East County Sports

Patriots tame Tigers’ ground game

Christian's JESSE MATTHEWS stiffs a Morse defender Friday night. / photo by Ramon Scott

Christian and Morse go for a loose ball after the Tigers fumbled Friday night. / photo by Ramon Scott

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

CHRISTIAN 28, MORSE 20

 

By Jim Lindgren

Special to EastCountySports.com

 

EL CAJON – NASHOM CARTER averaged 21 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season for the Christian High basketball team that went 19-10.

Christian junior SHENAS EFSTATHIOS makes a tackle Friday night. / photo by Ramon Scott

So he’s got some hops – as they say on the hardwood.

Perhaps never before had he showcased those hops more than one play in particular in Christian’s 28-20 football win over Morse on Friday night.

The play only went for 14 yards, but it was spectacular.

Taking a handoff from the 15-yard line, Carter scooted right and came upon Morse defender Michael Wright who was poised for a big hit and stop at the 11-yard line.

Instead, Carter leaped and hurdled his way over Wright but then was hit in mid-jump by Joshua Bringhurst. Carter flew high in the air but somehow, like a cat, landed on his feet and balanced himself. He then burst right, past another defender and down the sideline.

Tripped at the end, Carter dived and extended the ball into the end zone, but his knee was down at the 1-yard line.

No matter, two plays later Carter scored the first of his two touchdown as the Patriots (6-1, 2-0) beat visiting Morse (3-4, 0-1) in a hard-fought City Eastern League game.

Carter finished with 87 yards on 18 carries, adding a 16-yard touchdown on a pitch sweep play to the left.

“It was crazy,” Christian coach MATT OLIVER said. “He must have been knocked five feet in the air.”

“I saw him setting up, and I hurdled him,” Carter said. “I think I stepped on his head and got a little boost.”

Christian also got a boost from quarterback BRAD JEREMIAH and ALEX GONZALEZ.

Jeremiah ran for one score and passed for another, the latter going to Gonzalez for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 23-8 at halftime. With 146 yards, Jeremiah has now thrown for 2,329 yards and 31 touchdowns – both San Diego Section highs this season.

Morse got on the board first. Martell Irby intercepted a Jeremiah pass at the 41-yard line and raced 34 yards to put the Tigers in great field position. It was just the fourth interception of Jeremiah this season.

Moments later, Irby ran 19 yards off left tackle and then ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 Morse lead.

Christian answered with a 2-yard QB sneak by Jeremiah to make it 8-7, the big play coming when Jeremiah hit sophomore ALONZO RICHARDSON for an 18-yard gain to the 2-yard line.

“We came back and had a really nice drive, mixing the run and the pass,” Oliver said.

Carter’s magic made it 14-8 at halftime.

Christian’s KYLE OLSEN recovered a short kickoff to open the second half.

“People would think it was an onside kick, but it really wasn’t,” Oliver said. “It was just a short kick, and we got a lucky bounce.”

Gonzalez’ 23-yard TD put the Patriots up 21-8. In fairness, Gonzalez did most of the legwork on this play, taking a very short shuttle pass from Jeremiah behind the line of scrimmage and then weaving his way through traffic for the score.

Christian’s BRYCE RIEPL is escorted by GARRETT ROSENTHAL. / photo by Ramon Scott

Later in the third, Morse’s Tim Patrick sacked Jeremiah and forced a fumble that was picked up on the bounce by Darren Brown for a 55-yard touchdown to trim the Patriots’ lead to 21-14.

Christian answered with Carter’s 16-yard TD on a pitch sweep left, getting good blocking from the Patriots’ offensive line.

Morse wasn’t finished, either. Anthony Gonzalez hit Irby on for a 33-yard touchdown near the end of the game, and the Tigers attempted an onside kick.

Christian’s BRYCE RIEPL recovered the attempt, and Christian ran out the clock.

“We’re just trying to be the better team, working as a family,” said Alex Gonzalez, who also had a big night on defense with two sacks and a fumble recovery. “We’re small this year, but we all just have to work as a team and fight hard to the end.”

Oliver was very pleased with his defense, especially the play of Gonzalez and Riepl.

“I thought our defense played really well,” he said. “We gave up a couple of big plays, but overall we played well.

“We were afraid they were going to be able to run us over, but our kids hung in there. Throughout the season, we’ve been scoring a lot, but tonight the defense was the key to the win.

“Our kids showed a lot of fight.”

Christian plays host to No. 9 Lincoln (6-1, 2-0) next Friday at Granite Hills.

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