Spartans Coach Rich Wheeler, while quick to first credit the Wolverines as, "the bigger, faster, stronger team," made no secret of what he attributes as the main weakness currently plaguing his team.
"We are short people, this is the smallest team I've ever had," he said of the Spartans' injury diminished roster which currently includes only 28 true varsity players. "You just have to do what you can with what you've got."
Small squad or not, it was a string of early Spartans errors that allowed Harvard-Westlake to pull ahead, and a failure by La Cañada to make effective adjustments that prevented its comeback effort.
On La Cañada's very first play from scrimmage, quarterback Brian Schmidt fired a pass straight to Wolverines defensive back Terry O'Neal, who returned the play 22 yards to the Spartans' 38-yard line.
The turnover immediately hurt La Cañada as Wolverines quarterback John Howe (13 for 14, 188 yards, two total touchdowns) completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Paul Royster two plays later.
Another error in execution bit the Spartans on their next possession when Peterson mishandled a snap and had his punt attempt blocked.
The Wolverines took over at the La Cañada 13, but settled for a 27-yard Zack Mirman field goal.
Peterson got the Spartans on the board at the 6:14 mark of the first quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run, set up by his own 62-yard run on the previous play.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as the Spartans punt team again failed to execute when punter Brian Kimball had to fall on the ball, giving the Wolverines possession on the La Cañada 31-yard line and setting up seven-yard scoring run by Howe for a 17-7 lead.
Aside form the errors in execution, the inability to adapt to Harvard-Westlake's defensive schemes was the biggest hindrance to La Cañada.