East County Sports

Foothillers finish as county’s top passers

Nathan Acevedo, Robert Tucker, and Justin Brown, of Grossmont

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

GROSSMONT 36, SANTA FE CHRISTIAN 22

 

By Ramon Scott

EastCountySports.com

 

LA MESA – Two of the top yardage producers in the county were on the same field Friday night at Grossmont High.

On the Foothillers’ side was Grossmont Conference scrimmage yards champ Nathan Acevedo, the top deep-play threat in the county, and a sure all-CIF first-teamer at wide receiver.

On the side of the undefeated Santa Fe Christian Eagles was the county’s rushing champion Stephen Britton, the only back or receiver to reportedly amass over 1,000 yards this spring.

Could the elite playmakers determine the outcome of the season finale?

Acevedo, a junior, had 10 receptions for a school-record 273 yards and two touchdowns from senior quarterback Justin Brown as Grossmont defeated the reputable Eagles, 36-22, in a matchup that only came to fruition a couple of weeks ago.

And the Hiller defense stopped Britton in his tracks, forcing SFC to change their tactics – something it can do well – after the senior gained just 35 yards on nine carries in his final game.

Brown, the second-leading passer in the county, threw for 331 yards and three scores in total. He had a touchdown pass to Acevedo over the defender in the end zone for 31 yards with 3:13 left in the first quarter to put the Hillers on the board.

The Eagles’ Thomas Greupner, who helped lead SFC past Mount Miguel in Spring Valley last Friday with his poise as much as with his ability, passed to Zachary Marshall for a great 26-yard touchdown, which made it 7-all just seven minutes into the game.

Joseph Garcia booted a 31-yard field goal for Grossmont three minutes into the second quarter to give Grossmont a 10-7 lead.

Greupner rushed for a 23-yard touchdown with 6:06 left in the first half as SFC led 14-10 at the intermission.

Greupner, the son of the Padres’ Chief Executive Officer Erik Greupner, passed for 182 yards on the evening but was sacked by the Grossmont defense five times, including three by junior linebacker Thomas Warsaw.

Midway through the third, Acevedo took a short pass behind the shifting blockers, but by then, he was already turning on the jets for a long-distance sprint to the end zone. However, he lost his balance trying to outrace the defender to the pylon, stepping out at the 1.

Robert Tucker had the 1-yard touchdown run with 5:43 left in the third quarter. The PAT was blocked and Grossmont led, 16-14.

Tucker, who is headed to Cornell University, finished his stellar Grossmont career with over 2,500 scrimmage yards and more than 3,000 all-purpose yards. along with 25 touchdowns.

Grossmont’s quarterback in waiting, junior Trenton Giles, got a good share of experience throughout the shortened campaign, helping contribute to the Foothillers’ county-leading passing yardage total.

However, Giles picked up a touchdown with his legs, running in from 1-yard out late in the third quarter to make it 23-14. Giles passed for 117 of the Hillers’ 448 passing yards on the night, completing 5-of-6 attempts, to nearly double his yardage output through this air this season.

Brown and Acevedo hooked up on a big play strike of 53 yards and a score one minute into the fourth quarter, extending Grossmont’s lead to 30-14. Brown rolled to his left and threw the ball with room to spare over the defense, where Acevedo jumped and caught the ball before turning and heading to the end zone.

Acevedo’s final numbers for just five games are by far and away the most impressive in the section with 34 catches for 866 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished with 1,124 all-purpose yards.

Brown completed 85 percent of his passes on the evening (35-of-41 attempts). For the season, Brown was 124-of-196 (63%) for 1,526 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Not to mention, the multi-sport star has three home runs and 14 RBI this season for GHS’ top-flight baseball squad.

SFC scored a touchdown on a pass and subsequent two-point conversion with 10:45 left to get within a score of 30-22, on a nicely crafted halfback pass on a pitch for a 67-yard play.

Brown, rolling left, hit Jhamae Vann running the back end line for a 7-yard touchdown with 2:22 left in the game for the final score

Other Hillers in the passing parade included Jawad Rivera (5 catches, 38 yards), Max Cadwalader (4 catches, 30 yards), Adam Richmond (3 catches, 28 yards), Vann (3 catches, 18 yards), Chris Chrzan (3 catches, 18 yards), and Daniel Flores (3 catches, 18 yards).

Cavin Howard led the Grossmont defense with 11 tackles (9 sol0), including two for loss.

Blake Keeling had eight stops for the Foothillers (6 solo) and a pass breakup.

Junior Brennan Sanders had an interception and eight total tackles for the Hillers.

Sanders finished the season with a team-high nine tackles-for-loss.

Joe Holenstein had a team-high three tackles-for-loss for Grossmont (2-3).

Matt Diaz and Ryan Odom also had sacks for the defense.

Odom, a junior, finished the season with a team-high 48 tackles, forcing a pair of fumbles this season.

Defensive back Christian Espino had six tackles in the finale. The junior finished third on the team with 38 total tackles.

Orange Glen was the team that had individuals finish just a few yards ahead of the Foothillers’ stars to lead the county’s individual passing and receiving categories with the prolific combination of juniors Dennis Andrew, at quarterback, and Malachi Keels, at receiver, but Grossmont played a stiffer schedule, according to the computer rankings.

Orange Glen did put up over 500 yards passing from Andrew against this same Santa Fe Christian team in a season-opening 81-54 victory. Keels had 185 yards receiving in that one.

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