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Taft Turning Up Heat, Downs Granada Hills


GRANADA HILLS — Beware, the defending City champions are beginning to growl.

"We're getting better--there's no doubt about it," Coach Troy Starr of Taft High said.

Behind Brandon Hance's passing, Lee Marks' running and Brandon Walker's receiving, the Toreadors (3-4, 2-0) made a shambles of Granada Hills' defense during a 41-29 victory in a West Valley League game Friday night at Granada Hills.

Hance completed 14 of 19 passes for 225 yards and one touchdown and ran for three touchdowns.

Marks rushed for 175 yards in 17 carries and scored on a 53-yard run.

Walker, a fullback, caught six passes for 97 yards.

Taft finished with 490 total yards.

The Toreadors produced 19 gains of 10 yards or longer.

Taft had scoring drives of 92, 82 and 80 yards. The Toreadors were so effective on offense that defensive coordinator Darryl Stroh of Granada Hills said they "can do more on offense" than the team that beat Banning last year at the Coliseum.

Since the second half against San Fernando two weeks ago, the Toreadors have put together 10 consecutive quarters of tremendous football.

"We're just getting better," Starr said. "If we keep improving, we'll be a team to reckon with."

Gregg Guenther, Taft's 6-foot-8 defensive end who had been sidelined with a shoulder injury, helped the Toreadors open a 28-7 halftime lead.

In the first half, he returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown, made a sack and deflected another pass that was intercepted by Walker.

"Guenther coming back has given us a big boost," Starr said.

The Highlanders scored on their first two possessions of the second half, but Taft responded each time.

Jason Winn of Granada Hills completed 17 of 36 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.

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