The Bulldogs are having a historic season thanks to potent passing game.
Being a Garfield High School football player never felt so good.
Nobody knows the last time the Bulldogs were enjoying this much success on the football field. The program is 7-0 for the first time in what first-year coach Joey Thomas thinks could be more than 35 years.
Quarterback Max Nall and 10th-ranked Garfield are certainly enjoying the moment after adding a 58-0 throttling of Cleveland to its resume on Friday night in a Metro League Sound Division finale at Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 division) never took their foot off the gas with Nall completing 15 of 23 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
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“We’ve just been having a lot of fun,” said Nall, a junior with 1,991 yards passing and 123 completions to go with 22 TD passes and just three interceptions. “It’s really cool knowing we’re making [school] history.”
The Garfield passing game was working early as the Bulldogs opened a quick 13-0 lead with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
“I think it’s a whole attitude, the way we just approach the game. It’s completely different from last year when I was here. We give it all we have, leave it on the field and hopefully results follow.”
Senior tailback Ramari Hampton piled up 110 yards on 14 carries. Hampton ran for a TD and caught another.
“Those guys just make my life so much easier,” Nall said of his offensive options. “We’ve got weapons everywhere.”
Garfield defensive back Aron Mulugheta intercepted two passes and teammate Kalen McGee picked off another as Cleveland (1-5, 1-3) used three quarterbacks after starter Kobe Eleby suffered a first-quarter injury.
Garfield forced Cleveland into five turnovers and limited the Eagles’ to 154 yards of total offense with just 45 yards passing. The Bulldogs, who average almost 600 yards of total offense, piled up 485 yards of offense even after building 41-point lead and triggering a running clock late in the first half.
“We want to totally optimize our potential … that’s our motto T.O.P.,” said Thomas, who grew up near Garfield. “These guys have done a great job of buying in and I give them all the credit. We just want everyone to be the best person you can day in and day out.
“It means the world to be back in my community. This is still bigger than football. You’re a teacher and football is just a by-product.”
The Bulldogs program has put together its third winning season in a row after enduring a stretch from 2004 through 2013 with just 10 wins in 90 games.