There were many tangible reasons why Granada Hills High defeated San Fernando on Thursday night--and why it was in such lopsided fashion.
For instance, San Fernando turned the ball over four times and the Highlanders turned the miscues into 21 points.
And maybe it had something to do with Brett Washington and Leon Glasgow, who rushed for a combined 258 yards.
Or factor in the Granada Hills defense, which held San Fernando to 80 yards.
Or perhaps we should let San Fernando Coach Tom Hernandez explain.
"Well, they're a little better than us," he said.
A little went a long way for Granada Hills, which defeated San Fernando, 38-14, in a North Valley League showdown at Granada Hills.
Granada Hills (9-0 overall, 6-0 in league play) clinched at least a share of the league title and the league's No. 1 seeding in the playoffs. The Highlanders have won or shared a league title in each of the past four years.
San Fernando (5-4, 5-1) hung tough for 2 1/2 quarters. The Tigers pulled into a 14-14 tie when LaKarlos Townsend returned Granada Hills' first punt of the second half 66 yards for a touchdown, tying a San Fernando record for three special-teams touchdowns in a season.
Granada Hills seemed to have stalled on its next possession when Washington was tackled on a third-down play at the Granada Hills 22. San Fernando's Danny Wright was called for a facemask penalty, however, giving the Highlanders a first down. Washington broke free down the right sideline on the next play for a 78-yard score, giving the Highlanders a 21-14 lead.
"We thought we were gonna hold them down there, but we got that penalty," Hernandez said. "Then he busted one, and it was all over."
Washington finished with 165 yards in 19 carries and also scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. Glasgow finished with 93 yards in 15 carries and scored on runs of three, six and 13 yards to pace the Granada Hills ground game.
"We've been waiting for this game since last year," Glasgow said in reference to San Fernando's 24-3 victory. "It was like a championship game to us."
A San Fernando turnover set the stage for Granada Hills' first score. Martin's 50-yard punt pinned the Tigers at their three-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Michael Wynn fumbled into the middle of the line and Granada Hills' Henry Shim recovered at the three.
Glasgow cut through the right side on the Highlanders' first play for a 7-0 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers nearly repeated the error on their next possession when Townsend fumbled at the San Fernando 23 and the ball was recovered by Highlander defensive back Derrick Stewart. San Fernando took advantage of a Granada Hills personal foul and a sack of quarterback Bryan Martin to move the Highlanders out of scoring range.
Granada Hills scored on its next possession, however, to take a 14-0 lead with 8:48 left in the half. Glasgow scored around right end from six yards--he carried five times for 55 yards in the drive.
Johnny Carter fielded the ensuing kickoff at the nine and broke through the middle of the Highlander coverage for 82 yards, to the Granada Hills nine-yard line. Eric Moss saved a touchdown by hauling down Carter from behind.
After two running plays netted six yards, Wynn scored out of the wishbone formation from three yards to bring San Fernando within 14-6 with 8:28 left in the half. The conversion failed because of a high snap.
Washington, who entered the game ranked second in the Northwest Valley Conference in rushing with 917 yards, passed the 1,000-yard barrier on his 78-yard scoring run.
Martin, who completed five of nine passes for 60 yards, now has 1,022 passing yards. Wynn, a senior, completed only one of 10 attempts for three yards. Townsend was San Fernando's leading ballcarrier with 30 yards in 12 carries.
Glasgow actually lowered his rushing average on his six-yard scoring run. Prior to the carry, he had gained 60 yards in six first-half carries. The Highlanders gained 130 yards on the ground in the half.