Grant pulls off surprise to win first Division I playoff game

Running back Michael Smith of Grant rushed for 167 yards in the Lancers' 38-34 Division I playoff win over Fairfax.
(Carmen Stephens)

You want to know a young coach who keeps producing year after year with the players who just happen to show up to attend their neighborhood school -- it’s Grant High’s Franco Stasilli.

This season, with a roster of 25 players that has been expanded to 30 with some junior varsity players, Grant is 8-3 and pulled off its first playoff win in City Section Division I on Friday night with a 38-34 victory over Fairfax.

Senior running back Michael Smith rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

“They just keep battling and never quit,” Stasilli said.


In 2016, Stasilli’s first year as head coach, Grant went 12-0 until losing to Hawkins in the City Section Division II semifinals. It was a once-in-a-lifetime team. Grant got the win back later when Hawkins had to forfeit for using an ineligible player to finish 13-0.

Each season since, the Lancers have found a way to be competitive usually with rosters less than 30. The Grant coaching staff is showing an ability to develop players within their neighborhood and stay competitive and even move up to Division I.

Next up is a Friday road game against El Camino Real.