Citrus Cruises Past Grossmont

Larry Cutbirth passed for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Derek Calderon returned an interception 69 yards for a score to lead Citrus to its third straight win to start the season, a 39-14 thrashing of previously-unbeaten Grossmont Saturday afternoon in Glendora.

Cutbirth threw touchdown passes to Justin Williams and Dane Cruikshank in the first quarter, and to Charles Johnson in the third quarter to lead the offense. The Owls defense registered 7 quarterback sacks, held the Griffins scoreless in the second half and even lit the scoreboard itself with Calderon's second-quarter pick-six.

Grossmont entered the game having scored 128 points in two games, and was nearly on that pace with two touchdowns in the first 20-plus minutes of this game. But after that, the Owl defense shut the Griffins out, holding Grossmont to just 293 yards of offense on the day, less than half of what the Grossmont offense averaged in those first two victories.

Two early fumbles had a big impact on the direction of the game. Citrus (3-0) forced Grossmont (2-1) to punt less than a minute into the game, and return man Justin Martin returned the kick near midfield. He was stripped of the ball, but teammate Charles Tucker recovered for the Owls at the Grossmont 37. Six plays later, Cutbirth threw his first touchdown pass of the day, a 12-yarder to Williams to give Citrus a 7-0 lead just 3:29 into the game.

Less than two minutes later, Grossmont got a huge break when Grossmont's Elijah Nailon ripped the ball from Citrus' Donovan Holmes, and Kweishi Brown recovered for the Griffins at the Citrus 10. But a 15-yard Grossmont penalty, a 6-yard sack by Citrus' Trenton Washington and two incomplete passes forced the Griffins into a 4th and 16 from the 25. On that fourth down, Kenyatta Jackson chased down Grossmont quarterback William Abt and threw him for an 18-yard loss, giving the Owls the ball at their own 49. Five plays later, Cutbirth threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Cruikshank to make it 14-0.

Grossmont got on the board when Treyous Jarrells scored on a 6-yard run with 4:56 left in the first quarter. And the Griffins got the ball back late in the quarter when the defense stopped Citrus on a 4th down play from the Grossmont 21. And Abt led the Griffins deep into Owl territory, reaching the 35. But on 4th and 4, his pass towards the right sideline was intercepted by Calderon, who returned it 69 yards for a score. On the conversion, Cutbirth, usually the holder for place kicks, took the snap, stood up and threw the ball to a wide-open Josh Lowden to make it 22-7.

Grossmont put together a 9-play, 89-yard drive on its next possession to again get within a score when Abt threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nickolas Kurtz. But that would be Grossmont's final score of the day as the Citrus defense shut the Griffins out for the final 39-plus minutes. And Citrus' lead went back to 15 points when Emmanuel Pooler used a second and third effort to turn a short yardage run into a 31-yard touchdown run later in the quarter, making it 29-14 at the half.

Citrus took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and quickly drove down the field for another touchdown to take complete control of the game. The key play was a 42-yard pass from Cutbirth to DB-turned-WR Cruikshank, which set up Cutbirth's third touchdown pass of the game, a 17-yard toss to Johnson with 11:17 left in the third quarter. That made it 36-14.

The final scoring play of the game was a 34-yard field goal by Jaime Toscano midway through the third quarter, which followed a fumble recovery by Citrus' Jose Nunez at the Grossmont 33. That made it a four-score margin at 39-14, and especially with the Citrus defense playing so well that ended any doubt as to the game's outcome.

For Citrus, Cutbirth completed 13 of 21 passes for 198 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries (13 carries for 55 yards if sacks are subtracted out). Pooler led Citrus with 75 yards rushing on 11 carries including the touchdown. Scott Calles led Owl receivers with 4 catches, good for 48 yards, though Cruikshank's 2 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown were quite significant. Jackson had 2 of the Owl defense's 7 sacks, and of course Calderon had the interception return.

For Grossmont, Abt completed 22 of 49 passes for 250 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Kurtz led all receives with 9 catches for 141 yards and a score. Jarrells led all rushers with 78 yards on 19 carries, including a touchdown. But the Grossmont ground game finished with a net of just 43 yards, mainly because of Citrus' 7 quarterback sacks for 51 yards. And Grossmont took advantage of a turnover on the pick-six, but Grossmont was unable to capitalize on four lost fumbles by Citrus.

With the win, Citrus improves to 3-0 on the season and will meet perennial power Mt. San Antonio next Saturday at 6 pm in Walnut. Grossmont falls to 2-1 and will return home to host Santa Ana next Saturday at 1 pm.

Citrus Owls 39, Grossmont Griffins 14

Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 1 pm - Citrus College Stadium - Glendora

1st Quarter:
C - Williams 12 yd pass from Cutbirth (Toscano kick) 11:31 (7-0)
C - Cruikshank 30 yd pass from Cutbirth (Toscano kick) 6:12 (14-0)
G - Jarrells 6 yd run (McGirr kick) 4:56 (14-7)

2nd Quarter:
C - Calderon 69 yd interception return (Lowden pass from Cutbirth) 12:41 (22-7)
G - Kurtz 13 yd pass from Abt (McGirr kick) 9:22 (22-14)
C - Pooler 31 yd run (Toscano kick) 3:56 (29-14)

3rd Quarter:
C - C.Johnson 17 yd pass from Cutbirth (Toscano kick) 11:17 (36-14)
C - FG Toscano 34 yds 7:23 (39-14)

4th Quarter:
No Scoring

Team Statistics:
First Downs: Citrus 19 (11 rush, 8 pass), Grossmont 22 (5 rush, 13 pass, 4 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Citrus 50-200, Grossmont 28-43
Passing Yds: Citrus 198, Grossmont 250
Comp-Att-Int: Citrus 13-21-0, Grossmont 22-50-2
Return Yds: Citrus 153, Grossmont 49
Sacks-Yds: Citrus 7-51, Grossmont 2-10
Fumbles-Lost: Citrus 6-4, Grossmont 2-1
Penalties-Yds: Citrus 11-95, Grossmont 8-80
Time of Possession: Citrus 33:21, Grossmont 26:39

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: C 21-Pooler 11-75, 4-Holmes 13-65, 2-Cutbirth 15-45, 23-Henderson 4-13, 5-Bias 4-4, 32-Gordon 2-3, 13-Cameron 1-(-5); G 3-Jarrells 19-78, 10-Hasten 1-11, 22-R.Williams 1-5, 16-Steed 2-(-10), 7-Abt 7-(-41)
Passing: C 2-Cutbirth 13-21-0-198, 3 TDs; G 7-Abt 22-49-2-250, 1 TD; 16-Steed 0-1-0-0
Receiving: C 18-Calles 4-48, 22-Cruikshank 2-72, 81-C.Johnson 2-31, 21-Pooler 2-22, 7-J.Williams 1-12, 6-Haines 1-10, 1-Barr 1-3; G 8-Kurtz 9-141, 11-Boyd 3-33, 21-T.Johnson 3-17, 86-Burks 2-37, 9-Patrick 1-8, 1-S.Jones 1-6, 5-Bowie 1-4, 10-Hasten 1-4, 3-Jarrells 1-0
Sacks-Yds: C 36-K.Johnson 2-20, 90-Lowden 1-8, 20-Brown 1-7, 35-Leater 1-7, 92-Washington 1-6, 50-Dupleasis 1-3; G 50-Lugo 1-6, 43-Codere 1-4
Interceptions-Ret Yds: C 19-Calderon 1-69, 9-Andres 1-0; G none
Fumble Rec: C 81-Nunez; G 4-K.Brown, 23-Liddell-Patacsil, 44-Scales, 55-Tufuga
Punters: C 63-Barnes 2-39.0 avg, 11-Kegans 1-60; G 91-Silter 5-37.8 avg
Kick Returns: C 33-Martin 2-63; G 1-S.Jones 2-20, 80-Farrell 2-3, 11-Boyd 1-18, 19-Stewart 1-(-3)
Punt Returns: C 33-Martin 2-21, G 11-Boyd 1-11
Missed FG: none

Notes: Both teams entered 2-0; Citrus was ranked #9 in Calif and Grossmont was ranked #10 (JCAB). Martin's 1st punt return was for 20 yds but he fumbled at the end; 48-Tucker recovered for Citrus to retain possession, and Williams' TD followed 6 plays later. 68-Nailon forced the fumble Brown recovered at the Citrus 10 but Grossmont came away empty after a 15-yd penalty, a 6-yard sack by Washington and then on 4th down K.Jackson threw Abt for an 18-yard sack, giving Citrus the ball at the Owl 49; Cruikshank's TD came 5 plays later. The field goal came after Nunez' fumble recovery. Citrus leads the all-time series, 10-4, and has won the last 2 years.

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