by Christopher Mohr
November 4, 2010 (El Cajon) - It's hard to argue with the old sports adage that says the scoreboard does not lie. The final score does after all, trump any yardage statistics, hypothetical situations known as 'ifs' and 'buts' and any excuses fans make to defend their team. While the scoreboard may not lie, it doesn't tell the whole story either. Such was the case Friday night (10/29) at Grossmont High School where the host Foothillers defeated the visiting Eagles of Granite Hills High School, 21-14.
The impression that most football fans would get from a final score of 21-14, between two teams with winning records like the Eagles and Foothillers is that the game was a tightly contested game of solid, competitive football. In reality, the Foothillers got out to a big lead early, then through a series of turnovers, let the Eagles back into the game.
After forcing the Eagles to go three-and-out on their first drive, Grossmont quickly got on the scoreboard on a nine yard run by Desean Waters that put them ahead 7-0 in the first quarter.
Little went right for the Eagles in the first half as their first three drives each ended with a three-and-out. The next two drives were even worse, ending in interceptions.
With the Eagles struggling on offense and the Foothillers adding a 59 yard touchdown run by Waters and a nine yard touchdown pass from Waters to Marcus Phillips, Grossmont appeared to be in complete control of this game with a 21-0 lead at halftime.
"When I got on the line, I could see it was open," said Phillips about his touchdown, "Coach just gave us a good play."
In contrast to their well-played first half, the Foothillers would commit four turnovers in the second half, all from fumbles. The first three Foothiller drives in the second half each ended with fumbles lost to the Eagles.
The second of those three fumbles turned out to be costly to the Foothillers as the ball was recovered on the Grossmont 13-yard line. Justin Davis connected with Gilbert Perez on an 18 yard pass play that made the score 21-7, Grossmont. What was impressive about the play was that Davis, normally a wide receiver, came in just two plays earlier to replace the starting quarterback, Cory Lockman, who appered to have suffered an ankle injury after getting sacked by Grossmont's Brennan Darling.
Keeping their quarterbacks healthy was something that the Eagles struggled with the rest of the game as Davis later went down with an apparent ankle injury, just as Lockman did earlier. This forced the Eagles to go to their third string quarterback, Nate Huff, another player who normally lines up at wide receiver.
Huff struggled to hold onto snaps, something typical of a third string quarterback who gets little practice at that position. This did not bode well for the Eagles' chances at a comeback, so with the diligent work of the Eagles' trainer and lots of tape, Lockman returned to the game.
The Eagles closed the deficit to a touchdown with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter on a nifty misdirection play by Frantz Laraque. His 36 yard touchdown run made the score 21-14 and the game a lot more interesting.
Granite Hills did not attempt an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Although the Foothillers were not able to run out the clock, they were able to move the ball deep enough so that when they punted, the Eagles would take over on their own 11-yard line, having a long field to cover with only 1:09 left in the game.
The Eagles did not back down from the challenge, but they did not have much success on their final drive to attempt to tie the game. After Lockman threw two straight incomplete passes he completed a pass to Perez to the 27-yard line. It gave the Eagles a first down, but the team was out of time outs, so Lockman was going to spike the ball to preserve time.
The problem was that Lockman spiked from a shotgun formation instead of from under center, which results in an intentional grounding penalty, a loss of yardage and loss of down. This costly penalty ruled out all but the most improbable of desperation plays and the Foothillers eventually held on for the win, 21-14.
In spite of the win, Grossmont head coach Ron Murphy was less than pleased with the result. He told the team they were lucky to win after getting a 21-0 lead in the first half only to commit four turnovers and have Granite Hills score two touchdowns without the benefit of a healthy starting quarterback.
"Just come back on Monday and work on the things we have, start all over again", said Waters about bouncing back from the mistakes, "It was an ugly win, but we got the 'W', so that's all that matters."
Grossmont improves to 7-1 overall with the win and 2-1 in league play. Their next game is at Steele Canyon where they will face the Cougars (7-1, 3-0), who are fresh off a 42-0 drubbing of West Hills.
Granite Hills drops to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in league play. They come home to face their next opponent, the Helix Highlanders (8-0, 3-0) who routed Valhalla 33-7.
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area and is an avid Chargers, Padres and
G - Waters 9 run (Reece kick)
G - Waters 59 run (Reece kick)
G - Phillips p pass from Waters (Reece kick)
GH - Perez 18 pass from Davis (Perez kick)
GH - Laraque 36 run (Perez kick)