Hart High's opponents this season have relied on two inevitables: The Hart offense moves the ball and scores a lot of points but the defense almost always gives back all the yards and points.
Hart entered Friday night's game against San Gabriel with the second-best offense in the Valley area but the most vulnerable defense. But against the Matadors, Hart did something very unexpected: the Indians stopped the Matadors cold as Hart scored a 35-13, Foothill League win at College of the Canyons.
"We have a lot of pride in our defense, it just took a little while to get it going," Hart Coach Rick Scott said.
San Gabriel (4-2, 1-0 in the league) entered the game averaging 26.4 points per game while holding opponents to a little more than touchdown a game.
But Hart (5-1, 1-0 in league) shut down the San Gabriel rushing attack. Although the Indians gave up 295 total yards, most of that yardage came toward the end of the game when Hart already held a three-touchdown lead.
"We were more aggressive," Hart defensive coordinator Mike Herrington said. "We're starting to come along defensively."
Hart quarterback Darren Renfro, the Valley-area's leading passer, missed on his first two attempts and four of his first six. But when Renfro finally warmed up, so did Hart. Renfro threw three first-half touchdowns, including a pair to tight end Brian Allen, who finished with four catches for 99 yards.
Renfro completed 17 of 30 for 259 yards and 4 touchdowns with one interception. Renfro threw a 49-yard scoring pass to Allen at the end of the first quarter to put Hart ahead, 6-0. Renfro and Allen teamed in the second quarter on a 14-yard pass.
After San Gabriel's Anthony White scored on a four-yard pass from Dan Bachman, Hart running back Craig Whitten scored on a 44-yard pass from Renfro to put Hart ahead, 18-7. Whitten had four receptions for 68 yards and rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries.
Steven Hart players finished with at least one reception.