East County Sports

Eagles play long ball to top Foothillers

By Jim Lindgren

EL CAJON – Grossmont High senior Justin Brown hit a grand slam on Wednesday and a two-run homer on Thursday. He couldn’t hit the long ball on Friday, however.


In this strangest-of-all high school springs, Brown had 6 RBI this week as Grossmont moved to 3-0 in baseball.


On Friday … in football … Brown threw for 266 yards but came up empty in the end zone as Granite Hills handed Grossmont a 20-7 defeat in front of about 600 fans at Valley Stadium.


Brown’s counterpart, Justus McComb of Granite Hills, threw for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran for 89 yards as the No. 9-ranked Eagles (3-0) downed the No. 10 Foothillers (1-1) in the first of two meetings between these Grossmont Hills League powers.


Sophomore tailback Joaquin Thomas blasted a couple of “homers” – a 76-yard touchdown run and an 89-yard pass reception from McComb to give Granite Hills only its third win over Grossmont since 2000. The Eagles lead the overall series 28-22-1.


“It was a great team win,” McComb said. “We played hard. Everyone was doing their job. The defense played great. It was awesome. All around great job.”


Granite Hills scored the first three touchdowns – all in the first half – and then held off a barrage of attempts by Grossmont in the second half.


Grossmont had a poor punt snap result in a 6-yard loss by punter Jhamae Vann after the first series. That gave Granite Hills the ball on the 15-yard line.


McComb ran for 3 and then 6 yards, and on fourth-and-1 from the 6-yard line, he faked another run, stood up tall and fired a strike across the goal line to Angel Almazon for a 7-0 lead at 9:28.


Grossmont punted three more times before missing a 20-yard field-goal attempt early in the second quarter.


Two plays later, Thomas found a running seam through the left side and darted 76 yards for a 13-0 lead.


“I just saw the open field,” Thomas said. “The O-line did their job. I just had to do my job and get it in the end zone.”


Granite Hills’ Michael Wallace snared a deflected pass for an interception on the ensuing possession, and the Eagles drove 51 yards before a fumble that was recovered by Grossmont’s Cavin Howard.


Brown then lofted a deep pass to Nate Acevedo for a 68-yard gain, but three plays later, the ’Hillers were forced to punt again.


On the next play, Thomas, out of the backfield, found an open seem down the left hashmarks, McComb hit him in stride, and Thomas raced untouched for an 89-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead.


“Great ball by Justus,” Thomas said. “He put it right where only I could touch it. Perfect. Hauled it in and took it for 6.”


McComb finished 10-of-20 for 206 yards and 2 TDs without an interception. Thomas rushed 8 times for 80 yards and a score and caught 3 passes for 92 yards and a score.


After a sluggish first half in which Grossmont had only 89 yards, Brown kick-started a comeback. Following a 46-yard pass from Brown to Acevedo, Robert Thomas scored on an 11-yard run to make it 20-7 with 4:41 left in the third quarter.


That would be the end of the scoring, however, as Grossmont’s last three series ended in a three-and-out punt and a pair of 11-play drives that stalled with incompletions on fourth down.


“We just made too many mistakes,” Grossmont coach Tom Karlo said. “You can’t do that against a good team.”


Granite Hills was 5-6 last year with consecutive losses to Steele Canyon, Grossmont, El Capitan and Helix before bowing to La Costa Canyon in the playoffs. Four of those teams are on this year’s abbreviated schedule. So far, Granite Hills has defeated Valhalla, El Capitan and Grossmont.


“This is our revenge tour,” McComb said. “We lost to four teams (last year) on our schedule this season. We’re trying to get some revenge this year.”


Andy Lowry had a pair of sacks for the Eagles. Freshman Jordan Glaze, sophomore Zach Burton and senior Jack Dettweiler also stood out on defense.


“Defense played lights out tonight,” Granite Hills coach Kellan Cobbs said. “They were flying around making plays. I can’t say enough.”

Kicker/punter Camden Vance also made an impact. He was 2-for-2 on PATs and boomed a number of punts to give the Eagles field position advantage several times.


“He really flipped the field for us,” Cobbs said.


Thomas and Almazan led the Eagles with 5 receptions for 60 yards. Grossmont’s Adam Richmond made 7 receptions for 37 yards, and Acevedo grabbed 6 balls for 168 yards.


“We just made too many mistakes,” Grossmont coach Tom Karlo said. “You can’t do that against a good team.”


Grossmont plays at Helix next Friday … in football. The Foothillers’ baseball team plays at Cathedral Catholic in the prestigious Lions Tournament on Monday.


Granite Hills is hoping to fill an open date on Friday and plays host to Helix on April 9. Baseball has Rancho Bernardo on Monday in the Lions.


Grossmont 0 0 7 0 – 7  

Granite Hills 7 13 0 0 – 20  

GH – Angel Almazan pass from Justus McComb (Camden Vance kick)

GH – Joaquin Thomas 76 run (kick failed)

GH – Joaquin Thomas 89 pass from Justus McComb (Camden Vance kick)

G – Robert Tucker 11 run (Joseph Garcia kick)


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