Sylmar Makes a Statement
If Washington High was supposed to be Sylmar’s toughest test of the preseason, then the rest of the Valley Pac-8 Conference--and the City Section for that matter--had better beware.
After exchanging touchdowns early on, the Spartans began dominating, rolling to a 42-7 victory over the Generals on Friday night at Sylmar High.
What was even more impressive than the score was the way Sylmar handled Washington, which advanced to the 4-A Division quarterfinals, on both sides of the ball.
The Spartans were fundamentally sound as well, committing just three first-half penalties while building a 36-7 lead in the first half. It was a severe departure from recent Sylmar teams that usually struggled with penalties, especially in early season games.
“We were sharp, weren’t we?” said Sylmar Coach Jeff Engilman. “I’m very happy with the way we were able to run everything smoothly.”
Engilman knew going into the season he had an experienced offensive line and solid running game to create at least some offense. What the Spartans lacked was an experienced quarterback.
Engilman was prepared to use as many as three signal callers against Washington. He need worry no more.
Starter Joey LaPorte erased any doubt. Showing poise and patience in the pocket, the converted linebacker completed all 10 of his passes for 175 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Shaun Avalos on Sylmar’s first possession.
“I was a little nervous on the first play,” LaPorte said. “But after that, everything just worked.”
Sylmar’s running game-by-committee ran smoothly as well. The Spartans gained 210 yards in the ground, led by senior Errol Bowen, who gained 70 yards in 11 carries.
Senior Donald Carpenter gained 44 yards in eight carries, including touchdown runs of one and 27 yards.
The Spartans were just as impressive on defense, holding the Generals to 171 yards of offense, 78 of which came on a late pass. Sylmar was rarely fooled by Washington’s multiple formations.
Washington quarterback Anthony West completed five of 14 passes for 140 yards and the Generals were held to 31 rushing yards in 24 carries.
The only mistake by Sylmar came right after the first score. Wide receiver Donte Kelly beat Errol Bowen badly and hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Anthony West.
But the Spartans bounced right back, driving 75 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 10-yard run by Anthony Wells. A two-point conversion by Donald Carpenter gave Sylmar a 14-7 lead.
After a punt by the Generals, it was Bowen’s turn, rambling in from seven yards out.
Avalos helped put the game away by intercepting West’s pass at the Washington 31 and taking it back for the score, aided by a key block from Carpenter.
After a touchdown by Carpenter, the Generals wouldn’t threaten again until the closing seconds of the half. Washington reached midfield, but consecutive sacks by senior Ray Solis ended any hope.
Fullback Angel Guerrero caught five passes for 89 yards for Sylmar.
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How They Fared
Some of Friday night’s high school football results
* Santa Barbara 44
* Saugus (C15) 35
* Hart (C15) 33
* Granada Hills 0
* Quartz Hill (C14) 28
* L.A. Baptist 18
* Harvard-Westlake 29
* Burbank (C14) 6
* Taft 27
* Banning (C15) 0
* El Camino Real (C15) 51
* North Hollywood 0
* Paraclete (C15) 42
* St. Bonaventure 16
* Highland 22
* Valencia 20
* Burroughs 14
* Moorpark 6
* Southern Section Roundup, C14
* City Section Roundup, C15