PaliHi Football Begins Friday Night: 5 Reasons to Watch This Year

With Palisades High School’s football team preparing for its season opener at Cleveland this Friday night, August 25, we asked Head Coach Tim Hyde to give us five reasons why the Dolphins will be a team to watch this year.

  1. Offensive Line: Pali’s offensive line is potentially the best in the city, said Hyde, who noted that his four seniors—Ari Sallus, Syr Riley, Col Aragon and Baraka Beckett—are being recruited and all will play college ball next year. Riley and Sallus made All-League last year as juniors and Riley was all-city second team.
  2. Fresh blood: Last year’s team had more than 20 seniors, many of whom had been on the team since they were sophomores, but Hyde said: “I’m excited about these new kids,” which include several transfers and four talented sophomores, Sy Riley, Noah Ghodooshim, Zaier Whitfield and Cyrille Youan moving up from JV.
  3. Quarterback: No one has yet cinched the starting position, but four good athletes are competing: senior Jared Dodson, juniors Daniel Hayes and Tommy Beattie and Youhan. “I have a smorgasbord of talent,” Hyde said. “We’ll see which one of them makes it to the plate.” Three years ago, his quarterback was Taylor Mensik, who is now playing for Pomona Pitzer. Two years ago, J.P. Hurst was his starter and he’s now playing for Tulane, and last year’s quarterback was Jake Manheim, a tight end, who moved to quarterback when Gabriel Galef was injured.
  4. Staples and potential: When the season is over, who will be the players who make all-league, the players the team will miss next season? “Every single year we put together a brand-new team,” Hyde said. “We have some very good seniors—Noah, Valentino, Dakota, Jack, Alex Vaupen.” Linebacker Noah Karp, fullback Valentino Steza and running back Dakota Hamilton made all-Western League in 2016. Alex Vaupen is a wide receiver and Jack Esterbrook is offensive guard.
  5. New Field: Although their first home game is still weeks away (depending on when construction is completed), the players are looking forward to playing on a new “sports turf ” field. Hyde wonders if this team will make history on the field, by being PaliHi’s first football team to win a third Western League championship title in a row. Before Hyde arrived, the last league title was in 1974. His overall five-year record is 28-17.
(Left to right) Dakota Hamilton, Noah Karp, Ari Sallus and Alex Vaupen take a quick break from football practice at Palisades High.
(Left to right) Dakota Hamilton, Noah Karp, Ari Sallus and Alex Vaupen take a quick break from football practice at Palisades High.
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