East County Sports

Forget the streak, Foothillers on top




By Nick Pellegrino

ECS staff writer
EL CAJON —- Besides the inaugural 1920 campaign, when Grossmont High went both winless and scoreless, it’s hard to imagine that the Foothillers once lost 17 straight games. They dropped the final six outings in 1997, went winless in 1998, then dropped the 1999 season opener before coming out on top.

Since that disastrous streak, winning has been the word at the “top of the summit” until a month, when the Hillers started their longest losing streak — five straight contests — this century.

Call the streak over — and against an arch-rival, nonetheless.

Despite being shut out in the first half, Grossmont roared back with 24 second-half points, making Senior Night memorable after stopping visiting Granite Hills, 24-14, Friday (Oct. 15) at Lt. Mitchell Stadium.

Not bad for a program that, effectively, finished in last place during the Spring 2021 season (which the Grossmont Conference officially did not keep standings) against East County’s best programs during the pandemic campaign.

“Tonight was all about finishing every play,” said Grossmont head coach Chris Holmes, who was recently an assistant coach with the Eagles before landing the Foothillers’ post this season. “Our guys showed up and executed those plays tonight. We had a big improvement in our running game, which actually started last week against Poway. If you have that running game working, you can win these tough ballgames.”

The ballgame flipped on the single-biggest play of the game.

Trailing 14-7 in the third quarter, Grossmont quarterback Trenton Giles connected on a 55-yard bomb to receiver Ryan Rodieck to tie the ballgame at 14-all.

“We needed to make some adjustments although we could’ve scored quite a bit in the first half,” Giles said. “But in the second half, we put it together.”

After that, it was all Hillers.

“Our offensive line made holes for our running game,” added Giles. “It also felt good to have time to throw the ball,”

Giles passed for 333 yards on 19-of-29 attempts. He completed a second touchdown pass in the third quarter to Gio Burns.

The Foothillers recorded five interceptions, including two by Jojo Benevente, one of which occurred on a Hail Mary to end the first half, then the second came on the first drive of the second half.

Burns, Brennan Sanders, and Luke (Yoyo) Yuretagoyena had the other picks.

Sanders and Yuretagoyena combined on another turnover when Sanders forced a fumble, which was recovered by Yuretagoyena, on a punt that was fielded just inside the Eagle 10.

Ryan Odom had a massive sack on the quarterback in the fourth quarter.

“Brennan Sanders and Ryan Odom played lights out on defense,” Holmes said.

Joseph Garcia gave the Hillers the lead in the third quarter with a 20-yard field goal.

Granite HIlls’ Jordan Glaze had an interception.

Granite Hills (4-4 overall, 0-1 GHL) assumed leads of 7-0 and 14-7 on a pair of touchdowns runs, one by running back Joaquin Thomas Jr. The junior galloped in from the Hillers’ 8 in the second quarter for the lone score of the first half.

In the third quarter, Corey Thompson-Miller then quickly scurried in from the Hillers’ 4 immediately following the intermission.

The Foothillers (3-5, 1-0 GHL) suddenly find themselves in a position to gain a legitimate shot at claiming a league title, but only if they can break a decades-long losing streak next week at Helix.

Granite Hills (4-4, 0-1).. 0 7  7 0 – 14
Grossmont (3-5, 1-0)…… 0 0 17 7 – 24
GH – Thomas 8 run (kick good)
Gro – Warsaw 8 run (J.Garcia kick)
GH – Thomas 4 run (kick good)
Gro – Rodieck 55 pass from Maleno (J.Garcia kick)
Gro – FG J.Garcia 20
Gro – Burns 8 pass from Giles (J.Garcia kick)


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