"It was one of the toughest, best games I have ever seen," said Grossmont head coach Mike Jordan, after his Griffins went down 0-7 on a late, first-period Chaffey score, and stayed there until Michael Yamaguchi (5-5, 190 Fr.) broke an 86 yard run for a touchdown with 10:40 remaining in the third period. A 2-point conversion pass gave Grossmont the lead, 8-7, to which they would only add for the remainder of the game, while the G-House defense held the Panthers at bay.
The Chaffey defense had managed to hold off Grossmont for the entire first half, while scoring their first-quarter touchdown on a short drive starting at the Grossmont 39-yard line, capped by a 2-yard David Vasquez (6-0, 205 Fr.) touch down pass. Vasquez finished 17 of 31 for 168 yards and the TD, but was sacked four times and threw 3 interceptions. His favorite receivers were Lamonte Gaines (6-0, 175 So.), who made 6 catches for 49 yards, Alex Thompson (6-0, 185 So.), with 4 catches for 81 yards, and Josh Trimble (6-4, 255 Fr.), who caught the TD pass, one of his three catches for the evening.
Matt Biggers (5-8, 205 Fr.) contributed 71 net yards rushing for the Panthers, but without Jahmel Rover, the normally vigorous Chaffey running attack was held to only 50 net yards, after accounting for the sacks.
Led by a stout performance in the trenches, the short-handed G-House defense delivered one of its best performances of the year, allowing the Panthers only 1 of 13 third down conversions, sacking Chaffey quarterbacks five times, intercepting them 3 times, and holding Chaffey to only 218 total yards.
With leading Griffin tackler Sutton out sick for the week and missing in action, linebacker Calvin Pierce (6-1, 195 Fr.) "played a real good game standing in," according to coach Jordan. Luis Villavicencio (6-0, 175 Fr.) added another interception to his growing list and tacked on 14 return yards in the process. He was joined by Greg Palmer (5-10, 180 Fr.), who made his first interception of the season, and Anthony Shall (6-1, 200 Fr.), who grabbed his second.
For the Griffin offense, it took a while for all the new faces to get traction. Leading Griffin rushers Garen Demery and Chris Daniels remained out with injuries, and wide receiver Jeremy Young is out for the season.
While starter Blake Sutton sat out from last week's injuries, Dan Lewis (6-2, 238 Fr.) stepped up and tossed 17 completions on 32 attempts for 196 yards, a touchdown, and only one interception. He also managed 17 net yards rushing on 5 carries. Lewis was even more prolific in target selection than his predecessor, distributing passes to ten receivers. Chris Smith (6-2, 190 Fr.) led with 5 receptions for 108 yards (41 longest), followed by Kyle Hipp (6-2, 225 Fr.), with 3 receptions for 48 yards (37 longest) and the TD. Elijah Brown (5-10, 165 Fr.) also snagged 3 catches. Brandon Washington (5-11, 165 Fr.), Donavan Darrington (6-0, 180 Fr.) and Miles McPherson (5-10, 165 Fr.) each made a pair of catches.
Yamaguchi led Grossmont rushers with 106 yards and the TD on 9 carries. Jamar Reid (5-10, 200 Fr.) netted 34 yards on 9 carries, followed by Kimbi Sutton (6-0, 206 Fr.) with 28 net yards on 5 carries. G-House quarterbacks added 33 yards on 7 carries while allowing themselves to be sacked only once.
In addition to demonstrating his usual rushing mobility, backup quarterback Andrew Ruiz (6-0, 195 Fr.) completed 3 of 3 passes for 29 yards, and Matt Jarvis (6-2, 225 Fr.) added a 41-yard bomb. The Griffins finished the day with 485 total offensive yards from a combined, balanced attack of 219 yards rushing and 266 yards passing.
Martin House (5-10, 180 So.) returned the lineup to resume punting duties, and Bret Haase (6-2, 175 So.) went 3 for 3 on extra point kicks and leads the G-House in scoring with 29 points for the season.
Coach Jordan's enthusiasm for the victory was tempered with disappointment in the excessive penalties earned by the Griffins, a consistent trend that stubbornly refuses to go away.
"Yamaguchi's run sparked the whole comeback," declared Jordan, "and he would have been my choice for player of the week if he hadn't earned an excessive celebration penalty on the TD." Including Yamaguchi's transgression, the Griffs gifted the Panthers 134 yards on 13 penalties. In five games Grossmont "leads" the Foothill conference in penalties, with 556 yards lost on 57 flags.
"We're still a young, developing team. We do some good things but make some mistakes, too. It's a day-to-day learning activity for us," says Jordan.
The Griffins have a lot of learning to do. Giving up more than 110 yards per game, Grossmont's average exceeds the "bottom" two Foothill teams combined, and ten more yards per game than the second most egregious transgressor. In each of their three losses, including the whisker thin 2-point loss to San Bernardino Valley, Grossmont has surrendered more in penalty yards than they have gained in rushing.
"To be a top caliber team, we have to have better self discipline and better team discipline," concluded coach Jordan. Indeed.
The next chance for the men of G-House to prove themselves is Saturday the 5th of October, when the undefeated College of the Desert Roadrunners (5-0, 3-0) bring the Foothill Conference's #1 scoring offense and #2 scoring defense to the G-House. Kickoff is 1 p.m. in El Cajon.