The Malibu Sharks football team made the most of their chances in breaking the school scoring record in their 58-40 victory over the Bellarmine-Jefferson Guards on Friday.
Senior Brennan Cassone was a one-man wrecking crew for the Sharks' defense. In Bellarmine-Jefferson's first two possessions of the game, Cassone made an interception and forced a fumble.
Both turnovers led to Sharks points on strong runs by running back Matt Vincent and quarterback Chase Gardella.
Bellarmine-Jefferson responded with a touchdown drive of their own, followed by an interception return for a touchdown to regain the lead 16-13 at the close of the first quarter.
The Sharks responded midway through the second quarter on a Gardella pass to wide receiver Anthony Kodomichalos. Following another Bellarmine-Jefferson turnover forced by the Malibu defense, Gardella found his favorite target Cassone for a 52-yard score. The Sharks took a 27-16 lead into halftime.
The Sharks opened the second half in decisive fashion, completing the drive with their usual weaponry, Gardella to Cassone, for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
On the ensuing possession the Sharks again forced a Guards turnover, a fumble recovered by nose guard Eddie Johnstone.
The Sharks capitalized on the short field opportunity with Vincent scoring on the second of his three rushing touchdowns. The Sharks added an Apollo Loomis field goal at the end of the third quarter to extend their lead to 44-24.
The Guards fought back in the fourth quarter, cutting Malibu's lead to 44-32 after an 87-yard touchdown run.
The Sharks responded with their own big play, a 57-yard touchdown run by Vincent.
After the Guards turned the ball over on downs, the Sharks finished their scoring outburst with a dazzling 24-yard run by Cassone on a reverse.
The Guards added one more score against the Sharks second unit.
"It's starting to come together," head coach Ray Humphrey said. "We’re starting to get healthy, we’re starting to hit our stride, and these guys are playing their butts off. Our line is playing great, and we’re running the ball a lot better. Our running is opening up our passing game.”
The Sharks' front-five was made up of Jordan Klarenbeck, Mario Yocupicio, Eddie Johnstone, Taurino Ruiz, and Cooper Barton.
"Matt Vincent has stepped up and taken on the challenge," Humphrey said. "The kid is a sophomore from heaven. He’s that good."
Vincent ended the game with 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
"It’s good to see [senior linebacker] Alden Quartz and [junior receiver] Dylan Miller back on the field and being able to contribute," Humphrey said.
Humphrey commented on their opponent:
“Bell-Jeffs has a varied offense, and they like to confuse you with a lot of looks. They do a good job there. It’s a new coaching staff, and they’re building a strong program. They challenged us, but we’ve got freshman and sophomores stepping up, and all our guys are just playing with so much heart. It’s great to watch. I’m proud of them.”