East County Sports

Griffs earn attention with upset of Jags

Grossmont's Keiyon Holloway (6) and Chris Dartey celebrate on Saturday night.



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

CHULA VISTA — The Southwestern College Jaguars picked this year’s season opener for its recruitment night invitation to local high school seniors looking for a team to join in 2023.

Usually held later in the season, maybe the recently up-and-down Jags wanted to make sure they would be able to put on a decent performance against a team they have had some success against over the last several years in the Grossmont Griffins.

While the local prospects might’ve been awed by SWC’s great facilities, the team in green and gold was the one to keep an eye on by the end of the fourth quarter on Saturday night, as Grossmont scored the only two touchdowns of the final 15 minutes to rally for a 41-31 victory at DeVore Stadium.

The win by the Griffs also spoiled the debut of new Jaguar head coach Junior Monarrez, who moved into the post following the retirement of coaching legend Ed Carberry.

Maybe the new Southwestern skipper thought they would stick it to the Griffins and impress the visitors, which included players from the Grossmont Conference, but Grossmont, which currently hails from the lower-rated grouping of the two conferences, showed that for now, they are on top when it comes to meeting their local rival.

“I’m real proud of my team and staff,” Grossmont College head coach Michael Jordan said. “We made our share of mental mistakes but fought through the adversity multiple times and were able to get the dub.”

Following just the first week of the season and a series of Jaguar wins over the Griffs, the rivalry is back on for now.

“It was nice to have a bunch of local recruits at the game,” Jordan quipped. “Thanks to Southwestern inviting everybody.”

How heated is this series becoming? The highly disappointed Jaguars — the hosts — didn’t even bother posting full official game statistics; only sharing their own numbers and not Grossmont’s.

Those in attendance, including the prospective recruits, saw a competitive game for three quarters, but the Jags held a narrow 31-27 lead through three quarters. But the final quarter was all Grossmont.

The see-saw affair saw Southwestern take a 3-point halftime lead, 17-14 (all scored in the second period), expanding the margin by a point entering the fourth.

However, the Grossmont defense blanked the Jags down the stretch, allowing the offense to come away with the triumph.

Griffin sophomore quarterback Elia Kirisimasi, out of Steele Canyon, passed for three touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown.

Kirisimasi lit up the Jaguars with a monster night, throwing for 402 yards on 32-of-41 attempts. Included were touchdown passes of 27, 19, and 4 yards.

The Grossmont touchdown scorers included Chris Dartey, Paul Solanke, Lukas Spencer, and Keiyon Holloway.

Jimmy Inman, Kader Dop, and Jo’Vahn Young had touchdowns for the Jaguars.

Meanwhile, Monarrez and the Southwestern staff are looking up from the bottom of the local rankings of the four community college teams after Week 1.

The new coach was the long-time assistant and defensive coordinator for Carberry, one of just a few coaches in history to gain 100 career wins at both the high shcool (Monte Vista) and community college level.

SAN DIEGO MESA 42, WEST LA 20 – The Olympians led 28-0 at halftime as Gunnar Gray finished with three passing touchdowns for visiting Mesa.

Anthony Gilpin caught two of the scores and finished with seven receptions for 131 yards.

Gray passed for 217 yards on 15-of-24 through the air.

Former Steele Canyon High player Junior Akuntunde led Mesa with 59 yards rushing, including a touchdown just 4:49 into the contest.

Eric Gant, out of Poway, gave the Olympians a 14-0 lead with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown with 8:26 left in the first quarter.

Mesa led 35-0 before West LA scored with 6:11 to play in the third quarter.

PALOMAR 41, VICTOR VALLEY 17 – The visiting Comets scored 41 unanswered points after trailing 17-0 2:27 into the second quarter.

Kiah Reid rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another for Palomar.

Landon Ogles booted a pair of field goals for the Comets.

Jayden Ireland had a short return of an interceptions for a touchdown with 9:08 left in the second quarter for the Comets’ first score.


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