East County Sports

Griffins aren’t picky in beating Lancers

Grossmont freshman Tyler Buckley hangs on to a Lancer on Saturday. / Michael Watkins

2021 GROSSMONT COLLEGE FOOTBALL

GRIFFINS 24, PASADENA 19

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

EL CAJON —- Grossmont College safety Antoine Walker should’ve been on the radar of Division I football programs following a strong junior year at Steele Canyon High thanks to his breakaway speed. He was even given chances on offense and special teams to showcase his skills on a member of the Cougars club that had a fleet of speed burners.

However, a senior campaign where he was named to the All-East County defensive back after recording five interceptions, including three in one game, left him with few choices, and NCAA schools looked in other directions for some reason.
On Saturday (Oct. 16), Walker registered a pair of second-half interceptions, both featuring long returns to set up a pair of scoring drives, as the Griffins expanded a tight 14-12 advantage into a double-digit lead in knocking off division-leading Pasadena City, 24-19, at Mashin-Roth Memorial Field.
Walker’s first pick featured a 20-yard runback, setting up a 12-yard touchdown reception by Perry Steele (also a Steele Canyon product) in the third period. It was Steele’s second TD reception on the afternoon, as he matched a career-best with eight catches (76 yards).
Late in the fourth, Walker nearly went all the way with a 38-yard return, as the Griffins took more than five minutes off the clock before settling for a 32-yard, victory-clinching field goal by Nate Hughes, from Santana High.
Pasadena (4-2 overall, 2-1 ACMD) posted a cosmetic touchdown in the final minute, but Grossmont’s Kadeem Bakare easily recovered the ensuing onside kickoff as the Griffins (also 4-2, 1-1) moved into a major logjam for second place in the Mountain Division of the CCCAA American Conference. Mt. San Jacinto (2-0) is the lone unbeaten in conference play.
Grossmont quarterback Brady Abt overcame a rough first half when he suffered three of his four interceptions, by throwing for 288 yards and three TDs on 23-for-35 passing.
Trailing 6-0, Abt’s first score went to Payton Monson on a 20-yarder for a 7-6 lead. On the next series, Abt found Steele for their first TD on a 2-yard strike and a 14-6 halftime lead.
The Abt-Steele combination opened the third period on a 2-yard pass, but when the Lancers answered, they missed the 2-point conversion which allowed the G-House to maintain the lead.
On defense for Grossmont, linebacker Jagger Giles was the leading tackler for the fourth time in six contests. Giles made 12 stops, including a forced fumble.
Chance Lovato added eight tackles, and also had an interception, while three others — Rock Gonzalaz, Aldo Olweny, and Robert Dorame — posted a half-dozen tackles each.

The Griffins collected five turnovers — three picks and a pair of fumbles — while sacking the Pasadena QB on two occasions.

Griffin Grafffiti: Although Pasadena now the leads the all-time series, 6-3, all of the Lancers victories came in the 20th Century. Since 2001, Grossmont has won three straight. Included were triumphs in 2010 (69-34) and 2011 (42-13).

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