East County Sports

Competitiveness for Hillers spills over

Grossmont's Tim Desmond wraps up West Hills' Brendan Greene on Friday night. / photo by Vic Marano




By Jim Lindgren  

LA MESA – Grossmont had to wait 16 months between football games and then an additional week after its scheduled first game against Mission Hills was canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test result in the Mission Hills program.

Seems like the Foothillers were beyond the itchy waiting point for a real game in this abbreviated spring season.

Two quarterbacks threw a pair of touchdown passes, the kicker made three goals, the offense rolled up 463 total yards and the defense yielded only 77 yards and darn near shut out West Hills in a 44-3 victory at Jack Mashin Stadium.

“The part I liked the most was the environment of team and the enjoyment of competition,” Grossmont coach Tom Karlo said. “I just appreciated everything about it. It felt good to have that competitiveness.”

It was 27-0 at halftime before the Wolf Pack kicked a field goal with about 8 minutes to play in the third quarter.

Two minutes later, Justin Brown answered with his second touchdown pass to Nate Acevedo. Three minutes later, Joseph Garcia booted his third field goal to make it 37-3. Early in the fourth quarter, Trenton Giles tossed his second touchdown pass to Jawad Rivera and the scoring was complete after Garcia made his fifth of five PAT attempts.

Garcia’s field goals came from 22, 42, and 37, but a 48-yard attempt failed.

In a most-efficient manner, Brown threw for 194 yards on 16-of-21 passing with two TDs and an interception. Giles was 9-of-13 passing for 82 and two TDs.

Acevedo caught six passes for 100 yards and two scores. Rivera nabbed four balls for 29 yards and two scores. Max Cadwalader made four catches for 47 yards, and Adam Richmond added three for 28 yards as 10 receivers caught passes for the Foothillers, who routinely rank among the leaders every season in total yards throughout the San Diego Section.

Oh, and there was Robert Tucker as well. The Foothillers’ most heralded returning player amassed nearly 2,000 yards last season, was selected to the All-CIF team, and is headed to Cornell in a few months.

He carried the ball only eight times but gained 81 yards and returned a punt 32 yards as Karlo made sure to give every player plenty of reps.

Jerico Munroe added 49 yards and Brown 41, including a TD, to lead a 187-yard ground attack. Brown and Giles combined for 276 yards and four TDs. Acevedo also had two punt returns for 69 yards in the complete game.

Cavin Howard (6 tackles), Ryan Odom (5 tackles), and Ethan Brocious (4 tackles) led the defense, which allowed only 1.2 yards per carry. Blake Keeling (3 tackles) and Kyle Zoellner each recovered a fumble. Brayden Armstrong and Matt Knight both posted sacks.

“We rotated everyone in the game,” Karlo said. “And it was great to see so many of them afterward. You’d have thought we’d won CIF. The kids were so excited.”

West Hills senior Brandon Kelley terminated the first drive of the game with an interception.

Max Conaway had a workout as the Wolf Pack punter but represented his position well, consistently kicking away and distant from the Hillers’ dangerous return specialists.

Grossmont (1-0) plays at Granite Hills (1-0) next Friday for the first of two games against the Eagles this spring. West Hills (0-1) plays host to Monte Vista (1-0) on Friday.


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