East County Sports

Sterling, Foothillers arrive in trend-zone

Grossmont's SHEVELL STERLING rushes against Steele Canyon Friday night. / photo by Tammy Ryan




By Jim Lindgren

Special to EastCountySports.com

Grossmont’s JAMIE ODOM passes on Friday. / photo by Tammy Ryan

LA MESA – We’re starting to notice a trend with the Grossmont Foothillers football team.

Start slowly, maybe even sluggishly. Play a tight first quarter or two.

And then blow the doors down.

It happened again on Friday night as the Foothillers turned a 14-14 game into a 51-14 blowout of Steele Canyon at Grossmont.

The Foothillers (6-2, 3-0) set up a likely Grossmont Hills League championship showdown with No. 2-ranked Helix (7-1, 3-0) next Friday night at Grossmont. Steele Canyon fell to 4-4, 1-2 and plays host to Valhalla (2-6, 0-3) next week.

Senior tailback SHEVELL STERLING scored four rushing touchdowns as the Foothillers won their fourth straight game and have now outscored their opponents 345-142 in piling up an average of nearly 450 yards per game.

Five turnovers – three interceptions and two lost fumbles – contributed mightily toward the Cougars’ demise.

“You can’t beat an offense like that with a performance like ours,” Steele Canyon coach SCOTT LONGERBONE said. “You can’t give a team like that that many easy chances.”

Grossmont quarterback JAMIE ODOM throws a pass Friday night. / photo by Tammy Ryan

Steele Canyon beat Grossmont 51-0 in 2010, but the Cougars made Friday’s tussle a little closer for the first 15 minutes or so.

The Cougars went on top 7-0 on a 1-yard scoring pass from THOMAS FISHBURNE to junior VALON MARTINEZ on a nice play-action touch pass in the back of the end zone. It was Martinez’ first touchdown.

Grossmont sophomore quarterback JAMIE ODON knotted the score with a 4-yard TD keeper with 4:38 to play in the first quarter.

Two minutes later, the Foothillers were up 14-7 when Odom faked a handoff inside and then gave it to THOMAS MANGUM on a counter sweep left for a 9-yard touchdown.

Forty-two seconds into the second quarter, Steele Canyon tied it up 14-14 on a 2-yard QB keeper by Fishburne.

“The first quarter was great,” Longerbone said. “It was going how I thought it was going to happen – back and forth.

“But once you start turning the ball over to a team like that, you’re in trouble. Playing catch-up against them, it’s hard.”

And then came the Sterling barrage the ’Hillers’ faithful have come to expect. This one tallied up 37 unanswered points and a lot of well-deserved celebrating.

Sterling scored from 14 yards out with 9:23 left in the second quarter.

Sterling scored from 14 yards out with 3:54 left in the second quarter.

Sterling scored from 11 yards out with 1:40 left in the second quarter.

“5 is 5,” Longerbone said, referring to Sterling’s uniform number. “We know he’s good and knew he was going to cause us problems.”

Steele Canyon’s THOMAS FISHBURNE punts on Friday night. / photo by Tammy Ryan

On Sterling’s TDs, he got some great seal blocks from ALEX LIST, JOSE DAMIEN, MAX RODRIGUEZ, CHRISTIAN TRASANDES and NICK GHOSN.

Oddly, there was no scoring in the third quarter, but senior kicker AMBER HUFF put Grossmont up 37-14 early in the fourth quarter with her third field goal of the season.

Twenty seconds later, ZACH JONES returned an interception for a 44-14 lead.

Back to Sterling, his fourth TD of the night and 17th of the season came on a 4-yard run with 5:00 to play.

So Sterling was gold and Steele bent too often.

Sterling finished with 121 yards and four TDs on 23 carries, plus one reception for 35 yards. Odom was 12 of 33 passing for 216 yards and added 45 yards with eight rushes.

DESMOND CARTER caught six balls for 77 yards, and Mangum had two receptions for 79 yards

Jones had two interceptions, and NOAH CRESS the third pick. COOPER ZOELLNER and JOE TOLEDO recovered the fumbles for the Foothillers.

“I think we’ll flush this one down the toilet,” Longerbone said. “We’re done with it. We’re going to jump in the pool as wash this one away.”

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