But the Warriors somehow managed to exceed any expectations, dominating the game in virtually every aspect in a 56-13 thrashing of the Griffins Saturday night in Torrance.
El Camino racked up over 600 yards of offense, held Grossmont to just 127 yards (minus-25 yards rushing) and led from start to finish. It took the Warriors just 32 seconds to score the game's first touchdown, despite Grossmont having received the opening kickoff. By the middle of the second quarter, the score was 35-0 after El Camino had scored on five of its first six possessions of the night.
Quarterback Boo Jackson, who led the Warriors to the state title last year, led the way with a 13-for-21 performance passing the ball, good for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Tavares Pressley, a transfer who starred at Monterey Peninsula College last season, rushed 10 times for 159 yards and two scores, including an electrifying 75-yard dash early in the third quarter.
Grossmont took the opening kickoff, but on its second play from scrimmage Garen Demery fumbled and Kaipo Sarkissian recovered for El Camino at the Griffin 36. On El Camino's first play on offense, star receiver Corey Surrency drew a pass interference call on the defense, moving the ball to the 21. On the next play, Jackson threw to Verran Tucker for the score, giving El Camino a 7-0 lead with just 32 seconds elapsed in the game.
El Camino threatened to answer back on its next possession, and after a 33-yard pass from Blake Sutton to Christopher Smith, moved to the El Camino 29. But the drive stalled there, and Jonathan Williams' 46-yard field goal attempt was wide to the right.
That turned out to be Grossmont’s last opportunity to tie the score. A 25-yard run by Pressley, a 30-yard dash by Jeremy Francis and a 13-yard toss from Jackson to Harry Deberry highlighted a quick 5-play drive that made it 14-0 less than four minutes into the game.
And from there, the game quickly turned into a rout. After a Grossmont punt, Emmanuel Butler capped a 7-play, 60-yard drive that made it 21-0 with 6:20 left in the first quarter. Following an exchange of punts, El Camino expanded the lead to 28-0 when Jackson scored from 12 yards out on a scramble with 9:33 left in the first half. Then El Camino got the ball back just 42 seconds later when Tolu Moala recovered a botched pitchout attempt by Sutton at the Grossmont 29. Two plays later, Pressley scored on a 20-yard run to make it 35-0 with 8:38 still remaining in the second quarter.
The outcome of the game was decided by that point, but Pressley saved his best run of the night for the second half. On the first play of the third quarter, the 6-2, 220-pound back took the handoff, headed right, and burst through the line into the defensive backfield. Around midfield, he cut towards the left sideline, outrunning all Griffin pursuers and sprinting into the end zone for an amazing 75-yard touchdown run.
El Camino's other scores came on a 4-yard pass from Jackson to Francis on the Warriors’ next possession, Jackson's final pass attempt of the night, and a 2-yard scoring run by Jonathan Hokama early in the fourth quarter.
Grossmont got its first score late in the first half when Sutton threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Elijah Brown to cut the El Camino lead to 35-6. And with just under six minutes left in the game, linebacker Brian Ray stripped the ball from El Camino backup quarterback Kevin Romero, picked up the bouncing spheroid at the 8 and carried it into the end zone for the game’s final score.
El Camino racked up an amazing total of 606 yards on offense and 31 first downs despite the starters seeing very limited action in the second half. Ten Warrior rushers combined for 371 yards on 53 carries on the night. And the Warrior defense held Grossmont to just 127 net yards, including minus-25 on the ground (creating an unbelievable differential of 396 yards between the rushing totals).
For Grossmont, the highlights were few and far between. Sutton finished 13 of 36 passing for 152 yards and TD despite spending much of the night trying to elude the El Camino pass rush. Ray had the sack-and-fumble recovery for the Griffins’ second touchdown. And punter Bret Haase had a strong game, averaging 41.8 yards per kick on 6 punts and also successfully attempting Grossmont’s final extra point.
Next week, El Camino will travel to Bakersfield for a rematch of last year's Southern California championship game, won in overtime by the Warriors. Grossmont, meanwhile, will try to regroup in time for its much-anticipated showdown with local rival Palomar.
El Camino Warriors 56
Grossmont Griffins 13
Saturday, September 1, 2007 - 6 pm - Murdock Stadium - Torrance
EC - Tucker 21 yd pass from Jackson (Cullen kick) 14:28 (7-0)
EC - Deberry 13 yd pass from Jackson (Cullen kick) 11:08 (14-0)
EC - Butler 6 yd run (Cullen kick) 6:20 (21-0)
EC - Jackson 12 yd run (Cullen kick) 9:33 (28-0)
EC - Pressley 20 yd run (Cullen kick) 8:38 (35-0)
G - Brown 15 yd pass from B.Sutton (kick wide right) 3:48 (35-6)
EC - Pressley 75 yd run (Cullen kick) 14:40 (42-6)
EC - Sala 4 yd pass from Jackson (#70 kick) 11:14 (49-6)
EC - Hokama 2 yd run (#70 kick) 10:40 (56-6)
G - B.Ray 8 yd fumble return (Haase kick) 5:38 (56-13)
First Downs: El Camino 31 (16 rush, 13 pass, 2 penalty), Grossmont 11 (1 rush, 7 pass, 3 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: El Camino 53-371, Grossmont 21-(-25)
Passing Yds: El Camino 235, Grossmont 152
Comp-Att-Int: El Camino 17-27-1, Grossmont 13-36-1
Return Yds: El Camino 57, Grossmont 154
Sacks-Yds: El Camino 3-31, Grossmont 2-20
Fumbles-Lost: El Camino 3-3, Grossmont 2-2
Penalties-Yds: El Camino 11-90, Grossmont 10-94
Time of Possession: El Camino 35:17, Grossmont 24:43
Rushing: El Camino 9-Pressley 10-159, 14-G.Ray 4-49, 4-Francis 3-45, 31-Hokama 11-32,
10-Tuli 7-29, 33-Butler 7-25, 22-Hill 4-18, 8-Jackson 4-13, 34-Areyan 1-6, 11-Romero 2-(-5);
Grossmont 1-Demery 5-13, 10-K.Sutton 1-5, 21-Daniels 5-5, 32-Reid 5-3, 5-Young 1-(-4),
Passing: El Camino 8-Jackson 13-21-0-179, 3 TDs; 11-Romero 4-5-1-56; 9-Pressley 0-1-0-0;
Grossmont 3-B.Sutton 13-36-1-152, 1 TD
Receiving: El Camino 5-Tucker 4-74, 1-Surrency 3-43, 83-Moore 2-17, 80-Price 1-28,
10-Tuli 1-16, 7-Deberry 1-13, 17-Sanchez 1-13, 84-John Thompson 1-12, 4-Francis 1-5,
40-Sala 1-4; Grossmont 2-Smith 2-48, 16-Fields 2-17, 38-Marsom 2-11, 5-Young 2-(-4),
34-Yamaguchi 1-27, 87-Hipp 1-22; 84-Brown 1-15, 81-Gonzales 1-14, 32-Reid 1-2
Interceptions-Ret Yds: El Camino 15-C.Williams 1-21; Grossmont 31-Villavicencio 1-0
Fumble Recoveries-Ret Yds: El Camino 3-Moala 1-0, 26-Sarkissian 1-0;
Grossmont 45-Ray 1-8; 18-S.Williams 1-0, 46-Walls 1-0
Sacks-Yds: El Camino 30-Justin Thompson 1-12, 45-Berard 1-12, 92-Gnodle 1-7;
Grossmont 47-Furr 1-13, 45-Ray 1-7
Punters: El Camino 86-Lamers 1-38; Grossmont 53-Haase 6-41.8 avg
Kick Returns: El Camino 10-Tuli 1-20, 84-John Thompson 1-9;
Grossmont 84-Brown 5-96, 5-Young 3-50
Punt Returns: El Camino 80-Price 4-7; Grossmont none
Missed FG: El Camino none; Grossmont 85-J.Williams 46 yds (wide right)
Notes: Season opener for both teams. El Camino, the 2006 California State Champion, entered ranked #1 in California (COA) and #1 in the nation (JC Grid-Wire); Grossmont, the 2005 California State and National Champion, entered ranked #6 in the nation and #8 in California. So this was quite unexpected. Sarkissian recovered a fumble on Grossmont’s second play from scrimmage, Tucker scored two plays later and the rout was on. J.Williams attempted Grossmont's 1st XPA. Ray knocked the ball out of Romero's hands, scooped it up and scored Grossmont’s second TD, one of the few bright spots for the Griffins on the night.