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Granada Hills Takes Advantage of Mistakes


RESEDA — One week after a disappointing tie, the Granada Hills High football team solidified its chances for a City Section 4-A Division playoff berth with a 24-12 victory over Cleveland in a Northwest Valley Conference game Friday night.

The victory gives Granada Hills a 4-1-1 record in conference play (5-3-1 overall) and erases several doubts after the Highlanders tied Birmingham last week. The tie made Granada Hills Coach Tom Harp think about having to possibly prepare his team for the 3-A playoffs.

"I think we definitely have a shot at the 4-A now," Harp said. "We're going to need another good solid game next week, but we are definitely looking for the 4-A."

Granada Hills quarterback Brian MacLean, the leading passer in the area, completed 11 of 17 passes for 147 yards, but only two completions were longer than 13 yards.

Cleveland emphasized stopping MacLean and the passing attack, which opened holes for running back Eric Richardson, who gained a season-high 101 yards in 13 carries and scored on a 23-yard run on the Highlanders' first possession.

"We were pretty steady all night, it wasn't anything spectacular," MacLean said. "We were able to move the ball by both running and passing. It kept us in control."

Cleveland (4-5, 3-3) stayed close to the Highlanders, but several mistakes in critical situations, including two unsuccessful fourth-down plays, sealed the Cavaliers' fate.

The Highlanders took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 57-yard, eight-play drive that was capped by MacLean's seven-yard pass to Eric Carpenter.

Cleveland mounted a 15-play drive that took eight minutes but failed on a fourth-down play deep in Granada Hills territory just before halftime.

Cleveland did come back with two scores in the second half. After Granada Hills added a field goal, quarterback Johnny Lopez (six of 15, 95 yards) connected with Alex Kalinowski (five receptions, 83 yards) on a 27-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 17-6.

Cleveland's Junior Brignac connected with Russell Burwell on a 59-yard touchdown pass play on the final play.

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