Week 10: Steele Canyon Cougars 49, Grossmont Foothillers 38
The Steele Canyon Cougars rushed for 352 yards and kept their Grossmont Hills League title hopes alive with a long and drawn-out 49-38 win over the visiting Grossmont Foothillers on Senior Night.
Senior Kenneth Watson scored three touchdowns and senior quarterback Nathan Barnett added a pair of scores for the Cougars, who broke away from the Hillers in the fourth quarter.
The win gives Steele Canyon (7-2, 3-1 GHL) a shot at a share of the league banner next Friday night when they visit fourth-ranked Helix (4-0 GHL), which downed Granite Hills (3-1 GHL), also on Friday night.
In a game filled with 25 penalties for over 175 yards, Grossmont (2-7, 1-3 GHL) led 10-7 late in the first quarter on a terrific end zone reception in traffic by Brody Schicker.
The short drive was set up by an interception from former Cougar Danny Yanez.
However, Steele Canyon junior Chris Carter displayed explosive end-to-end speed once again for the Cougars, turning in a 98-yard kickoff return to regain the lead.
Carter may not have gotten a foot-hold earlier in the season with the club, but he literally has found his stride over the last month, and it usually ends up in the end zone.
Watson’s first score of the game came with 1:31 to go before halftime, as the Cougars led 21-10.
Grossmont junior quarterback Jaime Odom connected with senior Thomas Mangum on a 40-yard play for a score just 1:25 into the second half.
But sophomore Wesley Neely III returned the kickoff to midfield, then added a 40-yard run down to the 1, where Barnett snuck in for his second score, keeping the Steele lead at 11 points.
Grossmont senior Alex Golojuch recorded an interception – Grossmont’s third of the night – then Odom completed a pass to Schicker inside the red zone.
Odom displayed speed and toughness racing around the right side and down the line for a score with under a minute to play in the third quarter as the Hillers continued to hang around.
But Watson turned in a series of runs, which resulted in his 3-yard score just a couple of plays into the fourth quarter.
“Watson had a big night,” Longerbone said. “Our quick-change defense wasn’t very good. Every time we threw an interception, they went down and scored.
“That’s happened to us a lot this season. We’re not responding well on those situations defensively.”
Neely added a 41-yard touchdown sprint with 9:21 to go, making it 42-24, but Odom scored on a 3-yard run with 7:04 to play, drawing Grossmont to within 42-30 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
Watson would add his third score later in the fourth and Grossmont would tack on a late touchdown for good measure.
Neely had 142 yards on the ground while Watson finished with 137.
Steele Canyon defensive back Cazz Trisby, making an emergency start on defense this week, had two pass breakups.
Seniors Spencer O’Gorman and Ian Miller combined on a fourth-quarter sack for Steele.
Odom passed for 284 yards, as the Hillers out-gained Steele, 406-363.
Grossmont senior Conner Sanchez had the Hillers’ first pick on the game’s opening drive which set up a beauty of a field goal by junior Axel Gonzalez from 41 yards away.
Senior James Bond had a sack for Grossmont.
“I thought Grossmont played well and they played hard,” Longerbone said. “We were able to stop their run game pretty good. They were missing one of their good backs. They’ve had a ton of injuries this season and I’ve been there.”
Members of the Steele Canyon Cougars varsity football team are sure to be reminded of the defeats handed to them over the last two seasons by the Grossmont Foothillers.
The Hillers have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 92-28, including a 51-14 win over the eventual state division champions in La Mesa this time last year.
The Foothillers rushed for over 200 yards and passed for over 200 yards in last season’s matchup, including six touchdowns. Grossmont also intercepted three passes.
However, this season, the Hillers will need to find a formula to make a game of it Friday night in a Grossmont Hills League tilt at Steele Canyon (6-2) at 7.
The Cougars are 2-1 in the Grossmont Hills League and remain alive for a share of the league title, while Grossmont (2-6) is 1-2 in league play and still looking for a signature win this season.
Cougar senior quarterback Nathan Barnett, a transfer from Orange, N.J., has developed a knack for running the ball into the end zone, however last Friday, he completed a pair of touchdown passes in a weather-shortened 21-0 win over Valhalla.
Matthew McGrane found the scoresheet for Steele, catching a 5-yard score, and emerging Chris Carter turned in another big play with a 55-yarder from the quarterback.
Skip Waltower stood out for the Foothillers against Helix last week with four catches before halftime, then the game was halted with the Highlanders leading, 27-0.
Grossmont quarterback Jaime Odom passed 27 times over the first two quarters against Helix.
The Cougars lead the series, 9-8, including two come-from-way-behind wins, including one in the playoffs, back in 2015.
Watch the KUSI Prep Pigskin Report, including “1st and 10” at 10:45 p.m. on Friday night only on KUSI.