East County Sports

Eagle Rodgers rates impressive in victory




EastCountySports.com staff report


Rodgers, in his first varsity start, completed his first 12 passes of the game and finished with 161 yards to help Granite Hills take a 35-14 non-league win over host Otay Ranch in a game played at Hilltop High.

Granite Hills had suffered back-to-back losses to rising county stalwarts Madison and Eastlake and it figured this year’s version of the Mustangs figured to give the Eagles yet another challenge.

Throw in the fact that Granite was going to be without its starting quarterback and even the most ardent supporters of the team might’ve had some question about the team’s chances in this one.

Rodgers was thrust into duty last week in a shutout loss to Eastlake, as the Eagles may have had to scrap their original plan of attack, for a safer, ground-oriented approach. But given the start, Rodgers proved ready.

The Eagle defense set the tone, however, when an errant snap on the second play of the game resulted in a defensive touchdown by senior Brandon Kleist, who fell on the ball in the end zone.

Zak Darling scored on a  33-yard run for the Eagles with 2:26 left in the first quarter.

Senior Jaquayle Hodges returned from being sidelined with an injury and scored on a 5-yard run midway through the second quarter to make it 21-0, a lead which the Eagles carried into halftime.

“It feels great to be back on the field doing what I love,” Hodges said. “Defenders should definitely be worried when I step on the field because I’m a big key to our offense. It was hard for me and the team to take in the two losses, so we came into the game motivated to change our record. ”

The Eagles scored on their first drive of the third quarter when Rodgers threw a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Granite Hills junior Easton Peterson intercepted a pair of passes. including a 94-yard interception return for a touchdown with two minutes left in the game.

“It was a great team win and I am just fortunate to play with a great group of guys on a great defense,” Peterson said. “Hopefully, this win helps us get on the right track and we can continue to build as a team and take care of business on the field from here on out. It was great to get the win tonight with my teammates who played their hearts out.”

Granite Hills kept Otay Ranch (1-2) off the scoreboard until early in the fourth quarter when Mustang quarterback Brian Rudden threw a 35-yard touchdown pass. The QB added a 22-yard rushing touchdown five minutes later to make it a two-score game with 4:30 to go in the game.

The Eagles were hitting the Mustangs hard all night.

Senior Zach Burton had two sacks for Granite.

Carter Braun, also a senior, had four tackles for the Eagles

Senior Trusten Heck had two tackles for loss for GHHS

Eagles sophomore Jordan Glaze had five tackles and a pass break up.

Next week, the Eagles will travel out of the state for a game for the first time in school history, and the team’s first contest out of the section since a 1980 trip to face Pacifica High, of Garden Grove, a game won by Granite Hills, 10-7, as part of a 7-2-1 season that saw the Eagles finish second in the Grossmont League.

The Eagles should certainly be a favorite to win when they meet Walden Grove (2-1), of Sahuarita, Ariz. The Red Wolves are the Eagles’ second lowest-rated opponent on this season’s schedule, with only Valhalla rated lower.

Granite Hills 14 7 7 7 — 35

Otay Ranch     0 0 0 14 —14

GH — Kleist fumble recovery in end zone (Carpenter kick)

GH — Darling 33 run (Carpenter kick)

GH — Hodges 5 run (Carpenter kick)

GH — Rodgers 10 pass (Carpenter kick)

OR — Baca 35 pass from Rudden (Franke kick)

OR — Rudden 22 run (Franke kick)

GH — Peterson 94 Interception return (Carpenter kick)


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