Daily News (Los Angeles)

Running game powers Highlander­s to home victory

- By Vince Nguyen Correspond­ent

The usual hustling and bustling stands at Granada Hills Charter School was absent Friday night.

Instead, the Highlander­s played their first home game against Birmingham Charter to the tune of stands and the monotone buzzing stadium lights.

To Birmingham coach Jim Rose, it was a peculiar feeling.

To his team, the reigning L.A City Section Open Division champions, it didn’t matter much as Birmingham pulled away in the third quarter to take a 28-16 victory over Granada Hills in West Valley League play.

For the second game in a row, the Highlander­s offense lived through their running back tandem of sophomore Dijon Stanley and senior Sam Abeduro that kept them in a onescore game at the half.

The Highlander­s (1-1 overall, 1-1 league) chewed up eight minutes in the first quarter to go up 8-0 after a two-point conversion.

Stanley scored both of Granada Hills’ touchdowns with a nine-yard run in the Highlander­s’ opening drive and a 14-yard rush in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.

The sophomore finished with 133 yards on 23 carries. Abeduro ran the ball 17 times for 74 yards and ran in a pair of two-point conversion­s.

“I think our young guys will have a lot of confidence knowing they were able to play well against a really good team,” Granada Hills coach Bucky Brooks said. “We’re just going to see if we are going to be able to build off of that.”

But the Patriots (2-2, 1-0) answered right back on their opening drive with a 4-yard touchdown from junior Delamonte Barnes and tied it at 8 with three seconds left in the opening quarter.

“It’s one of those offenses you’re not used to seeing, so it takes a minute for the kids to see it,” Birmingham coach Jim Rose said. “I thought, after that, we played fine until their last series.”

From there, Birmingham quarterbac­k Forrest Brock steered the Patriots with three touchdowns and 195 yards passing on 17 of 22 attempts to help take a commanding 28-8 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“We clicked after our quick throws,” said Brock, a transfer from Palisades High. “They were blitzing a lot, so if they’re going to blitz, we’re just going to quickly throw it.”

Brock found junior receiver Arlis Boardingha­m late in the second quarter to give Birmingham a 14-8 lead.

Boardingha­m caught a 50-yard touchdown catchand-run score to go along with his three catches and 79 yards.

Brock also connected with receiver Jeremiah Cox for seven catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns, both in the third quarter for a 28-8 advantage.

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