For just one game things were perfect and Arleta coach Bill Coan raised his fist
Dijon Stanley snatched the opening kick-off, met a wall of Arleta defenders, tried to shake and bake and run back to the opposite touchline – and stumbled flat on his face.
“Yes!” Coan said with an exaggerated smile. “The grass got it!”
It was a sigh of relief that at least something could bring down Stanley, a 6-foot-1 senior running back at Granada Hills. It was a bit of deja vu – Arleta trying to stop Stanley in his first game of the season for the second straight year, getting crushed by Granada Hills in 2021. Maybe with that first fluke, things would be different this time.
On Granada Hills’ first play after scrimmage, Stanley drilled straight down the middle for a 56-yard touchdown run. And no one found an answer to slow him or other Granada Hills fullbacks in a 54-0 rout on Friday afternoon.
“Do you see that? said a player on the Arleta sideline, turning to the crowd behind him.
In all honesty, Stanley was hard to follow. Blink for a moment and he crossed the line of scrimmage for another long run. With Granada Hills leading 42-0, he lined up a punt in the third quarter and raced down the sideline, blasting off a defender for a 70-yard touchdown return.
“I don’t know how we’re going to stop this,” Coan said Friday morning.
His plan was to try and stop Stanley from breaking out to the outside and piling defenders on the line of scrimmage.
It just didn’t work. Then again, not much has worked to try and contain him over his career. Utah’s commit finished with over 170 yards on just eight carries and scored three touchdowns.
“The bigger the moment,” said Granada Hills coach Bucky Brooks, “the deeper he is able to dig and pull out his best performances.”
It wasn’t just Stanley, but it was mostly the case. Another Stanley has emerged as a potential star for Granada Hills. Dijon’s cousin Darrell is a slightly shorter sophomore who sports the same wiry frame and slippery speed. Brooks was adamant that Granada Hills’ double wing offense wasn’t just a one-man show, and Darrell proved it with nearly 150 rushing yards and a pair of scores.
The cousins had never played on the same team, but now they’re finally trading touches in the same backfield. City section beware.
“Show that Stanley-Stanley power,” Dijon said after the game, punching Darrell.
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