Konkol returned to the game in the fourth quarter and made an immediate impact. On a crucial third and eight in scoring territory, he heaved a pass downfield to Loomis, who rose above numerous Rebel defenders to put the Sharks within the Rebels’ five-yard line. Malibu then punched the ball in for a score, tying the game at 14.

The Rebels later advanced the ball to Sharks’ 1-yard line behind a power running game led by running back Jordan Whaley. However, the Sharks’ tough defense was able to keep the Rebels from advancing the ball into the end zone.

The Sharks took over on their own goal-line, but had trouble advancing the ball on first and second downs. On third down, Konkol threw an interception that was originally returned for a touchdown, but then brought back because of a blocking penalty.

The game concluded with the Sharks’ defense once again coming up huge. They forced a fumble with nine seconds left to conclude the contest. There was no overtime because it was not a league game.

“We have been facing a lot of adversity with injuries and guys going down,” said Sharks head coach Ray Humphrey. “So I was satisfied with the team’s performance in the fact that they stepped it up another notch and were able to do the stuff that we did on defense and to get our offense going in the second half, but we need start to run our offense well in the first half.”

The Sharks play on Saturday at LA Baptist in the final game before league play begins.