Kory Hall’s long touchdown grab helps Cleveland beat Palisades

After being contained for most of the game, Kory Hall pulled a single cover on the touchline and caught a 68-yard touchdown pass from Emiliano Lopez midway through the fourth quarter, and Cleveland never looked back.

In a preseason match between two teams vying for the City Section Open Division playoffs, the Cavaliers stayed on course with a 34-14 nonleague win over Palisades in an undefeated duel Friday night in Reseda.

“I play both ways, and when I’m not playing offense to help my team, I’m doing it defensively,” Hall said. “I think a lot of people overslept us, but we think we can keep up with anyone.”

Cleveland (4-0) improved to an all-time 6-8 against Palisades and won for the second time in the teams’ five meetings in the last six seasons.

The Dolphins (3-1) suffered only their third loss in 20 games dating back to spring 2021.

While both teams started the night undefeated, their opponents’ combined record was 3-19, so it didn’t stand a serious test. Now everyone has, and for Cleveland the needle is still pointing up.

Donovan Powell opened the scoring with a 13-yard run for the Cavaliers, who avenged a 39-0 shutout at Palisades last fall. Hall set up the score with a 30-yard interception return to the Dolphins’ 45-yard line.

Cleveland quarterback Emiliano Lopez attempts to dodge Palisades defensive end Immanuel Robinson on Sept. 16, 2022.

Cleveland quarterback Emiliano Lopez tries to escape the grip of Palisades defensive end Immanuel Robinson Friday night.

(Steve Galluzzo / For the Times)

Mikael King-Haagen responded early in the second quarter with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Roman La Scala, but Daniel Guzman’s one-yard scoring run put Cleveland back 14-7 ahead. Palisades had a first down at the Cavaliers six-yard line late in the first half, but quarterback Zachary Lifton got bagged and fumbled with a second left.

King-Haagen caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from La Scala early in the third quarter to tie it 14-14, but Andrew Shackelford caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Lopez five minutes later to help the Cavaliers stay in to bring leadership.

Five miles away, Granada Hills hosted Eagle Rock in the city’s other big game that affected the Open Division playoffs, but Cleveland’s defense proved the big difference against Palisades, catching two fumbles and intercepting three passes.

Hall’s touchdown made it 27-14 with a 7:09 in the fourth quarter, and Powell tacked on a six-yard touchdown run to give the final lead.

Hall, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior, entered the game as one of the city’s best wide receivers, having caught six passes for 231 yards in a 35-7 win at Canoga Park the week before and caught four points. He lived up to the hype against Palisades.

Palisades traffic jam Chris Washington runs for a first down in the first quarter.

Palisades traffic jam Chris Washington runs against Cleveland for a first down in the first quarter.

(Steve Galluzzo / For the Times)

“On touchdown I just had to make a play. … I got a step on the defender and the ball was in a perfect spot,” Hall said. “I just had to catch it.”

Cleveland was 6-3 last year and lost to Dorsey 34-28 in the quarterfinals of the City Division I playoffs. Palisades won its first 11 games last year before losing to San Pedro 33-17 in the Open Division semifinals.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-09-16/kory-hall-helps-lead-cleveland-to-victory-over-palisades Kory Hall’s long touchdown grab helps Cleveland beat Palisades

Emma Bowman

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