East County Sports

Foothillers beat Knights at own game




EastCountySports.com staff report


EL CAJON – With perhaps a chip on their shoulder pads, Grossmont proved they could play a tough, hard-nosed team from North County’s vaunted Avocado League and beat them at their own game. In the playoffs, no less.


Robert Tucker rushed for 155 yards and Jaime Odom added 122 as the Foothillers gained 302 yards on the ground and pulled away from San Marcos for a 34-20 win in the first round of the San Diego Section Division I playoffs on Friday night at Jack Mashin Stadium.

“It was amazing,” Odom said. “Playoff wins are always the best, especially with this home crowd. They all showed up and cheered us on the whole game.”


With the convincing victory, No. 5 seed Grossmont (8-3) advances to the quarterfinals at No. 4 Madison (6-4) next Friday. The Warhawks defeated Grossmont, 34-13, on Sept. 27. The Foothillers edged Madison, 44-42, in a wild and crazy first-round playoff game last year.


Against No. 12 San Marcos (4-7), the Foothillers had 456 yards as Odom also threw for 154 yards and a TD and Tucker finished with 265 all-purpose yards.


The Grossmont defense limited San Marcos to 160 rushing yards and 284 total yards and forced three turnovers to claim victory.


“We played physical and had key turnovers,” Grossmont coach Tom Karlo said. “I’m proud of the guys. We were able to play a physical game against a North County team and beat them at their own game.”


Chris Alba led the defense with 11 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Austin Wittmayer posted eight tackles and an interception. Cam Sanderlin had eight tackles and a sack.


Blake Keeling (10 tackles), Caden Matta (9) and Matt Diaz (interception) also played well, limiting the Knights to 4.0 yards per carry and only 124 passing yards from QB Carter Shultz, who was filling in for injured starter Emmett Brown.


Grossmont’s up-tempo offense provided plenty of highlights as well.


Odom completed 13-of-23 passes for 154 yards, including a 22-yard TD pass to Brody Schicker, who finished with five catches for 69 yards. Chris Chrzan caught two balls for 14 yards.


Tucker pulled in four receptions for 60 yards. He had 13 carries to gather his 155 rushing yards. His 265 all-purpose yards puts him over 2,000 for the season.


“It was tough,” said Odom, who also fumbled twice with one setting up a Knights’ TD. “We shot ourselves in the foot here and there, couple turnovers here and there, but the resilience of this team is huge.


“We believed in each other the entire game.”


Grossmont tallied first on a 5-yard TD keeper by Odom.


The Knights’ Kaden Vohnout then scored on 7- and 6-yard runs to give San Marcos a 13-7 lead in the first quarter. Vohnout finished with 28 carries for 145 yards and two TDs.


In the second quarter, Odom scored on another 5-yard keeper to put Grossmont up 14-13.


Minutes later, Odom heaved a long and high pass toward the front right corner of the end zone that Schicker came down with, cutting in front of a defender and tracking the ball in to score a 22-yard TD and give the Foothillers a 20-13 lead at intermission.


San Marcos tied it at 20 in the third quarter on a 27-yard pass from Shultz to Zavion Reese.


Later in the third, Tucker burst up the middle and raced 47 yards for a score to put Grossmont up for good. Alba added a 3-yard TD run to seal the win.


“Our tempo and the kind of game we play kind of wore them down,” Karlo said. “We were really happy to win this game but also the way we won this game.


“We played physical football, stopped the run and got some key turnovers in the second half. We persevered and played well and beat a really good team from North County.”


The Foothillers began this season 4-0 until Madison handed them a sound defeat at Grossmont.


In last year’s playoff game at Madison, Grossmont was 3-7 but took a 24-point lead in the first half. Madison rallied to take the lead and Grossmont needed an Odom-to-Schicker 26-yard TD pass with 35 seconds left to go up 44-42. After a 25-minute delay when the lights suddenly went out, Madison missed a 38-yard field-goal attempt.


Grossmont started playing football in 1920 and Madison in 1962. Before last year’s playoff game, they had never played. Now, they will meet for the third time in 12 months.





San Marcos 13 0 7 0 – 20

Grossmont  7 13 7 7 – 34

G – Jaime Odom 5 run (Axel Gonzalez kick)

SM – Kaden Vohnout 7 run (kick failed)

SM – Kaden Vohnout 6 run (Evan Vanderhei kick)

G – Jaime Odom 5 run (Axel Gonzalez kick)

G – Brody Schicker 22 pass from Jaime Odom (kick failed)

SM – Zavion Reese 27 pass from Carter Schultz (Evan Vanderhei kick)

G – Robert Tucker 47 run (Axel Gonzalez kick)

G – Chris Alba 3 run (Axel Gonzalez kick)

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