Week 12 of the City football season has arrived, and there's still no real game in sight for Carson High School, winner of the first 11 by a combined score of 423-62.
There's no reason to think this weekend's will be any different, even if it is for the 4-A championship.
After all, Granada Hills, now the only team standing between the Colts and an undefeated season anda second consecutive title, had a chance during the nonleague schedule and lost at home, 42-14.
This time, the teams will be at East Los Angeles College Friday night at 7:30 (Prime Ticket Sunday, 7:30 p.m.). Going in, both sides realize that the matchup betweenthe two top teams in the City, even with Granada Hills 8-3 and coming off its best games of the season in the semifinals and quarterfinals, could turn into a mismatch.
"They're strong everywhere, but their real strength is that they have no weaknesses," Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh said earlier this week.
The first meeting was marked, at least in the minds of Granada Hills' offensive linemen, by the Carson rush, often an uncontainable blitz of frustrating proportions. Quarterback Jeremy Leach rarely had a chance to take advantage of his strong arm or his three good receivers--Kyle Jan, Sean Brown and Darryl Stephenson.
"I hadn't seen any pressure like that before," Leach recalled. " . . . They're pretty devastating."
Carson's average against the run is minus -7.36 yards a game.
The Colts allow 80.1 yards a game through the air, while striking for 164.9 themselves with ambidextrous quarterback George Malauulu and his trio of receivers.
They have 69 sacks, with Arnold Ale, a linebacker, leading the way with 22. They have a running game that averages 6.9 yards a carry and 190 a game. The offense has scored in 39 of 44 quarters, gains 7.2 yards on first-down plays and 355 in a game.
Pretty devastating, indeed.
"I don't envy Darryl," Carson Coach Gene Vollnogle said, matter-of-factly. "I wouldn't want to play against us. We have too many people to stop."
Granada Hills' chances revolve around the passing game, hardly a secret, although the Highlanders displayed a good running game in a 55-6 rout of Reseda Cleveland last week in the semifinals.
Leach has thrown for 2,493 yards and 32 touchdowns this season, and all three receivers have good size to complement ability. Jan is 6 feet 4 inches; Brown, one of the best all-around athletes in the City, is 6-3, and Stephenson is 6-0.
But, of course, Carson knows the probable game plan and will be set to tee off against Leach and the pass with blitzes by what is probably the best set of linebackers in either the City or Southern Section.
"You can't let a guy like that (Leach) throw the ball at will," Vollnogle said. "They know we'll be going against the pass, so they will bring the (offensive) linemen in toe to toe."
For his part, Malauulu has completed 93 of 161 passes for 1,659 yards and 18 touchdowns, throwing just 3 interceptions. Running back Errol Sapp has rushed for 736 yards, averaging 9.4 each carry, and 9 touchdowns.