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Garfield Holds Off Narbonne

Football: Bulldogs play keep-away, take advantage of six fumbles in 17-14 victory.


Garfield High Coach John Aguirre, his teaming trying to hold a lead against Narbonne on Wednesday night, twice gambled on fourth and short in the second half, and twice came up short.

Still, Garfield prevailed, 17-14, at Gardena High in the second round of the City Section 4-A Division playoffs, establishing a matchup against San Pedro a week from Friday and a new logic on how to win a football game.

"They have such great athletes, they had us baffled," Aguirre said. "We had to go for it. The only way to beat them is to keep their offense off the field. We didn't make it but we still won, so it must have worked."

Garfield won because it took advantage of six Narbonne fumbles, the biggest coming after the second of Aguirre's gambles, with 2:19 left in the game. Narbonne drove 74 yards to the Bulldog 10, and just as it looked as though Aguirre's decision would come back to bite him, Gaucho running back Barry Yarbough fumbled, Garfield recovered and ran out the clock.

"That was the biggest play of the game," Aguirre said. "No doubt."

Doubt blanketed the Garfield sideline at 6:53 in the third quarter when Aguirre called a run on fourth and one near midfield with the Bulldogs holding a 17-7 lead.

Running back Latarrin Shepard was stopped in the backfield, and one play later Gaucho quarterback Damien Johnson flipped a pass to Cameron Taylor in the flat and he raced 45 yards for a touchdown.

That seemed to start momentum in Narbonne's direction, and it continued when Garfield fumbled on its next possession.

But the Bulldogs caused a fumble of their own two plays later, recovered and then drove deep into Gaucho territory before the second of Aguirre's gambles.

Narbonne surprised Garfield to open the game, Ronnie Byrd chipping a perfect onside kick past the Bulldog front where it was recovered by Gaucho Anthony Henderson. Four plays later, on fourth and two from the 38-yard line, Taylor ran almost untouched up the middle for a 7-0 lead.

Quarterback Carlos Garcia led Garfield back. On consecutive passing plays, he connected with David Arroyo for 35 yards and Javier Perez for 22. The latter went to the Gaucho three-yard line where Shepard scored on the next play.

Shepard gave Garfield the lead after a Narbonne fumble at the Bulldog eight, plunging in from the one.

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