The high school football rivalry between Westlake and Oaks Christian existed only in distance – about a mile separates their campuses – before Friday night.
Then, before a nationally televised audience and a sold-out crowd of more than 6,000, the two teams met for the first time in 11 years, a move orchestrated when Oaks Christian was placed in the Marmonte League for football.
But Westlake, which so often conceded territorial spotlight to the perennial power Lions, came in as the favorite, ranked No. 2 in the Southland by The Times, and the Warriors left as 31-12 victors.
The win extended Westlake's program-record winning streak to 18 straight games, and it was made possible by quarterback Nick Isham, who completed 21 of 27 passes for 287 yards with two passing touchdowns and one rushing score.
Isham got plenty of help from receiver Nelson Spruce, who caught eight passes for 129 yards and two of those scores, as well as running back Tavior Mowry, who rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Yet Westlake (4-0, 2-0 Marmonte League) didn't truly pull away until the second half. Both teams were scoreless in the first quarter and the game's first score didn't come until 10:34 in the second when Mowry plowed in from two yards out after an 80-yard drive, most of which came on 46-yard catch by Spruce.
The Lions (2-2, 2-1) countered with a 61-yard scoring drive that began after an Isham interception and ended with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Oaks Christian quarterback Richie Harrington to receiver Blair Holliday.
The Lions missed the extra-point kick, though, which came back to haunt them.
In the third quarter, trailing 14-6 after Isham's second scoring toss to Spruce just before halftime, Harrington completed a long drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Holliday.
The Lions decided to go for two, but Holliday, who finished with 76 receiving yards and two touchdowns on six catches, was stopped for a loss on a rushing play and the conversion failed.
After another scoring drive by Westlake, which ended with an Isham one-yard touchdown run, Oaks Christian got the ball back, but fumbled it, and seemingly the game, away.
On the very next play, Isham threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Spruce to push Westlake's lead to 28-12 with a few minutes left in the third quarter. And on Oaks Christian's very next play after getting the ball back, Harrington's long pass was intercepted by Westlake cornerback Casey Blake.
Harrington, who was filling in for injured Oaks Christian quarterback Trevor Gretzky, finished 20 of 31 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Lions running back Ishmael Adams ran for 61 yards on 13 carries.
In all, Westlake outgained Oaks Christian on the offensive side, 388 yards to 287.