Jeremy Leach has never been known as the grandest of Granada Hills ballcarriers. When most opposing coaches describe The Times All-Valley quarterback, it usually sounds something along the lines of "great gun, bad gams."
In Friday night's City Section 4-A semifinal game, Leach decided to throw in a little wheeling with his pass-dealing.
Leach, a 6-2 senior, rushed for 38 yards and scored Granada Hills' first two touchdowns on runs of seven and three yards. In addition, he passed for 190 yards and four touchdowns as the Highlanders easily defeated Cleveland, 55-6. Granada Hills (8-3) will play in the City final against Carson, which defeated San Fernando, 31-9, in Friday's other semifinal. It will mark Granada Hills' first appearance in the final since 1970.
Leach threw scoring passes of 21, 26, 43 and 22 yards, which gives him 32 passing touchdowns this season. Leach has thrown for 2,493 yards. He completed 12 of 15 passes against the Cavaliers, including eight in a row in the second half--three of four completions in that span went for touchdowns.
Leach wasn't alone, however. Running back Jamal Farmer scored twice, as did reserve tailback Jamie Sandoval. Granada Hills scored on eight of 10 possessions.
"Hemorrhoids are more fun than that game was," Cleveland Coach Steve Landress said. "Granada has some great players. They play good defense and those skill guys can just kill you."
Granada Hills certainly has been a pain in Landress' backside. Granada Hills started a six-game win streak with a 35-13 victory over Cleveland in the regular season. The high-flying Highlanders have outscored their opponents, 213-48, over that stretch.
Granada Hills led, 55-0, before Cleveland finally scored on a four-yard run by Sean Burwell with 3:44 left. By then, Granada Hills had run away with it, led at first by the fleet feet of Leach.
"It sort of bothers me that people think I can't run," Leach said. "I know I can run, but we run an offense where I stay in the pocket."
The game was in the pocket of the Highlanders--the fourth quarter was played with a running clock. It was Granada Hills' highest offensive output since a 56-point performance against Westlake last year.
After Leach rambled for his two scores on the ground, Farmer scored from 22 yards out on a run up the right sideline, giving Granada Hills a 20-0 second-quarter lead.
Leach connected with Farmer for a 21-yard scoring strike on the next possession to give Granada Hills a 27-0 lead at the half.
Leach then hit All-Valley tight end Sean Brown for a 26-yard touchdown pass on the first possession of the second half. Brown, who intercepted two passes--he has six this season--has caught 10 touchdown passes this year.
All-Valley receiver Kyle Jan caught the next scoring pass from Leach, this one from 43 yards. With the catch, Jan broke the school record for touchdown receptions (14) in a season, formerly shared by Paul Bergman and Greg Fowble.
Sandoval then scored on a one-yard run, which was set up two plays earlier by his 59-yard scamper to the Cleveland four.
Cleveland had just 76 yards in total offense, the second consecutive game the Highlanders have held their opponent under 100 yards.