Sharks football excelling on both sides of the ball as team wins home contests

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Running back Tanner Kies scoring a touchdown at the Malibu High School Homecoming game. Photo by Joaquin Faden.

Malibu High beats both Calvary Baptist and Sherman Oaks CES handily to go to 3-1 on the season 

The Malibu High Sharks football team has rang up a total of 131 points in four games this season. 

Yet, Malibu head coach Mike Halualani said the Sharks aren’t all about raining touchdowns down on opposing teams — the team’s defense has also been stellar. In Malibu’s last two contests, the defense has only allowed opponents to score a total of six points and gain 10 first downs. 

“Our defense is so good,” Halualani stated. “That gives our offense the ability to be a little more aggressive because we don’t have to worry about throwing interceptions, fumbling. We have gone for it on fourth and long probably more often than we should, but that is because we have so much trust in how well our defense is playing.” 

Malibu’s defense and offense will look to continue its standout play on Friday. The 3-1 squad will trek to western San Bernardino County to play the 1-2 Lucerne Valley Mustangs. 

Malibu, said Halualani, can’t make many mistakes and must play hard if they want to win.

“The defense has to tackle well, and our offense has to continue to move the football,” he stated. 

Malibu enters the contest on a two-game winning streak. The Sharks beat the Calvary Baptist Cougars 41-6 on Sept. 22. Seven days earlier, the squad downed the Sherman Oaks CES Knights 56-0. Both wins were home triumphs for Malibu. 

The Sharks defense was led by senior defensive linemen Tyler Celikek and Harper Rae and linebackers Graydon Phelps, a senior, and Hank Norby, a junior. 

Malibu’s offense — led by senior quarterback Nico Miller and skill position players and brothers Travis Kies, a senior, and Tanner Kies, a sophomore — ran and passed rampantly as they piled on points. 

Halualani said the Sharks offense has had more than a handful of explosive plays this season. The first-year Malibu coach said Miller orchestrates it all. 

“He runs the show,” Halualani noted. “The whole offense runs around him making the right calls, the right reads, the right throws.” 

The coach added that Malibu’s offensive line has played fantastic this year.

“Without them,” he said, “we don’t do anything.” 

Malibu kicked off its 2023 campaign on Sept. 1 with a 26-15 win over the Desert Christian Knights. Junior defensive end Shane Perl sealed the victory by sacking the Knights quarterback and stripping the football away from him.

The next week, the Milken Wildcats beat Malibu 44-8. 

Malibu will host the Hillcrest Christian Saints on Oct. 5, the Sharks’ senior night. On Oct. 13, they play at the Laguna Blanca Owls in Santa Barbara and host the Entrepreneur Panthers on Oct. 20. Malibu’s regular season closes with an away contest against the Villanova Prep Wildcats in Ojai on Oct. 27. 

Halualani is impressed with how well the Sharks have come together this season. 

“They all get along and play well together,” he said. “If we keep playing how we are playing, we should be very successful. Our ultimate goal is to win as many games as possible to make it into CIF playoffs.” 

The game against Calvary Baptist was also the night the Homecoming King and Queen was announced and Malibu High School students Solel Marques and Valerie Marquez accepted the title.