Murphy Rallies Grossmont To Victory

Reilly Murphy passed for 330 yards and 3 TDs, and rushed for another score, as Grossmont (5-1, 4-0 in conference, #4 in Southern California) overcame an early 17-point deficit to outlast host Chaffey (2-3, 2-1, #19) in a key Foothill Conference matchup Saturday in Rancho Cucamonga. 

The teams combined for 7 turnovers in a wild fourth quarter, but a blocked punt returned for a TD and Murphy's 3rd TD pass of the game, a 75-yard strike to Chris Johnson, proved to be the difference for the Griffins.

It was a wild game with several major momentum shifts, several of which were caused by the windy conditions.  Early on, it seemed that Chaffey could do nothing wrong and Grossmont could do little right.  But as the game wore on, Grossmont's immense depth (for example, 11 different Griffins caught a pass) seemed to wear down the Panthers.  Murphy threw for 2 TDs and ran for another in the third quarter when Grossmont wiped out Chaffey's 21-point lead, tying the game at 24 and setting the stage for the crazy final quarter.

In the first quarter, it looked like Chaffey might not only win, but win in a blowout.  After Grossmont received the opening kickoff, the Griffins punted after gaining only a single first down.  And Godswill Ikeokwu's kick into a stiff wind took a sharp left turn as it reached its apex, going out of bounds at the Chaffey 47 after traveling just 16 yards.  A 23-yard run by Bernard Payton got the Panthers into Grossmont territory.  Then Casey Hansen threw a screen pass to Darryl Price, who got a huge block from TE Gerald Washington and gained 22 yards to the Grossmont 8.  Moments later, Payton took a handoff from the 2, but lost the ball just before crossing the goal line.  However, luck was in his favor as the ball rolled right to him in the end zone for Chaffey's first touchdown.

The Griffins got the ball at their own 15 (after a penalty) following the kickoff.  Three plays gained 9 yards, and incredibly Grossmont elected to try for the first down on 4th and 1 at their own 24.  The Chaffey defense stopped Sean Tuiofu for no gain, giving the Panthers extraordinary field position.  It took just 5 plays for the Chaffey offense to capitalize on that opportunity.  Hansen's 11-yard TD pass to Donald Brown made it 14-0 Chaffey midway through the first quarter.

Grossmont's next possession last just 3 plays, thanks to a nice play by Chaffey DB Tim Kranawetter, who knocked the ball out of a receiver's hands at the last possible moment.  That forced a Griffin punt, and when Chaffey got the ball back, they extended their lead to 17-0 on a field goal by Fortino Amancio.  That score was set up by a 27-yard pass play on which Hansen scrambled away from the Grossmont pass rush and threw to Price, who gained 45 yards all the way to the Griffin 14. 

After an exchange of punts, Grossmont finally got on the board with a field goal by Bret Haase.  Beginning at their own 10, the Griffins ran off an 11-play, 69-yard drive that reached the Panther 21.  A 27-yard pass from Murphy to Justin Johnson got the ball near midfield, and a 17-yard toss to Damiel Imoesiri put the Griffins in scoring position.  Then Haase connected from 38 yards out to cut the Chaffey lead to 17-3, which is where things stood at the half. 

When the third quarter began, it looked like Chaffey was ready to once again take control of the game.  After taking the ball at the 20 following a touchback on the kickoff, it took the Panthers just 5 plays to score again.  A 24-yard pass from Hansen to Augustine Osuala got the ball to the 44, and a 26-yard run by Payton moved the ball to the Grossmont 30.  After Payton was thrown for a 2-yard loss on the next play, Hansen threw to Osuala again, this time for 27 yards to the Griffin 5.  On the next play, Payton scored his second touchdown of the game, making it 24-3 with less than two minutes expired in the third quarter.

But then came the drive that changed the game, a 17-play, 78-yard trudge that chewed up over 7 minutes and started the Grossmont rally.  Beginning at their own 22, the Griffins ran off play after play, slowly marching down the field.  Only three plays covered more than 9 yards:  a 14-yard pass by Murphy to Mario Brunker, a 13-yard scramble by Murphy an dan 11-yard pass by Murphy to Dupree Flenoid.  Murphy covered the final 2 yards himself, scoring on a keeper to cut the lead to 24-14.

When Chaffey got the ball back, the rested and fired-up Grossmont defense nearly got a turnover when Geoffrey Howard almost got to a tipped ball for the interception; had he made the catch, he likely would have returned it for a touchdown.  But Chaffey punted two plays later, giving Grossmont the ball at the Panther 42.  Two plays later, Murphy found Andrew Hernandez all alone behind the Chaffey defense.  With no defender within 20 yards of him,  Hernandez hauled in Murphy's pass in the end zone to bring Grossmont to within a score at 24-17.

Another Chaffey possession on offense resulted in another punt, and this time the fierce wind worked in favor of Grossmont when Amancio's kick traveled just 8 yards before being blown out of bounds at the Griffin 38.  And Grossmont needed just 6 plays to cover the 62 yards needed to tie the score.  A personal foul penalty on Chaffey got the drive started, and a 19-yard pass from Murphy to Justin Johnson moved the ball deep into Panther territory.  Then with less than a minute left in the third quarter, Murphy capped the drive with an 8-yard TD pass to Imoesiri, making it 24-24 and erasing the last of Chaffey's 21-point lead.

When the fourth quarter began, Chaffey had the ball but the Panthers soon had to punt.  With the wind now behind him, Amancio boomed a kick 51 yards.  And it looked like things were turning back in Chaffey's favor moments later when Deyon McElroy intercepted a Murphy pass on the very next play.  But on the next play, Hansen dropped the snap, and Grossmont's Roderkus Wright recovered at the Griffin 21, just 2 yards from where Grossmont had the ball before the exchange of turnovers.  Three plays gained just 4 yards, so Grossmont had to punt.  But when Chaffey got the ball, they gained just 2 yards and faced a 4th and 8 at their own 40.  Amancio went back to punt for the Panthers.

But he never got the kick away.  A host of Griffins, led by Carter Hallock, broke through, and Hallock blocked the punt.  As the ball bounced back towards the Chaffey 20, Lee Paleafei grabbed the ball and carried it across the goal line for a touchdown, giving Grossmont its first lead.  On the extra point, however, the kick was low and Chaffey's Jonathan Kale knocked the ball down, keeping the score 30-24.

Then came another series of turnovers.  When Chaffey got the ball, its next drive lasted just 3 plays before Grossmont's Magnum Mauga intercepted a Hansen pass and returned it to the Chaffey 12-yard line.  But Grossmont was unable to capitalize on the excellent field position as Myles Mason intercepted a Murphy pass in the end zone for the Panthers.  However, Chaffey's possession lasted just 5 plays though before Terry Mixon caught a pass that deflected off a receiver's hands, giving Grossmont the ball at the 50.  Three plays netted just 9 yards, and on 4th down Flenoid was stopped by the Chaffey defense, giving the Panthers the ball back at their own 41 with 6:50 left on the clock.  But three Chaffey plays gained just 3 yards, forcing another punt and giving Grossmont the ball at its own 17 with 5:42 left in the game.

Then came the play that put the Griffins in control of the game.  On 3rd and 8, WR Chris Johnson lined up along the right sideline and drew one-on-one coverage.  Murphy went back to pass, and threw a high lofting pass which Johnson outjumped Mason for, hauling the ball in around the 50 and speeding down the sideline for a 75-yard TD pass.  On the extra point, Grossmont went for the 2-point conversion.  Murphy's first pass looked to be incomplete, but Chaffey was flagged for pass interference.  And on the second try, Murphy connected with TE Jeremiah Mareko for the score.  That made it 38-24, and there was just 4:02 left in the game.

But Chaffey wasn't quite done yet.  When the Panthers got the ball, they needed just 5 plays to go down the field and cut the margin back to 7.  A 21-yard pass from Hansen to Price got the ball into Griffin territory, and a 28-yard pass to Brown got Chaffey a 1st and goal from the 7.  After a 5-yard penalty pushed the Panthers back to the 12, Hansen finished the drive with a 12-yard TD run on a QB keeper to make it 38-31 with 3 minutes exactly on the clock.

The ensuing onsides kick attempt went awry, as the ball went directly out of bounds.  However, two plays later, Chaffey's McElroy intercepted a Murphy pass, giving the Panther offense the ball at their own 28 with 1:42 left - plenty of time to drive for a tying score.  A 3-yard pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive moved the ball to the 31.  Then an 11-yard run by Hansen got the ball to the Chaffey 42.  On the next play, Payton gained 9 yards on a run to get the ball across midfield.

However, Chaffey's final rally ended on the next play when Paleafei intercepted a Hansen pass at the Grossmont 45.  It was the Panthers' fourth turnover of the quarter, which doesn't include the blocked punt, and it proved to be one too many.  Grossmont then used all but the final seconds before punting the ball back to Chaffey.  From their own 32, Chaffey had just 11.2 seconds left.  On the first play, Hansen's long pass attempt fell incomplete.  And on the final play of the game, Grossmont's Brian Stanbra sacked Hansen, a fitting end for the Griffin defense.

For Grossmont, Murphy finished 21 of 46 passing for 330 yards and 3 TDs.  He also ran for a score.  Derrell Hutsona, who battled a leg injury virtually the entire game, led Griffin rushers with 57 yards on 11 carries.  Eleven different Grossmont players caught at least one pass with Chris Johnson's 80 yards rating as the team high.  And on defense, Lee Paleafei (interception, return of blocked punt for TD), Magnum Mauga (interception) and Roderkus Wright (sack, fumble recovery) were just the most visible of a very solid group. 

For Chaffey, Hansen finished 14 of 35 for 259 yards and a TD.  He also rushed for a touchdown.  Payton led all rushers with 137 yards on 30 carries, and scored a pair of TDs.  Price led all receivers with 5 catches for 109 yards.  On defense, McElroy led the way with a pair of interceptions.

With the win, Grossmont remains unbeaten in Foothill Conference play and is all alone in first place.  Chaffey falls to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference. 

SCORING SUMMARY

1st Quarter:

C – Payton 2 yd run (Amancio kick) 10:37 -- 0-7
C – Brown 11 yd pass from Hansen (Amancio kick) 7:04 -- 0-14

2nd Quarter:

C – FG Amancio 25 yds 14:02 -- 0-17
G – FG Haase 38 yds 6:05 -- 3-17

3rd Quarter:

C – Payton 5 yd run (Amancio kick) 13:12 -- 3-24
G – Murphy 2 yd run (Haase kick) 6:08 -- 10-24
G – Hernandez 42 yd pass from Murphy (Amancio kick) 4:47 -- 17-24
G – Imoesiri 8 yd pass from Murphy (Amancio kick) 0:28.6 -- 24-24

4th Quarter:

G – Paleafei 21 yd return of blocked punt (kick blocked) 12:20         -- 30-24
G – C.Johnson 75 yd pass from Murphy (Mareko pass from Murphy) 4:02 -- 38-24
C – Hansen 12 yd run (Amancio kick) 3:00 -- 38-31

Team Statistics: Chaffey Grossmont
First Downs 19 (5 run;11 pass; 3 penalty) 16 (2 run; 12 pass; 2 penalty)
Rushes – Yards 40-169 36-61
Passing Yards 259 330
Comp - Att – Int 14-35-3 21-46-3
Return Yards 45 161
Sacks – Yards 3-37 2-6
Fumbles – Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties – Yards 11-74 10-96
Time of Possession 30:53 29:07

 Individual Statistics:

Rushing:  C:  34-Payton 30-137, 3-Hansen 8-24, 23-A.Williams 2-8 G:  2-Hutsona 11-57, 21-Gardner 5-12, 23-Anderson 6-10, 30-Flenoid 5-9, 35-Tuiofu 1-0, 36-Jefferson 2-(-3), 10-Murphy 6-(-24)

Passing: C:  3-Hansen 14-35-3-259, 1 TD G:  10-Murphy 21-46-3-330, 3 TDs

Receiving: C:  11-Price 5-109, 1-Osuala 4-80, 17-Brown 3-42, 23-A.Williams 1-16, 18-Acuna 1-12 G:  81-Jus.Johnson 3-61, 16-Imoesiri 3-33, 20-Brunker 3-30, 83-C.Johnson 2-80, 5-Omar 2-26, 30-Flenoid 2-19, 87-Oberwager 2-13, 19-Hernandez 1-42, 21-Gardner 1-11, 2-Hutsona 1-8, 38-Williams 1-7

Int-Ret Yds: C:  36-McElroy 2-13, 26-Mason G:  1-Mixon 1-0, 43-Paleafei 1-3, 44-Mauga 1-42

Fum Rec: C:  none  G:  97-Wright

Sacks: C:  21-Legere, 41-Lewis, 22-Parker ½, 81-Plante ½  G:  97-Wright, 59-Stanbra

Punters: C:  19-Amancio 7-32.3 avg + 1 blk  G:  56-Ballman 5-31.6 avg; 50-Ikeokwu 1-16

Kick Ret: C:  17-Brown 1-18, 21-Legere 1-10 G:  2-Hutsona 2-41, 86-Luckett 1-15, 33-Horn 1-9

Punt Ret: C:  2-Kranawetter 1-4 G:  39-G.Howard 2-7, 2-Hutsona 1-4, 13-Hallock 1-19, 43-Paleafei 0-21

Notes:  Grossmont ent. 4-1, #4 in South, #16 in nation (JC Grid-Wire); Chaffey ent. 2-2, #19 in South. Chaffey's 1st TD (Payton recovered his own fumble in the end zone) came after Ikeokwu's short punt into the wind (it was very windy).  Chaffey's 2nd TD came after Grossmont went for 1st on 4th and 1 from their own 24. 13-Hallock blocked the punt Paleafei returned for a TD.  72-Kale blocked the XPA for Chaffey.  The teams combined for 7 turnovers and the blocked punt in the 4th qtr.

 


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