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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Banning in Control at End, Beats Upstart Granada Hills

City Championship: Pilots hold Highlanders scoreless in second half for 28-21 quarterfinal victory.

November 23, 2000|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

WILMINGTON — It was a game of distinct momentum swings.

Banning High dominated the first quarter and Granada Hills ruled the second quarter.

But when it mattered the most in the second half, Banning was clearly in control.

The Pilots held Granada Hills scoreless in the second half for a come-from-behind 28-21 victory Wednesday night in a City Championship quarterfinal at Banning.

The victory advances the Pilots (6-6) to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons.

Banning won behind its powerful one-two rushing combination of A.J. Tuitele and Sal Guerrero.

Tuitele finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns in 27 carries and Guerrero had 140 yards in 21 carries.

"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," said Tom Harp, Granada Hills co-coach. "In the second half it boiled down to execution."

Banning trailed, 21-13, at halftime but strung together two touchdown drives in the second half.

The first ended with a 14-yard scoring pass from Damian Satelle to Jeff Herrera midway through the third quarter and the second ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Tuitele early in the fourth.

Granada Hills (8-4) had an opportunity to tie the score late in the fourth quarter, driving 35 yards to the Banning 31 with 2:18 remaining.

But on fourth down, Jason Rilloraza couldn't hold on to a pass by Bobby Baca. Banning then ran out the clock.

"We had some things happen in the first half that shouldn't have, but we knew what was at stake and we came out strong in the second half," Banning Coach Ed Lalau said.

It was the second year in a row that the Highlanders lost to a Marine League team in the quarterfinals, falling to Carson last year.

Baca completed 12 of 22 passes for 100 yards and Joey Rodriguez had six catches for 75 yards for Granada Hills. Banning out-gained the Highlanders, 330-232.

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