A second half surge was not enough for the Sharks to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit at the Santa Monica College field on Saturday night.
The Sharks fell to the St. Monica Mariners 20-12, leaving the Sharks 0-1 overall.
The Mariners scored twice in the first quarter with a field goal and a 50-yard touchdown run, and added to their lead with 1:15 left in the half.
At the 40 second mark the Sharks turned the ball over deep in their own territory. The Mariners threatened to increase their lead from the 2 yard line, but the Sharks defense held.
It was to be the first of two gutsy Sharks goal line stands. The Mariners led 17-0 at the half.
Midway through the third quarter junior defender Dylan Miller intercepted a Mariner pass at the Sharks 6 yard line.
On the subsequent play junior QB Chase Gardella connected with junior receiver Apollo Loomis on an electrifying 94-yard catch and run. The Sharks were on the board and in the game.
The Mariners began the fourth quarter with a drive that set up first and goal from the Sharks 2 yard line. The Sharks defense rose to the occasion, and the Mariners settled for a field goal.
Behind sharp passing from Gardella, the Sharks drove the field but were intercepted in the end zone with 4:40 to play. Following a 3-and-out, the Sharks offense went to work and scored on a touchdown pass from Gardella to Dylan Miller.
The subsequent onside kick was unsuccessful, but the Sharks were given another chance to tie the game when the Mariner QB inexplicably ran out bounds with 2 seconds to play. But miracles were in short supply for the Sharks as the Hail Mary pass on the last play fell into the wrong hands.
Head Coach Ray Humphrey commented after the game, “We gave ourselves a chance [to win] in the second half. If we had played like that in the first half, it might have been a different game. We’ve got to put four quarters together. Although I’m disappointed with the loss, we’re happy with the effort in the second half. You’ve got to give St. Monica credit for their strong ground game."
"Chase [Gardella] did well with his feet, making things happen with good passes to [receivers] Brennan Cassone, Apollo Loomis, and Dylan Miller. Apollo’s catch and run [for a 93 yard touchdown] really picked us up and two goal line stands gave us momentum. The offensive line in the second half definitely stepped up and that’s what gave us a chance.”
Next for Malibu is their home opener v. Chadwick School on Friday, Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m.