Garfield ready for a mud bowl vs. Gardena after playoff win over San Pedro

Time is running out for Garfield’s football field that has more exposed dirt than green grass. It’s scheduled to be replaced by an all-weather turf field. Construction is supposed to begin next month. With rain forecast for next week, a football game Friday night in the City Section Open Division semifinals against Gardena could produce the greatest mud game since . . .1982 Jets-Dolphins.

“It will be historic,” coach Lorenzo Hernandez said.

It was three yards and a real cloud of dust at times in Garfield’s 38-21 win over San Pedro on Thursday night in an Open Division quarterfinal. Damian Cornejo, who missed the previous three games because of a leg contusion, rushed for 233 yards in 30 carries and scored three touchdowns.

He can’t wait to face Gardena next week in the mud. Well, sort of. Last season, the Bulldogs played Golden Valley in a state playoff game, and it was so muddy that Cornejo threw out his cleats after the game.

“This is way worse,” Cornejo said.

Garfield and San Pedro were tied 14-14 at halftime. The Bulldogs hurt themselves with two lost fumbles. And just when they looked like they were ready to pull away in the second half, Dylan Rubino of San Pedro came up with an interception and a touchdown to tie the score at 21-21.

Damian Cabrera didn’t take long to make up for the turnover. The Garfield quarterback connected with Paul Ramos for a 30-yard touchdown pass just before the third quarter ended to give the Bulldogs a 28-21 lead.

Hernandez had seen enough. The order was made to start relying on Garfield’s line and give the ball to Cornejo. He started picking up yards out of the wildcat formation with direct snaps.

Garfield got big plays from a number of players. Dominic Vasquez contributed his fifth interception of the season, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass and had a tackle for a loss. Jayden Barnes made a critical, 25-yard gain to set up a Cornejo touchdown. Joshua Estrada had a sack on fourth down to frustrate the Pirates.

This was Garfield’s first…


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