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Fall Notebook : Battle of Defending Titlists Goes to Franklin

September 22, 1988

By defeating last year's City Section 4-A Division champion Granada Hills High, 21-14, Friday night, defending 3-A titlist Franklin took a big step toward respectability among some of the more publicized Los Angeles teams.

Panthers' running back Lamont Lovett saw a chink in the Highlanders' armor.

"Knowing that they had such a big defense I expected a tough game," said Lovett, who rushed for 110 yards in 22 carries and had gains of 15, 25 and 30 yards nullified by penalties. "But when we watched films, we saw a lot of holes in the defense and I figured we would move on them."

And Lovett, who gained 246 yards in just 16 carries and had runs of 75 and 80 yards wiped out by penalties against Jordan 3 weeks ago, doesn't plan on being shut down by anyone.

"I'm definitely on course," he said. "I feel like I can get 200 yards every game--150 at least."

Tony Gourdine, Franklin's running back coach, says a strong performance was vital to maintain Lovett's confidence.

"He's right where I want him to be," Gourdine said. "It proved to him that he can run against the big boys and be a quality back."

If Lovett cools off, All-City receiver Chad Infranca shouldn't have a problem shouldering the offensive duties. Against Granada, Infranca had 11 catches for 120 yards.

"He's a proven player," Coach Armando Gonzalez said of Infranca, who caught 63 passes for 1,030 yards and 17 touchdowns last year. "He's got to maintain it and prove it wasn't a one-year thing."

In his first varsity start, quarterback Santiago Alvarez completed 25 of 35 attempts for 250 yards and had 3 passes intercepted.

"Santiago had the best first game that any of my quarterbacks have ever had," said Gonzalez, who has coached 4 All-City quarterbacks since 1980. "He still made mistakes, though. He tried to force the ball and that's why he threw those picks.

"If he would have just zipped it, he would've been fine."

Big D for the Dynamiters: Glendale High has had surprising success running the ball, but a stingy defense has been equally responsible for the team's 2-0 start. A 23-3 victory over La Canada was a shining example.

"The running game went well but defensively, we really played well. That was the key," Coach Don Shoemaker said. "The defense is really what won the game for us."

Glendale limited La Canada to 1 yard in total offense when, with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, the Spartans recovered a fumble and drove 20 yards for their only score, a 37-yard field goal.

La Canada managed only 77 yards in total offense even though Glendale was missing a pair of defensive starters to injuries.

"I expected the defense to do well," said Shoemaker, who has 8 returning starters on his defensive unit. "They never let La Canada get any sustained drives."

And while the defense was stifling La Canada, the offense--led by running backs Rafik Thorossian and Corey White--was running wild. Thorossian had 105 yards in total offense and scored 3 touchdowns and White had 86 yards rushing in 16 carries and had a touchdown run nullified by a penalty.

Passing fancy: Hoover High's running game has been led by a pair of receivers. Michael Rotondi (82 yards in 5 carries) and Jim Corrigan (79 yards in 7 carries) not only have outgained running backs Stan Phan (84 yards in 18 carries) and Chad Rinn (72 yards in 13 carries), but have been more efficient in doing so.

But the nicest surprise for Coach Dennis Hughes thus far has been quarterback Steve Solano. In his first year at the position, the senior has become quite adept at running the option.

"He's better than I thought he would be," Hughes said. "Much better."

Changing address: Robert Hooper, who served as an assistant basketball coach for the Occidental men's team last season, was named women's basketball coach at Glendale College on Tuesday.

Stat watch: Glendale has rushed for 473 yards, an average of 236.5 yards in 2 games. Pacific League rival Crescenta Valley has only 214 yards in total offense in its first 2 games.

Hoover running back Stan Phan has 86 yards in total offense this season, about 18% of the Tornadoes' 465 total yards. But Phan has scored 18 points, more than half of Hoover's total of 32.

Crescenta Valley gained 25 yards rushing in 26 carries in its 13-3 loss to Los Altos. Quarterback Hyok Chang was sacked 5 times for minus-31 yards and running backs Aaron Erickson (2 yards in 3 carries) and Vic Ramirez (1 yard, 4 carries) couldn't break the 1-rush, 1-yard barrier, either.

On their marks: The Glendale College cross-country team will run in its first meet of the season Friday afternoon at Santa Barbara City College. The meet starts at 3 p.m.

Sam Farmer and staff writer Chris J. Parker contributed to this notebook.

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