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/ WEEK 11 : FIELD REPORT

Granada Hills Can Go Deep in Playoffs With Rodriguez

November 18, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER

When you're seeded No. 14 among 16 teams, it usually means an early exit from the playoffs.

But don't tell that to Granada Hills High, which pulled off the biggest upset in the opening round of the City Championship playoffs with a 30-12 victory over No. 3-seeded Westchester on Thursday night.

The Highlanders (8-3) will play Wednesday night at Banning (6-6) in a quarterfinal.

Crucial to Granada Hills' effort was the return of big-play receiver Joey Rodriguez, who missed the previous two games with a dislocated shoulder.

Rodriguez caught three passes for 74 yards and helped relieve defensive pressure on running back Robert Ortega, who gained 106 yards in 23 carries and scored two touchdowns.

"It was a big deal," Co-Coach Tom Harp said of Rodriguez's return. "He gave us another weapon. He caught two passes for over 30 yards each. It gave us a deep threat. He's so quick and he's so hard to cover."

Other quarterfinal games Wednesday include Taft playing Crenshaw at South Gate, Birmingham playing Carson at Long Beach Veterans Stadium and Sylmar hosting San Pedro.

In the City Invitational quarterfinals, San Fernando plays at Gardena, Canoga Park at Fremont and Narbonne at Chatsworth.

*

The legend of Steve Smith continues to grow.

Offensive coordinator Dean Herrington of Hart went to Taft's playoff game against Marshall on Thursday night to watch Smith, a sophomore wide receiver.

"Oh, my God--he's the best high school receiver I've ever seen," Herrington said. "A couple balls I thought [quarterback Rick] Clausen overthrew him by 15 yards and he caught up to them."

Smith has 87 catches this season.

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