The Eastlake Titans (3-1) scored 22 consecutive points to erase an early deficit against the Grossmont Foothillers (2-2) and emerge with a 32-19 win in the El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week.
The Titans looked like they would get on the board first, as they lined up a first quarter field goal attempt -- but Alfonso Alvarado swooped in for the block, and Andrew Lira returned it for a Foothiller touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Eastlake fired back on the ensuing drive, with Parker Merrifield taking the handoff and pitching to Micah Pietila-Wiggs for a 27-yard reverse to put the Titans up 7-6.
Grossmont sophomore quarterback Jamie Odom connected on a pair of long passes, the first an 84-yarder to Desmond Carter and the second a 65-yarder to Thomas Mangum. The Foothillers led 19-10, and looked like they might keep cruising.
But Eastlake slowly began to turn the tide. A pair of DJ Del Fierro field goals cut the margin to 19-16 qt halftime, and then Kevin Bateman opened the second half by grabbing a short score from Daniel Amon. The Titans took a 23-19 lead, and that was all their defense would need. As Eastlake stymied the Foothillers' offensive flow, Merrifield capped off a drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to put the Titans up 29-19 entering the final frame.
Another Del Fierro field goal gave Eastlake a 13-point cushion, and then Pietila-Wiggs shut down a desperation drive from the home side with his second interception of the night -- one of six total picks recorded by the Titans.
Next week, Eastlake gets their first home game of the season against another Grossmont League foe, the Valhalla Norsemen. Grossmont stays home to host the Buena Park Coyotes from Orange County.
PREVIEW: This Friday's El Cajon Ford East County Game of the Week features a cross-region matchup, as the Eastlake Titans (2-1) make the trek to face the Grossmont Foothillers (2-1).
The road trip should feel familiar to the Titans, who have played all three of their games away from home. The Foothillers, on the other hand, haven't left the cozy confines of Jack Mashin Stadium.
When you're watching the Titans, get ready to see a lot of Micah Pietila-Wiggs. The Little League World Series veteran has 3 rushing touchdowns, 3 receiving touchdowns, and 1 passing touchdown...and has picked off 2 passes for good measure. The senior is flanked by a phalanx of juniors, with Daniel Amon under center, Roman Coe and Parker Merrifield toting the rock, and Jalyn Jackson out wide. With that many players set to return at prime positions, their success this season may be just a prelude to even more in 2018.
After leading Grossmont in rushing in 2016, Shevell Sterling Jr. is the engine of the Foothillers' offense, racking up 42 carries for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns. Sophomore Jamie Odom has stepped into the starting role at quarterback, throwing for 607 yards and 6 scores while also finding the end zone twice on the ground. He's connected with Desmond Carter a team-high 10 times, and has also thrown a pair of touchdowns to both Josh Moala and Thomas Magnum.
Tune in for live pregame coverage on KUSI News between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. During the game, follow all the action on Twitter and Instagram, at @kusippr and @redjacketarmy. And of course, you can see all the highlights on the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30 p.m., only on KUSI.