In 12 weeks, not much has changed for the Sylmar High football team.
The undefeated Spartans gave another typically sharp effort and came out winners.
Garfield is the latest to fall prey to Sylmar's punishing defense and powerful offense. The Spartans overcame a seven-point deficit and overwhelmed Garfield, 27-7, Friday night in a City Section 4-A Division semifinal in front of an estimated 5,000 at Sylmar.
Top-seeded Sylmar (12-0) will face Carson on Saturday at El Camino College for the championship. It is Sylmar's first appearance in a championship game since 1983, when Franklin beat the Spartans, 14-0, in the 2-A final. Garfield, which knocked off Banning and Marshall in the opening rounds, finishes 8-5.
It was business as usual for the Spartans.
Sylmar's dynamic duo, tailback Tyrone Crenshaw and fullback Ibn Bilal, rushed for 248 of the Spartans' 274 yards on the ground. Crenshaw, who rushed for 170 yards in 22 carries, scored touchdowns on runs of eight and two yards and became Sylmar's single-season rushing leader with 1,693 yards. "I could have had negative three yards," a humble Crenshaw said, "as long as we win."
The Spartan defense recorded five sacks for minus-46 yards and limited the Bulldogs to 90 yards. Garfield tailback Armando Figuero rushed for 94 yards in 20 carries but paid the price against a hard-hitting defense.
"The defense has played well all year," linebacker Tyrone Pierce said. "We don't get any recognition because our offense is so good."
After Garfield scored four minutes into the game, Sylmar answered with a nifty drive of on its first possession. Seven plays after Dwight Patton's 32-yard kickoff return, Crenshaw dashed around left tackle John Gonzales on an eight-yard scoring run.
The Spartans scored again on their first possession of the second quarter. Quarterback Deon Price faked a handoff to Crenshaw and ran five yards to give Sylmar a 13-7 lead. Price scored again on an identical play in the fourth quarter to give Sylmar a 27-7 lead.