East County Sports

Fast-rising Eagles among county best

Granite Hills' Juni Harris runs with the ball against Mt. Carmel




EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – Granite Hills put up 34 points before pulling its starters in the third quarter on Friday night. A rookie quarterback behind an inexperienced offensive line posted 240 passing yards with four touchdowns in 2½ quarters.

Still, head coach Kellan Cobbs wasn’t completely satisfied.

“Our offense has to come along, but we’re making progress,” Cobbs said after the Eagles whipped Mt. Carmel, 34-14, to move to 2-0 in a young and promising season.

“I think our defense is really good, but we still made some mistakes on offense,” Cobbs said. “We have to clean those things up.”

Expectations are a bit higher now that the Eagles are once again perennial powers in the East County and earned a tri-championship with Helix and Steele Canyon in the tough Grossmont Hills League last year.

In the past six seasons, Granite Hills has advanced to the playoff semifinals four times and the quarterfinals twice. However, the Eagles have not played in a section championship game since losing to Morse in 1979. They also lost their only other section final in 1975.

Cobbs wants to clear that hurdle soon.

In just his second start, junior Justus McComb completed 18-of-24 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns as Granite Hills took a 34-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

Granite Hills forces a fumble against Mt. Carmel on Friday night.

“We were able to get some big plays last night and really stretch the field,” McComb said. “I was able to go to a lot of different receivers, which really made it easy for me to make the reads. The reads were pretty simple last night and at some points, I stretched myself a little too thin trying to fit balls in where I shouldn’t have, but I’m going to fix that this week.”

Jacob Setterberg caught seven passes for 98 yards, including TDs of 20 and 19 yards. James Johnson hauled in five passes for 65 yards, including a 36-yard TD. Sophomore wideout Jaquayle Hodges had a 5-yard TD reception.

“I thought we did well but need to clean up the mental mistakes,” Setterberg said. “I think Justus is a very good pocket passer, and we have a great year ahead with me and James Johnson as targets.”

Junior center Dimitri Fuentes (5-9, 275) is the only returning starter on the offensive line, but Cobbs has noticed the steady improvement of the young unit, which includes juniors Stan Earley (6-4, 285), Blake Riley (5-8, 235) and Ryan Dobbs (6-1, 225) and sophomore Tanner Vielguth (6-1, 210).

“My line gave me a lot of time to see what was going on with the defense, which made it easy,” McComb said.

“They’re coming along, for sure,” Cobbs said. “They’re getting better every week. That’s all I can ask for.”

On defense, Matt Keeley had two interceptions, giving him three for the season. Zoseph Cuero forced and recovered a fumble. Ethen Bishop had 12 tackles and returned a punt for a touchdown.

Granite Hills’ James Johnson against Mt. Carmel on Friday.

“All that was going through my mind was not to drop the ball,” Bishop said.

Juni Harris, the Eagles’ shutdown cornerback, still has not allowed a pass reception in his area.

Granite Hills beat Poway, 28-24, in Week 1 with McComb throwing for 252 yards and a TD in his debut.

The Eagles (2-0) play at Madison (1-1) next Friday. The Warhawks were ranked No. 9 before losing to Steele Canyon, 19-14, on Friday. They feature one of the best running backs in the county in Ke’ontae Springs.

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