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GAME DAY / A Look at Today's Key Matchups

November 25, 1998



At Granada Hills High, 7 p.m.

Stopping Westchester's wishbone is the latest challenge facing top-seeded Granada Hills. Charles Drake of Westchester might be the best running back in the City Section. Co-coach Darryl Stroh of Granada Hills is familiar with the wishbone, having devised schemes to slow San Fernando and the likes of Charles White and Kevin Williams. "I played San Fernando for 25 years when they were running that thing," Stroh said. "I know how not to play it." Jason Winn of Granada Hills is reaching peak form. Last week, he passed for a school-record six touchdowns. He has passed for 2,236 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Highlanders will try to slow the Comets with linebacker Adrian Padilla and defensive backs Peter Gunny, Gerald Jones and Josh Brandon.


* BANNING (8-3) vs. SYLMAR (8-2-1)

At Sylmar High, 7 p.m.

Sylmar needed a last-minute, 59-yard touchdown on a gadget play--"a miracle," Coach Jeff Engilman called it--to defeat San Pedro last week, 21-17. The Spartans must play better to beat Banning, which defeated San Pedro earlier this month, 40-9. Banning, which won six City titles in a row from 1976-81, has won 10 titles in all. Sylmar had two touchdowns called back last week because of penalties. Corey Neal rushed for 198 yards in 32 carries, though it was a reception by Neal from tight end George Wrighster that won the game with 13 seconds left. Sylmar has recent tradition on its side. The Spartans defeated Banning in a 1994 City quarterfinal, 28-27, en route to winning the 4-A title.


* TAFT (9-2) vs. VENICE (11-0)

At Venice High, 7 p.m.

Defensive coordinator Frank Grossman of Taft will try to figure a way to stop the second-seeded Gondoliers and J.P. Losman. One of the top three quarterbacks in Southern California, Losman has passed for 3,272 yards and 47 touchdowns. Middle linebacker Dionte Hall, cornerbacks Lawrence Wallace and Ronald Andrews, and safety Lee Marks will play prominent roles for Taft. The Toreadors should be able to score points, especially if Marquis Brignac--who has gained 1,404 yards--is recovered from a sprained ankle sustained in a 43-8 victory over Crenshaw last week. The only common opponent is El Camino Real. Venice defeated the Conquistadores, 42-14, last week, while Taft won, 42-0.


* CHATSWORTH (6-5) vs. BELMONT (7-4)

At Belmont High, 7 p.m.

Chatsworth's passing attack could produce problems for a Belmont team that lost to pass-happy Franklin, 45-0, in Northern Conference play. Matt Cassel of Chatsworth has passed for a school-record 2,302 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Chancellors have an underrated rushing attack with backs Jason Holmes and Rafael Cansino. Quarterback Oscar Perez of Belmont has passed for 1,027 yards and four touchdowns, and Saul Villa who has rushed for 1,003 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.


* EAGLE ROCK (7-4) vs. VAN NUYS (8-3)

At Van Nuys High, 7 p.m.

The Wolves had one of the toughest defenses in the Valley Pac-8 Conference, but they will be tested by Eagle Rock, which can be explosive. The Eagles scored 27 points in the second half of a 36-13 victory over sixth-seeded Bell in the first round. Torwin Session completed 19 of 43 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Third-seeded Van Nuys had few problems with Hollywood, winning, 32-6, and holding the Sheiks to 160 yards. Van Nuys does have some firepower--Bobby Hernandez has passed for 1,753 yards and 14 touchdowns, nine of them to Jermaine Lucious.


* L.A. JORDAN (6-4) vs. RESEDA (7-4)

At Reseda High, 7 p.m.

The Regents meet resurgent Jordan, which was 0-18 during the 1996 and '97 seasons. Coach Doi Johnson, in his third year, guided the Bulldogs to a 4-3 record and sixth place in the nine-team Southeastern Conference. Reseda, third-place finishers in the Valley Pac-8 Conference, has allowed as many points, 207, as it has scored. Joseph Looney has rushed for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Regents. Skyler McKnight has completed 28 of 59 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. He has rushed for 416 yards and eight touchdowns.

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