These are the dog days of fall for the Granada Hills High football team.
For the first time in co-Coach Darryl Stroh's eight seasons at the helm, the Highlanders are winless heading into conference play.
Granada Hills (0-3) entered Friday night's game without its top offensive threat and fell to visiting Ventura, 14-6, in a game that featured seven turnovers, four by the Highlanders.
It was the third consecutive loss to a Southern Section team for Granada Hills, a City Section school.
"I don't know why it was so close," Ventura Coach Harvey Kochel said. "That's what you call winning ugly."
Without rushing leader Raheem Kyle, who was sidelined because of a sprained left knee, the Highlanders had few weapons to throw at Ventura, ranked second in the region by The Times.
The one threat the Highlanders did have, tailback Tremain Foriest, led Granada Hills with 75 yards in 10 carries and scored the team's only touchdown on a nifty 94-yard kickoff return opening the third period.
Ventura countered with a 52-yard touchdown run by Devon Passno in the fourth period to take a 14-6 lead with 10 minutes 36 seconds to play. Passno led all rushers with 133 yards in 16 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Landress had another rough outing for the Highlanders, completing five of 16 passes for 50 yards. Landress, who has completed only 12 of 38 this season, threw three interceptions and was sacked twice.
The Highlanders were held to 128 total yards; Ventura managed only 175.
Granada Hills mustered only 59 yards in the first two periods and escaped potential harm after two interceptions by Erik Olson.
Ventura didn't fare much better, gaining 98 yards--all on the ground.
Ventura quarterback Mike Ellis spent much of the half on his back, absorbing two hard hits, one of which was late and resulted in a 15-yard penalty.
The Cougars put together the only drive of the first half, marching 81 yards to a second-period score. Tailback Derek Swafford filled in at quarterback for much of the drive and scored on a one-yard dive. Ellis' kick put Ventura ahead, 7-0, with 4 minutes 51 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Passno gained 75 yards in 12 carries in first half, accounting for all but 23 of Ventura's yards.