PaliHi Dolphins Football Thrashes Hamilton 42-7 (Video)

By Sue Pascoe
Photos by Drew Vaupen

Palisades High School football continued its winning ways Friday night at home by opening Western League play with a decisive victory over the Hamilton Yankees, 42-7. 

After the game, Pali Head Coach Tim Hyde was pleased. “We executed and played our game. Our offense made less mistakes. We were focused on no turnovers.”

The Dolphins (now 5-1 this season) were slow to start offensively, and led only 3-0 after the first quarter, thanks to a 10-yard field goal by Campbell Geddes with about three minutes left. 

Hayes reads the defense before Pali scores the TD

His kickoff sent the ball into the end zone and Hamilton, starting on its own 20, was forced to punt.

The Dolphins finally mustered a long scoring drive, launched by an impressive pass from quarterback Daniel Hayes to wide receiver Cameron Bailey, who completed a 48-yard play down to Hamilton’s 38.   

Senior Valentino Sterza (6’, 205 pounds) ran the ball in for a touchdown, but then it was called back because a spectator was on the field. In an instant, the mood went from jubilation to disappointment.

But the Dolphins regrouped, and a pass to Alex Vaupen brought the ball to the 22, and Max Palees carried it in for the touchdown. The PAT by Geddes was good.

Hamilton responded with a 68-yard drive for its only touchdown of the game. 

Sy Riley in hot pursuit

Pali fumbled with less than 2 minutes left in the half, but three plays later, junior Darion Robinson intercepted a pass, and the Dolphins managed to lead at halftime, 10-7. 

The second half started with another fumble by Pali, which was recovered by Hamilton.

But then, like someone turned on a light switch, the Dolphins settled into their game. The defense held at Pali’s 36, and the offense proceeded to march down the field. Hayes went back and forth between ball carriers Dakota Hamilton and Max Palees, then passed to Alex Vaupen for a 52-yard touchdown.  The PAT was good.

Pali’s defense was again solid and, following a punt return, the offense started on Hamilton’s 36. Hayes threw to Sterza for 19 yards, and Palees ran 10 yards for the touchdown. The PAT made it 24-7.

After another Geddes kickoff into the end zone, Hamilton was forced to punt, but a bad snap sent the ball into the end zone, causing a safety. The Dolphins returned the subsequent kickoff back to Hamilton’s 38, only to then lose the ball on a fumble.

Valentino on his way to a TD reception

Once again unable to move the ball, Hamilton attempted a punt, only to replay the bad snap. This time the kicker chased the into the end zone and managed to run it out to the two. The Dolphins were stymied by penalties and a fumbled snap, and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Geddes. 

The fourth quarter started with Noah Karp intercepting a pass. Taking over, Hayes threw a long pass from Hamilton’s 42-yard line into the corner of the end zone, where it was caught by Vaupen. The PAT failed and Pali led, 35-7. 

After the game, Vaupen was asked about his end-zone catch. He was flanked by a defender, and the ball was almost overthrown, but he reached high and brought it in safely. 

Palees scores his 3rd TD

“I faked the defender and then cut back,” Vaupen said. “It was a good throw.” He was complimented on his athleticism, the leap and reach. “We’re supposed to catch the ball,” he said matter-of-factly. “That’s what I did.”

With less than five minutes left in the game, strong running by Palees ultimately led to his third touchdown of the night. The PAT was good.

Quarterback Hayes was asked about the first half versus the second. “We had some penalties and sloppy play and made some mistakes,” he said. “We regrouped during halftime and it was a great second half.”

As well as crediting his strong line, Hayes said “Alex and Cameron are such good receivers and Max and Dakota are good runners. It makes my job so much easier.”

The Dolphins travel to Fairfax next Friday night. The Lions also won their league opener against University, 41-0. Pali’s perennial rival, Venice, defeated Westchester 40-28 on Friday.

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