MHS football falls in opener

The Malibu High School football team got off to a rough start on Saturday with a 53-0 loss to Fillmore High School in its season opener. Despite the score, the game had some positive aspects for Malibu with several good individual performances and promising plays on both sides of the ball during the second half.

“Our problem was poor execution,” Head coach Ray Humphrey said after the game. “We made too many first game mistakes.”

The game began with both teams struggling to move the ball on offense. The Sharks did not find early success in either the run or pass offense, while Fillmore’s offense started off slow and then began to take flight. At the end of the first quarter, the Sharks found themselves down 7-0 due to a rushing touchdown by Fillmore running back Colin Farrar. The second quarter started off with a bang as Fillmore quarterback Corey Cole delivered a 27-yard touchdown pass to put the Flashes up 14-0. The Sharks’ offense continued to struggle, with the unit as a whole failing to establish a rhythm during the second quarter.

“I think our heart could have been more in the game in the beginning,” junior running-back Cooper Smart said. “It took a good halftime speech to really get our offense going.”

Meanwhile, another rushing touchdown by Fillmore put the Flashes up 21-0 with 4:39 left in the half. The Sharks’ offense struggled up until the half, with quarterback Chris Konkol throwing an interception toward the end of the half. At halftime, the Flashes were ahead 28-0.

The Sharks came out of the locker room for the second half with a rejuvenated offense and defense. Malibu’s defense started the third quarter strong when junior defensive back Devon Baldinger intercepted a pass with the Flashes in the red zone. Baldinger led the Sharks in interceptions last year with a total of six picks.

The Sharks’ offense also came out strong to start the second half behind the power running of senior running back Matt Mason. He opened the half with a trio of 15-yard-plus runs. However, as the Sharks were about to score, Mason fumbled the ball on the five-yard line and the Flashes picked it up and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown, putting Fillmore up 34-0. The Sharks then met more misfortune on offense, as a 70-yard screen pass from Konkol to Mason for a touchdown was called back due to offensive holding.

Later in the third quarter, Fillmore scored on a 55-yard touchdown reception and the Sharks continually found success in their running game. Their three-headed rushing attack of Konkol, Mason, and Smart amassed 179 total yards rushing by the games end, with most of the yards coming in the second half. But the Sharks were unable to finish any of their drives, with penalties and turnovers spoiling the progress on the field.

While the Malibu players were disappointed with the performance, Humphrey said there were many lessons to be taken away from the game

“We need to check our egos at the door,” Humphrey said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

Humphrey added that despite the team’s loss, several players, including Konkol and Smart, played well.

“Chris made a couple of mistakes, but overall I thought he was very poised for playing his first game as quarterback,” Humphrey said. “Cooper Smart also ran the ball very well.”

Konkol finished the game with 52 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and four interceptions, while Smart ran for 58 yards.

“I didn’t expect to have that much playing time,” Smart said. “But I was pleased with the way that I performed.”

The Sharks will look to bounce back from the loss in their upcoming game against Pasadena Poly on Saturday. The home game will begin a 1 p.m. There will be a junior varsity game also at home at 11 a.m.

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

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