To open their first ever open division playoff run, the Crenshaw Cougars routed the Banning Pilots 61-13. The Cougar defense made five interceptions in their first-round game. The offense clinched three touchdowns in the first quarter.
“The game plan was just go in and attack, play fast and that’s what we did,” said sophomore safety Jared Greenfield. “Coach told us coming into the game just keep our foot on [their] necks.”
Crenshaw came out the gates scoring their first touchdown after four consecutive first downs and 10 total plays. Although their passing game willed them down the field, it was a four-yard carry from junior running back Solomon Hassen that would score the first touchdown.
Blocking one of the Pilots kicks put Crenshaw in a first-and-goal situation and quarterback senior Isaiah Johnson scored the second touchdown. The Pilot offense was at their 44-yard-line when Greenfield picked them off. Two plays later, Johnson connected with senior wide receiver Rayshawn Williams, who was in the end zone, the score was 21-0 in favor of Crenshaw.
Banning set up a passing play to senior wide receiver Mike Hernandez, who outstepped defenders to put the Pilots on the scoreboard to begin the second quarter. Banning kept the ball on the ground but struggled to get out of their own territory.
Near the conclusion of the first half, Johnson sent a pass to senior wide receiver Dennis Patrick who sprinted to end zone, a 54-yard touchdown play. Crenshaw had the advantage with a halftime score of 28-7.
The Cougars reign of terror reached new heights when Patrick and senior linebacker Patrick Willis Jr. made a pick-6 each within one minute of regulation. Crenshaw had 42 points.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know it was coming to me. I just tried to be in the right place at the right time,” Patrick said on his defensive touchdown. “We wanted to come out of the half on fire, so defense was locked in mentally.”
Reserve quarterback Gabriel Carabajal rushed for the Pilots and earned them one first down, but the Cougar defense denied his passing plays. Crenshaw’s offense stepped in at their own 41-yard line and rushed the ball down the field to nudge their score up to 49.
Carabajal threw an interception, a penalty on Banning would push Crenshaw to the Pilots two-yard line. The Wilmington school stuffed the Cougars on the next play and denied them a touchdown on the second and goal. Then Johnson scrambled into the end zone on a third and goal.
However, Banning stayed in the game. Senior wide receiver Mike Hernandez caught a pass from the Cougars 38-yard line to run in a six-point play, giving Banning 13 points. Yet, Crenshaw added more insult to injury; senior offensive tackle Daniel Grzesiak made a 49-yard rushing touchdown with 1:04 left in regulation.
Open division third seed Carson annihilated Venice 31-7, the Colts will battle the Cougars at Crenshaw high school on November 24. Birmingham fell to Fairfax 35-40 and Narbonne defeated San Pedro 34-14; Fairfax will face Narbonne in the semifinals.
In the Division I playoffs, Dorsey upset Palisades 42-28. Second seed South Gate defeated Westchester 45-21, South Gate will be Dorsey’s next opponent. Top seed San Fernando shut out Arleta 54-0 and El Camino Real fell to Garfield 7-36. San Fernando will face Garfield on November 24.