CALABASAS — The high school football game started at 11 a.m., so late in the third quarter it was just about lunchtime.
Sage Hill School line coach Akbar Gbaja-Biamila wanted senior lineman T.J. Danner to feast on Viewpoint quarterback Alex Satnick.
"Hey T.J., go get him," Gbaja-Biamila called out. "I'll buy you a burger."
The remark drew laughter from Sage Hill parents sitting nearby. Danner did get a good pass rush on and hurried Satnick, forcing an incompletion. But without the sack, Gbaja-Biamila's wallet perhaps stayed a bit heavier.
"I'd buy him a six dollar burger from Carl's Jr. and make him think it was an expensive one," he said, drawing more laughter.
Sage Hill didn't have to be quite so economical in the game itself, rolling to a 56-13 victory at Viewpoint. The Lightning, ranked No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division poll, are now 5-0 for the first time since 2005.
"We've been a pretty good football team the first four games, but we've done some bad things as well that have kept us from being great," Coach J.R. Tolver said. "Our motto this week was, 'How do we go from a good team to a great team?' Part of that was effort and intensity, but also knowing our assignments. That's what we tried to do today, regardless of what the score was. We wanted to do what it takes to take us from a good football team to a great football team, and I think we took a step in the right direction today."
Sage took plenty of steps toward the end zone, scoring seven touchdowns. Three were scored by senior tailback Taylor Ross, who finished with 172 yards despite getting just 12 carries for the second straight week. Ross scored from 72, 48 and one yard out.
Eric Cheng, Randall Mycorn and Conor Kort also scored rushing touchdowns for the Lightning; Cheng's 94-yard scamper sealed the deal in the fourth quarter. But the Lightning also had perhaps their most effective passing game of the year.
Mycorn finished with 154 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions, despite the fact the Lightning didn't throw a single pass in the second half. Mycorn's first touchdown pass to Taylor Petty was well-played, as he pumped to draw the defensive back in before delivering a 58-yard strike that gave Sage the early 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
On the second touchdown, the 6-foot-1 Petty out-jumped Viewpoint defensive back Amir Karian near the goal line and took it in.
"The bulk of this week, we focused on throwing a lot of routes and a lot of timing," Mycorn said. "The week before, I had a really off game against Sherman Indian. My focus was just to make those throws that I missed last week. Even in warm-ups, we were just clicking."
Viewpoint (2-2) had few answers. The Patriots did have success running the ball with sophomore Adam Markun (191 yards and a touchdown) but could find the end zone just twice.
Viewpoint went for it on fourth down six times, converting two of those plays.
"The linebackers held their ground," senior lineman Max Whitaker said. "They really helped us linemen out a lot. It was a good game all-around."
The first time the Patriots went for it on fourth down, they did score a touchdown on Satnick's four-yard scramble late in the first quarter, only pulling within 14-6 as Sage's Ford Hanour blocked the extra-point attempt.
But the Lightning scored 21 unanswered points to go into halftime with a big 35-6 lead against a Viewpoint team that was among others receiving votes in the Northeast Division. On Friday night, the Lightning play host to Pasadena Poly, ranked No. 8 in that division.
"Last year, we came up against a solid Linfield Christian team and we got beat, 56-0," Tolver said. "We came up against a solid St. Margaret's team and we got beat, 70-0. The thought process behind our schedule this year is that we play tough opponents week in and week out, so that when we do come up against somebody who's pretty darn good, we're not shocked by the speed of the game or the tempo.
"Our first few games were tough games for us, these last two we obviously took control early. I'm hoping that we can go out against Poly and show well. We can play with them, but they're a good football team."
Sage Hill 56, Viewpoint 13
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Sage Hill 14 – 21 – 7 – 14 — 56
Viewpoint 6 - 0 – 7 – 0 — 13
SH – Petty 58 pass from Mycorn (Ross kick), 10:16.
SH – Mycorn 11 run (Ross kick), 5:26.
View – Satnick 4 run (kick blocked), 0:10.
SH – Petty 38 pass from Mycorn (Ross kick), 8:55.
SH – Ross 1 run (Ross kick), 5:51.
SH – Ross 71 run (Ross kick), 2:01.
SH – Ross 48 run (Ross kick), 8:53.
View – Markun 49 run (Stevenson kick), 5:57.
SH – Kort 2 run (Ross kick), 11:52.
SH – Cheng 94 run (Ross kick), 9:07.
SH – Ross, 12-172, 3 TDs.
View – Satnick, 11-25-0, 91.
SH – Mycorn, 6-9-0, 153, 2 TDs.
View – Satnick, 11-25-0, 91.
SH – Petty, 4-135, 2 TDs.
View – Johnston, 6-56.