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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

High school team playing for state title has not completed a pass all season

Granada Hill poses

A high school team in California is competing for a state championship this weekend despite an unthinkable feat.

Granada Hills Charter High School in the Los Angeles area is set to face San Marin in the Division 4-A CIF State Football Championship on Saturday. The Highlanders are 12-2 this season and have advanced to the state championship game despite not completing a pass. Seriously.

Granada Hills, which is coached by NFL Network reporter Bucky Brooks, has attempted seven passes all season and has not completed a single one.

In an age where passing games are proliferating, it’s surprising to find such a run-heavy team. But it’s nothing short of shocking to encounter a team that has not even completed one pass all season.

So, how is Granada Hills getting it done? With a dominant run game thanks to a few great athletes, and good defense, as you probably figured out.

Granada Hills, which is where the legendary John Elway attended, has rushed for 5,918 yards in 14 games — good for an average of 422 yards per game. They most often run out of a single or double wing formation, which features seven linemen (including tight ends on each side of the line), a quarterback, fullback, and one or two wing backs. There are no receivers and no player is split out wide.

“In high school, you got to coach what shows up,” Brooks told the Los Angeles Times regarding his decision to go with a run-heavy offense.

Their star rusher is senior Dijon Stanley, a two-way player who is committed to Utah.

Dijon has rushed for 2,670 yards and 32 touchdowns. He is averaging 205 yards per game and has rushed for over 100 yards in each game. His best game came when he rushed for 378 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 44-7 playoff win over Palisades. On defense, Dijon has 33 tackles and an interception.

Dijon’s cousin, Darrell, is the other star player on the team.

A sophomore, Darrell Stanley has rushed for 1,294 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has 27 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense.

Plenty of other players have contributed to the running game too.

Senior DJ Williams has 694 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns; freshman Isaac Delgado has 287 yards and 5 touchdowns; and junior James Martin has 428 yards and 4 touchdowns.

On defense, Oliver Taylor leads the team with eight sacks, while Chance Heximer is second with five sacks. Junior John Williamson has four interceptions.

Part of the reason Granada Hills is playing for the state championship is because they likely should have been categorized in a tougher division for postseason purposes. After all, they did lose two games to fellow Los Angeles city section public high school during the regular season, being held under 30 points in both games.

Still, to see such a 1-dimensional team to make it this far is pretty cool.

The achievement shows that Granada Hills has some pretty superior athletes, and that they execute their run game to near perfection.

Their execution is great in large part because of how hard they work at practice.

“We work harder than a lot of people know. We practice every day at 5:30 in the morning. A lot of people can’t do that. They can’t fathom what we do,” Stanley said in a recent interview.

Here are a few highlights from Dijon Stanley’s great game against Palisades:

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