Despite holding a 12-0 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Jefferson High football team feared the Bulldogs would run loose.
Garfield tailback Armando Figueroa, who tore a hole in the Democrat defense last year, was due to make a couple of long distance runs. But with 10:16 left, it was the Democrats’ running back Marc Harris who shook loose from three tacklers and ran 63 yards to score the game’s final touchdown.
“Whoomp! There it is,” Jefferson assistant coach Dennis Johnson told his players.
In a game that matched two of the top teams in the Southeastern Conference, Jefferson wrapped up a 20-0 win at home by effectively shutting down the area’s leading rusher. Using a seven- and sometimes eight-man front, the Democrats held Figueroa to 67 yards in 14 carries.
“That touchdown took a ton off my shoulders,” said Jefferson Coach Hank Johnson. “You talk about relief. This was a tremendous win against a great team.”
The win made Jefferson 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference, the area’s top City Section team, while Garfield dropped to 1-1 and 0-1.
“We tried to run up the middle, but they stacked the defense against us,” Figueroa said. “We tried to run more outside in the second half, but as a team we broke down and missed our assignments.”
The Democrats also blitzed at key times, sacking Garfield’s David Villalobos six times for minus 57 yards.
Harris had three of the sacks, while linebacker Thurman Spencer, a transfer from Locke, was specifically assigned to stop Figueroa.
“They blitzed like crazy,” said Garfield Coach John Aguirre. “You can’t practice against speed. We were not quick enough.”
Despite having a size advantage, the Bulldogs had trouble bringing down Jefferson’s ball carriers. Three Democrats scored long touchdowns when Garfield defenders either fell or failed to make a tackle.
In the first quarter, receiver Robert Robinson caught a nine-yard pass from Anthony Martin, knocked over a Garfield defender and then ran an additional 48 yards for a touchdown. Robinson caught three passes for 103 yards.
In the second quarter, Isaac Hatley caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Martin when outside linebacker Antonio Zamorano fell.
Then came Harris, who ran a draw play through the middle of Garfield’s defensive line for a 63-yard score.
“The coach called 33 trap,” Harris said. “I kept my feet moving. Coaches tell me never to give up.”
Harris, who was ineligible to play last season, finished with 86 yards in six carries.
Records: Jefferson 2-0, 1-0 in conference; Garfield 1-1, 0-1.
Next week: Jefferson at Jordan; Lincoln at Garfield.