East County Sports

Williams epitomizes Griffs’ improvement




EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – If you can play, major college scouts will find you.

And in the case, the Grossmont College sophomore JAY WILLIAMS, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman, you can achieve great success with hard work and the support of coaches and teammates even if the team doesn’t have a successful season in the win column.

JARIUS BURNETTE carries against Golden West on Saturday. / photo by Antonio Oceguera

The sophomore bounceback was a walk-on defensive end at San Diego State after a standout prep career on both sides of the ball, including as a receiver, but it has been his time with the Griffins that has gotten him noticed.

Williams, now a highly-recruited major college prospect, played his final game with the Griffs on Saturday, as the Golden West Rustlers handed Grossmont College a 17-14 defeat at Grossmont High.

“It’s your last time but you have to leave it all out there,” Williams said after the Griffins nearly pulled off an upset. “That’s what I was aiming for was to be able to look back and say I gave it my best.”

Williams certainly seems to have done that.

So much so that nearly a dozen colleges, including major programs such as Missouri and Indiana have offered Williams a football scholarship.

But there seems to still be more interest in Williams, who recently received his AA degree, to come.

Major schools such as USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Nevada have also started to contact him.

His latest offer, from the Hoosiers, seems to have piqued big Jay’s interest. He is expected to visit IU at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Grossmont’s running game steadily improved throughout this trying season. The Griffs averaged 200 yards on the ground over the final three games of the season.

Behind Williams and his linemates, backs JARIUS BURNETTE and FABIAS SHIPMAN III developed into a trusted combo.

On Saturday against the Rustlers, nearly all the scoring broke out in the second quarter, as both squads scored a pair of touchdowns on four consecutive possession.

Freshman quarterback BRADY ABT threw touchdown passes to sophomores JOHNATHAN SUMMERS (El Capitan) and ERNEST DAVIS for Grossmont.

“We should have won,” Abt said. “We didn’t put the ball in th end zone. There were a bunch of plays we could have plays to give us a chance to win.

“I think we all learned from our failures this year and never shied away from them. Next year, watch out.”

Abt, not necessarily adept at running with the football, broke off a 55-yard run, as well.

“That was a shocker,” Williams said.

Grossmont sophomore fullback ROBERT ROMERO / photo by Antonio Oceguera

Summers led Grossmont with six receptions for 104 yards. Burnette led the ground game with 76 yards.

And the Griffins defense did a heckuva job keeping the Rusters back, considering Grossmont had five turnovers.

The only score in the second half came with 3:01 left in the game when the Rustlers booted the decisive field goal.

Freshman safety DEREK SUTHERLAND had another interception for Grossmont, giving him six on the season to lead the National Southern League.

Grossmont freshman ANDREW LIRA, out of Grossmont High, also had a pick and led the team with 10 total tackles and a pass breakup.

Sophomore PRESTON PILTOFF wrapped up a solid season with eight tackles in the final.

Freshman linebacker ANTHONY SOLA (Morse) had seven solo tackles, including three for loss and a sack. Sola finished second in the National Southern League with eight sacks.

Grossmont finished the season with a 1-9 overall record, but were on the improve throughout the second half of the season.

The program was hit by tragedy before the season was hardly underway when head coach MIKE JORDAN’s elderly parents died unexpectedly.

Jordan’s father, DAVE, put the Griffins’ football program on the national junior college scene. The pair coached together on Grossmont’s national championship team.

“(It was a) very strange season,” Mike Jordan said. “(We were) much better than 1-9 as a team.

“When it was all said and done we had a pretty good group out there playing good football. We could’ve won any of those last few games. We will still have the great percentage of our players getting scholarships out with a handful of players going D1.”

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