East County Sports

Griffins help Cougars help themselves

Grossmont's Mylik Steen maneuvers for running room on Saturday. / EastCountySports photo




By Ramon Scott



EL CAJON – The Grossmont Griffins played a game of “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” against visiting College of the Canyons Saturday afternoon.

Every time the Griffins made the key play late in the second half against the Cougars, Grossmont would find a way to help in Canyons’ response.

The Cougars had the final say with a precise touchdown pass to Ethan Lazarek, a sophomore from Hart, and point-after with just 37 seconds remaining to pull away from the Mesa with a 29-28 road victory.

The Griffs made the most of their chances, as well, taking the lead late on a touchdown pass from BRAD CAGLE to MYLIK STEEN on a fade to the left side that was so well-timed, it seemed like it took forever for the ball to come down to the Castle High product.

The score with 1:35 left gave Grossmont a 28-22 lead and erased all the self-imposed difficulties the Griffins handed themselves including poorly-time personal fouls and common-sense execution.

Grossmont’s defense, which was pretty stellar most of the game, was especially impressive early, keeping the Cougars off the scoreboard until late in the first half.

Grossmont’s JALEN WYATT records a sack in the second half Saturday. / EastCountySports photo

The Griffins led 10-7 at intermission.

Grossmont made an early third-quarter run stuff, but an impressive defensive series was wiped away by an unsportsmanlike call.

Like clockwork, the Cougars flipped a short pass and turned it into a long, frustrating score against the Griffins.

Adding insult to injury, the Griffins thoroughly stuffed the PAT, only for it to bounce into a Cougars arms where he drove a pile over the line, as COC took the lead for the first time.

The Griffins took a drive down to the five, but had to settle for a field goal from NELS HALTOM, cutting the lead to 15-13.

On the next series for the Cougs, Grossmont’s defense made a fourth-down stop at its own 27, turning up big yet again.

Then a bizarre set of circumstances took place unless you are a regular at a Grossmont College game.

A terrific punt and a penalty had the Cougars backed up inside the 1, but a quarterback dive turned into an 84-yard run when the ball carrier spun off the surge and slipped a tackle to the outside. Only the lack of speed by the Cougs’ Alonzo Reeves, usually a linebacker, prevented the score.

Then, just as the Cougars were headed to the end zone, the Griffins’ Darkside unit did what it might be becoming known for doing.

Grossmont punched a ball out inside the five just as the Cougar carrier was heading for a goal-line clash.

A Griffin defender, in his haste, wanted to scoop it up and attempt a return although he had a sure opportunity for an easy cover. Instead, a hustling Canyons player dove in for the ball, which resulted in an Eagle touchdown.

Grossmont was able to answer, capping a swift drive with a 5-yard to pass from Cagle to RILEY JONES, from Edwardsville, Ill., with 13:06 left in the game.

Grossmont’s DUSTIN BRUNO, from Austin, Texas, runs after a catch on Saturday. / EastCountySports photo

Former Helix Highlander JALEN WYATT come up with a third-down sack to force a COC punt with under five minutes to play.

Grossmont took over at its own 44 with 4:21 left and Cagle engineered what looked to be good enough for the game-winning drive.

In fact, Grossmont’s LOGAN BAKER and MAX SCHWENKE came up with a big tackle-for-loss, as Canyons ended up in fourth-and-long, but a scramble and a very close measurement kept the Cougars alive.

Then Canyons got a huge completion into the red zone on a critical play that had the Griffins’ fans heart sunk once again.

The score seemed inevitable at that point, since Canyons always seemed to have the answer.

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