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San Fernando Edged in Offensive Show, 36-34

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

In the football office at San Fernando High, Tom Hernandez’s picture hangs on the wall along with dozens of former Tiger greats. Hernandez, in uniform and in a four-point stance, appears boyish and clean-shaven.

The photo was taken in 1974, which is a few months from the last time San Fernando defeated Banning.

Friday night at San Fernando, Banning defeated the Tigers for the 10th consecutive time, 36-34, in a City Section 4-A Division playoff game.

San Fernando last defeated Banning in 1975, a year after Hernandez graduated. Is the word cursed too strong?

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“I don’t know,” said San Fernando quarterback Michael Wynn. “I guess it’s mental. When you come in here and you know it’s 0-10 or whatever, it’s always there in the back of your mind.”

Despite a career-best performance by Wynn--who passed for 237 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for 46 more yards--San Fernando (9-4) just couldn’t stave off the Pilots (11-2).

After Wynn passed to Max Garcia for 13 yards to give the Tigers a 34-29 lead, Banning took possession with 6:56 to play.

The Pilots converted a key play at the Banning 49 when on fourth and 1, quarterback John Ma’ae bulled up the middle for 9 yards. One play later, halfback Keith Mimms (60 yards in 16 carries) ran for 17 yards to the San Fernando 36.

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Banning picked up another first down on a pass-interference call on Sean Williams to move to the 11, where the Tigers’ defense stiffened and the drive seemed destined to stall.

On third and 7 from the San Fernando 8, Ma’ae threw to the left flat. San Fernando’s Keary Johns got both hands on the ball and had clear sailing to the end zone, but dropped the ball.

On the next play, Mimms took a pitch from Ma’ae and rolled to his right, pulled up, and threw back across the field to a wide-open Ma’ae for the touchdown, giving Banning a 36-34 lead with 2:37 left.

“We tried that twice before this year and it didn’t work,” Banning Coach Joe Dominguez said. “It’s called 48 sweep pass.”

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He should have said sweet.

Wynn couldn’t rally the Tigers after that. He was sacked on fourth down at the San Fernando 36 with 40 seconds left, and Banning ran out the clock.

“We had our chances,” Hernandez said. “That dropped interception was the ballgame. Johns had a great game, but I know what he was thinking--end zone. That really hurt.”

Wynn nearly won it by himself, accounting for 283 yards. He threw scoring passes of 67 yards to Williams, 13 to Garcia, and 15 and 22 to Eddie Carrillo.

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