Troy Starr looked like a little boy on Christmas playing with a new toy.
The Woodland Hills Taft High coach had the time of his life calling plays and letting his team's many offensive weapons generate touchdowns Friday night during a 38-28 victory over Crenshaw in a City Championship semifinal at San Pedro High.
Receiver Noah Smith caught two touchdown passes and scored on a run. Receiver Steve Smith caught a touchdown pass. Running back Justin Tryon rushed for 160 yards in 20 carries and scored one touchdown. Quarterback Cary Dove completed 10 of 18 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns. It was a devastating offensive performance by a Taft team that showed how much it has improved in a 13-week period.
The Toreadors (10-2) opened the season with a 21-14 loss to Crenshaw (10-1). But it's almost December, a time Starr takes personally. The Toreadors are 5-0 in City semifinals during his 10-year tenure.
"We want to be peaking right now," Starr said. "You get true respect by the way you play in December."
In earning a place in the City championship game next Friday at the Coliseum against Dorsey, Taft was dominant for the first 12:04 of the second half. Leading 17-12 at the half, the Toreadors scored three consecutive touchdowns to break the game open, 38-12.
Steve Smith, double-and tripled-teamed much of the night, started the onslaught with a 44-yard touchdown reception. Paul Pratt followed with an interception, setting up a 29-yard touchdown run by Tryon. Finally, Noah Smith, runner-up in the City 100 meters last track season, caught a 39-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
"They had three people everywhere I went," Steve Smith said. "They tried to stop me, but they got hurt by everyone else, and it shows how good a team we have."
Taft's defense, led by linebacker Lance Broadus, forced Crenshaw to give up the ball by stopping the Cougars on fourth down.
Crenshaw's Corey Hudson rushed for 155 yards in 18 carries and scored one touchdown.