Westchester High School Ends PaliHi’s Winning Streak, 42-32

With two minutes left to play on Oct. 28, Westchester High School led Palisades High School’s football team, 34-32, and the Dolphins still had a glimmer of hope. They had just scored, but on the kickoff return the Comets ran 80 yards for a touchdown and added a two-point conversion to put the game away.

Palisades entered the game with a seven-game winning streak and was tied for first with Venice in Western League play. The loss dropped Pali into a second-place tie with Westchester, and the Dolphins will now travel to play Venice (4-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4.

“We played hard; it was a physical tough game between two great teams,” Pali Head Coach Tim Hyde said. “We could still share the league title if we beat Venice.”

In a wild offensive game, in which the lead changed hands numerous times, the Dolphins scored first at Westchester with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Running back Marrio Lofton looks for blocks from his line. Photo: Drew Vaupen

Running back Marrio Lofton looks for blocks from his line.
Photo: Drew Vaupen

Starting at his own 22, quarterback Jonah Manheim used running backs Innocent Okoh and Marrio Lofton to move the ball midfield. He then ran the ball himself for a 14-yard gain to the Westchester 38, and a second run brought it to the 28. Three plays later Okoh had his first touchdown, but Jake Taitelman missed his first PAT of the season.

Westchester responded with a 66-yard scoring drive, aided by sharp passing and a face-mask penalty against Pali, but also missed the conversion.

With seven minutes left in the half, Westchester drove down to Pali’s 15, but the

Dolphins’ defense held on fourth down. Once again, Pali’s running game kicked in behind Okoh and Lofton, before Manheim scored on a short run. A two-point conver- sion failed, and Pali led 12-6.

Palisades continued to have trouble adjusting to Westchester’s passing game, as the Comets struck for a long scoring play from their quarterback. They made a two-point conversion to take a 14-12 lead.

On the kickoff, Lofton returned the ball 29 yards to Pali’s 45, and on the second play, Okoh busted loose for a 50-yard touchdown run. Taitelman kicked the extra point to give the Dolphins a 19-14 halftime lead.

With five minutes left in the third quarter, the Comets regained the lead, 20-19, after scoring a touchdown but failing on the con- version. Late in the quarter, Westchester put together a 76-yard drive, and now led 26-19.

Palisades fought back, using Okoh and Lofton to move the ball on the ground, and again Manheim went in for the touchdown. The PAT kick missed and the Dolphins trailed, 26-25.

Westchester’s came back again, scoring on a long pass and another two-point conversion, to take the lead, 34-25.

Pali’s new quarterback, Tommy Beattie, stepped in and connected with wide receiver Alex Vaupen, who went 35 yards for a touchdown. Taitelman’s PAT was good, making the score 34-32.

“We had some golden opportunities, but we wasted them,” said coach Hyde after the game.

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