East County Sports

Green Griffins retool after sub-par season

Grossmont College's Marshall Faulk, Jr.



By Bill Dickens
© EastCountySports.com


EL CAJON (9-2-16) — A major key to the Grossmont College football team season is whether the Griffins can develop a young offensive line.

It will be a matter of protection as the Griffins have four sterling quarterbacks in BRAD CAGLE (6-0, 190-El Capitan), SPENCER MOYER (6-4, 220 -West Hills), RICHARD ESTEVEZ (6-3, 180-Chula Vista) and PHIL NASEH (604, 230-Valhalla).

“It’s really good to have four freshmen quarterbacks,” said head coach MIKE JORDAN. “Now it’s a matter of whether our line can give them enough time to execute our offense.”

Cagle should get the starting nod at the outset although Jordan predicts that the others will have plenty of time to show their talent.

In El Capitan’s State Bowl Game appearance numbers favor Cagle. In leading the Vaqueros to a 14-1 record and a berth in a State Bowl Game championship, Cagle ran his totals to 8403 yards total offense. He’s a threat to throw the ball as he’s completed 457 passes in his career and is an equal opportunist to run the ball.

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The other three don’t have the same kind of statistics but are capable to make their mark in Grossmont’s high octane offense.

ADRIAN TOLBERT is the leading receiver returning in the Griffins’ arsenal.

San Diego State bounceback JABRIL CLEWIS will give the Griffins another quality pass receiving threat.

Granite Hills grad MICHAEL LEDESMA should figure in the reception mix, as will MARCELLUZ SMITH and SEBASTIAN SMITH.

The Griffins will feature five players with the surname name Smith. Others who wear the Smith handle include defensive back NARQESSE SMITH, running back AUSTIN SMITH and offensive lineman ERIC SMITH (6-5, 320-Grossmont).

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NEHEMIAH BROWN and MARSHALL FAULK, JR. will carry the ball for the Grossmont pass-oriented offense.

The Griffins are loaded at the tight end position where JUSTIN BARLOW (6-7, 240) leads the lot. TYLER GUICE (6-3, 245) will also battle for playing time.

JAVON WALKER (6-4, 240), a returning tight end from Chicago, will challenge for playing time as will versatile JAMES STRONG (6-7, 260), who will split his time between defensive end and tight end.

The hub of the Grossmont huddle centers around the offensive line troops. JAMES AUSTIN (6-7, 300-New Jersey), EVAN PUMPHREY (6-2, 265-Imperial), ALFREDO GUTIERREZ (6-8, 330-Montgomery), MARCO FOWLER (6-2, 290-West Hills), SEMAIA SALANOA (5-10, 270-Honolulu), JAMES PHILLIPS (6-2, 280-Imperial) and TAYLOR COLEMAN (6-0, 290-Lincoln) will comprise the offensive front.

Only 20 players return from last year’s 3-7 squad. However all is not gloom as the Griffins have a fulltime defensive coordinator in C.J. ARNOLD, who comes south from San Jose State University.

On the defensive front Grossmont will look to LANCE LEOTA (6-0, 300-Samoa), QUANTARIUS BOONE (6-1, 245-Florida), CAMERON MYERS (6-2, 260-Virginia), JOSH HARRISON (6-1, 242-Christian).

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Heading up the linebacker corps RYDEN KERR (5-11, 270-West Hills), PERRY AFATO (5-11, 240-Wisconsin), COLE KIDD (6-2, 220-Point Loma), TREY SCHEMKE (6-3, 240-Valhalla), RODERICK WOODS (6-2, 240-Florida), TYLER CLANTON (5-9, 200-Helix), LOGAN BAKER (5-10, 200-Valhalla) and JOHNNY GARCIA (5-10, 190-Lincoln).

Defensive backs KURTIS BROOKS (Desert Oasis), LOGAN DARBY (Arkansas), JORDAN ELLIS (Valhalla), PERRY SHERROD (Grossmont), SOWELL ELDER (Valhalla), TOMMY WASHINGTON (Georgia), ANTON PAIGE (6-4, 185-Florida) are a green secondary. Their success will be similar to the offensive line success.

“Our defense is a little bit thin as we try to build on the fly,” Jordan said.

Even the kicking game is open season. DOMINIC GRIMM (West Hills) and ERWIN CONNER (West Hills) are bidding for the place kicking chores, while NELS HOLTOM (Utah) is a punter/kicker and BLAKE LESTER (Helix) is a punter. These two will battle for the punting duties.

“We’re an awfully young football team so we’re going to have to work hard against a tough schedule,” said Jordan. “I think we have the talent to do it but we have to prove it.”

In 1994 MIKE JORDAN assumed the role of offensive coordinator for the Griffins and over the next 16 years developed some of the most consistent offenses in the state. Jordan succeeded his father DAVE, as Grossmont’s head coach in 2006, and has maintained this post for 11 years. During his tenure his teams have ranked among the most explosive offenses in the state.

The Griffins open the season at Mesa College at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.

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