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North Hollywood Rebounds to Claim Its First Victory, 26-15

October 15, 1994|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAN NUYS — Less than 3 1/2 minutes had elapsed in Friday's Valley Pac-8 Conference football game at Grant High, yet things looked painfully familiar to North Hollywood Coach Gary Gray.

North Hollywood had lost 21 yards on its first offensive possession--which led to a Grant safety--and its defense had allowed a touchdown on the Lancers' ensuing two-play, 41-yard drive. But the Huskies managed to reverse a season-long trend, rallying for a 26-15 victory, their first of the year.

Grant (1-4-1, 0-3) suffered its fourth consecutive loss.

"We've started poorly in every game this season," Gray said. "And after those first two series, I could see the team was down on itself. But I just told them to start taking care of their assignments and we'd be OK."

The Huskies (1-5, 1-2) prospered behind the running of Dante Clay and the passing of Jesus Acosta. Clay, who gained 117 yards in 24 carries, scored on an eight-yard run on the first play of the second quarter to cut North Hollywood's deficit to 9-6.

Acosta (10 of 12 for 132 yards) followed with a 36-yard scoring pass to Daniel Curtin to give the Huskies a 12-9 lead.

Grant countered with a nine-play, 65-yard drive of its own--capped by Di-Onte Smith's six-yard run--to take a 15-12 lead at halftime. Smith, who has gained 1,068 yards this season, rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns in 21 carries.

He was held to 34 yards in 10 carries in the second half, however.

The Huskies scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the third quarter. The touchdowns came on a two-yard run by fullback Saul Lopez and a five-yard run by Clay.

"Everyone was trying to make this out as a battle of the names," Clay said of rival tailback Smith. "You know, Dante versus Di-Onte, but I didn't really worry about it. I was pleased with the offensive line today. They were really opening up a lot of holes for me."

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