East County Sports

All eyes on Odom, Foothillers

Grossmont junior quarterback JAMIE ODOM / photo by Ramon Scott

Grossmont senior ALEX GOLOJUCH / photo by Ramon Scott

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW

GROSSMONT FOOTHILLERS

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

LA MESA – Caution. The Grossmont Foothillers are not to be taken lightly in 2018.

However, considering the expectations placed on this year’s obviously underrated squad, the Foothillers may possess enough offensive firepower to go along with a strong defensive front seven that could allow them to surprise several higher-rated opponents on their tough schedule.

The Hillers’ success of late has placed them in the upper-echelon of teams in the county, according to the CIF preseason seedings, and the computer rankings show Grossmont inside the county’s top ten.

But when the county media poll was released earlier this week, the Foothillers’ omission appeared to be an oversight, as 23 other section teams garnered at least one top ten vote, including commendable Grossmont Conference contenders Steele Canyon, Granite Hills and Monte Vista.

The Foothillers return are returning 10 starters from last year’s 7-4 club.

“We don’t feel like there is a weakness out there,” said Grossmont head coach TOM KARLO (7th year, 47-22 at Grossmont). “We’re lucky in that we have a starter or two returning at every spot.”

It would be hard to imagine that the Foothillers will not have of the most productive offenses in the entire county. The unit should garner increased attention as the season progresses.

Grossmont receivers DESMOND CARTER (right) and THOMAS MANGUM.

Junior JAMIE ODOM might be the county’s best-kept secret at quarterback after throwing for nearly 2,000 yards last season and 17 touchdowns as an All-East County second-team choice.

“I’m just ready to lead my team to a championship,” Odom said.Odom can move, too. He rushed for over 400 yards and is terrific on his feet when close to the goal line, rushing for eight scores, as well in 2017.

“We’re looking for big things from Jamie,” Grossmont head coach TOM KARLO said. “I know he’s looking for a big year, as well.”

Odom’s top targets are returning seniors DESMOND CARTER, ZAK FARRIS, and THOMAS MANGUM, who combined for 82 receptions and 16 touchdowns last season. Carter and Magnum were both named to the All-East County second team last season.

“Jamie is a great QB,” Carter said. “He’s growing every year. I have confidence in him to lead the way. We’re a passing team, so we like the tempo to wear them out,”

Sophomore running back ROBERT TUCKER has earned the starting nod at running back after a strong season on the freshman team. Senior DEMARI CRAWFORD handled 30 carries on the varsity last season, as well.

A trio of seniors – MAX RODRIGUEZ, CRISTIAN TRASANDES and NATHAN KITCHEN – anchor the big offensive line, which averages over 250 pounds per man. Juniors RAYMOND LIRA, ANDRU SANDER and JOSH HOWERY are ready to continue the GHS tradition on the offensive front.

“As long as the (offensive line) stays healthy, they will all be very good,” Odom said.

Senior JOE TOLEDO

Despite some key losses to graduation, Grossmont is confident in their re-configured defensive unit.

Seniors JOE TOLEDO and MONRAY CANADY are joined up front by junior transfers DANNY YANEZ and DARRYN WHITE.

However, the linebackers appear to be the unit’s biggest strength with seniors ALEX GOLOJUCH and JAMES BOND, along with junior CHRIS ALBA.

“The D-line is doing very good right now (in camp),” Golojuch said. “They are getting through on pass blocking and filling the gaps on runs. And our secondary is working hard to get back up.”

Seniors CONNOR SANCHEZ and WILL TURNER lead the secondary, along with junior starters AUSTIN WHITTMAYER and RAELL DELLOSA. The Foothillers have a strong history of developing good defensive backs.

Grossmont will play seven home games this season, although the expected key Grossmont Hills League games of the season – against Helix and Steele Canyon – will be on the road.

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