East County Sports

Foothillers frazzle Hornets in first-ever regular season fracas


TRyan Photography photo

By Jim Lindgren
© East County Sports.com
LA MESA (9-26-15) — Making his first varsity start, junior HUNTER GAINES made quite an early impression – a 78-yard scoring pass to JAKE HARR on Grossmont’s first play of the game on Friday night (Sept. 25) at Jack Mashin Stadium.


Gaines and Harr and the entire cast of Foothillers continued the impressive display, dispatching Lincoln 34-14 in these school’s first meeting in 26 years.


“It was a good confidence boost, that’s for sure,” said Gaines, who has played well in Grossmont’s first three games, splitting time with senior JARED REDFIELD.


But with Redfield nursing a sore shoulder, Gaines pitched a complete game, going 15-for-24 – to seven different receivers – for 258 yards and two touchdowns.

LINC at GROS Score

Harr, who tweaked his knee at the end of the first half but stayed in the game, rushed 13 times for 113 yards and a 12-yard TD. He caught four balls for 111 yards, including the 78-yarder. Sophomore JAILEN BAILEY added 100 yards on just five carries, including a 77-yard run on his first carry. SHEVELL STERLING  pitched in with 65 yards on 10 attempts, and JAMES MACKEY tacked on 45 yards with five carries, including a 28-yard TD scamper.


DOMONIQUE GUEVARA had two receptions – 35 yards and a 17-yard over-the-shoulder TD catch in which he used some nifty footwork in the back of the end zone on a perfectly placed pass by Gaines.


“We have a ton of weapons,” Gaines said. “We definitely have a lot of receivers to go to, and they all can break one at any time.”


Grossmont (4-0) had 554 total yards – 296 rushing and 258 passing – completely overwhelming Lincoln (2-3), which had opened the season with a 60-0 romp over Serra and an impressive 20-16 win over Carlsbad.


“We were averaging 350 yards and 30 points a game, and we’re pulling our hair out,” Grossmont coach TOM KARLO said. “What’s wrong with our offense? This was more of what we’re used to.”


By the way, Karlo began his stint at Grossmont with seven straight wins in 2012. The Foothillers travel to Poway (3-2) next Friday (Oct. 3rd) on a quest to remain undefeated.


TRyan Photography photo


“For us right now, we’re still making mistakes that cost us drives,” Karlo said. “We can definitely improve there. In the second half, I think our tempo took over. Teams start getting tired.”


It certainly appeared that way as Grossmont turned a 7-7 halftime score into a 20-point win. It could have been 27, but the Foothillers let the final 40 seconds tick off the clock instead of running another play from the 1-yard line.

“Coach Karlo is doing an excellent job,” Lincoln coach David Dunn said. “He’s a great motivator. He’s got the kids believing in the system and they’re having fun. They definitely have some guys who can take it the distance.

“They’re hard to prepare for. We have a spread package that can give us a good look during practice, but that up-tempo is definitely hard to prepare for.”

Gaines threw for 192 yards in the first half, but Grossmont had no scores after the first play. Lincoln tied the game with 5:44 before intermission on a 1-yard TD plunge by Micah Edwards.

There were three touchdowns on three consecutive plays in a 33-second span early in the third quarter.

The Foothillers took the opening drive 57 yards on seven plays with Harr scoring on a 12-yard run to make it 14-7 at 9:58.

The Hornets tied it on their first play, a 61-yard burst up the middle by Edwards, who finished with 105 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.


TRyan Photography photo

On its next play, Grossmont went back on top for good as Bailey turned in a highlight-reel scoring run of 77 yards to make it 20-14 at 9:25.

Guevara’s 17-yard TD from Gaines made it 26-14 at 7:51 of the fourth quarter, and Mackey finished the scoring with his 28-yard run two minutes later.

With Harr’s 78-yard TD catch and Bailey’s 77-yard run, Grossmont now has six scoring plays this season of 70 or more yards.

Harr tried to explain his: “It’s a little curl (route) we have, a QB read. I just felt it in my peripheral, took a step and caught it. I wasn’t thinking touchdown, but then things opened up.”

Harr also praised the offensive line: “Our OL did great. They were blocking well all night, making big holes for us. We could have pounded all night. Lincoln got tired in the second half.

“That’s our goal, get the other team tired and capitalize.”

Gaines nearly doubled his completions for the season. In the first three games, he was 16-of-28 for a whopping 485 yards and six TDs. His first interception of the season came late in the first half as Grossmont hoped to take a 14-7 lead. It came in the end zone, a pick by La’tre Jacquess, his fourth of the season.

“I knew it was a bad decision when I threw it,” Gaines said. “Those things happen in football. You just have to shake it off.”

Said Karlo, “(Hunter’s) progressing real well. He makes some mistakes, but he learns from them.”

Not to be overlooked, the Grossmont defense had its finest game of the season, limiting an explosive Lincoln to under 200 yards and just two TDs.

RAYMOND PERRAULT and NATE TIAPULO each had an interception on back-to-back series in the fourth quarter. ANDREW MINK had a sack, and ELI QUINN recovered a fumble.

“Defensively, this was easily our best game,” defensive line coach L.B. HAVIRD said.

Oddly, these two “old” schools have never met in the regular season. Lincoln won playoff quarterfinal games over Grossmont in 1986 and 1989, the latter a 31-25 overtime win that ended Grossmont’s 10-0 season.

Karlo was a sophomore at Grossmont at the time, and he remembers the game clearly.

Likewise, Lincoln coach David Dunn remembers it well. “I was there,” Dunn said. “I played for Morse at the time. KEITH PRICE was the great running back for Grossmont, and (Lincoln’s) Victor Dean sent the game to overtime with a long punt return. Both Lincoln and Morse went to the championships that year.”

For the record, Dunn’s Morse team lost to Rancho Buena Vista in the Class 3A title game. Lincoln lost to El Camino in the 2A final. Grossmont hasn’t played in a championship game since winning the 3A title in 1971.

On a final note from Friday, Karlo wished to praise the crowd. “We had a great crowd tonight,” he said. “We’ve had three great crowds this season. Tremendous support. I was really appreciative.”

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