GROSSMONT COLLEGE—The Griffins outscored Southwestern College (SWC) 20-7 in the 4th quarter, but it was not enough as SWC escaped with a 40-37 football win at Mashin-Roth Stadium Saturday afternoon on the Grossmont campus. The team’s first home game of the 2011 season was witnessed by a capacity crowd that erupted after a 63 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Chris Bonner to Wide Receiver Mervin Stewart only 45 seconds into the game.
The Griffins had a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter after a 29 yard field goal by Andres Carillo and a 1 yard run by Patrick Arinze that was set up by a 61 yard interception return by Eldredge Calhoun. SWC countered with 26 unanswered points and led 33-17 after 3 quarters.
After an injury to Bonner sidelined him for the remainder of the game, backup Quarterback Mike Karls led the Griffins on a 3- play 78 yard drive that culminated in a spectacular 38 yard touchdown heave to Wide Receiver Joshua Bell. “I had to work hard for that catch; It helped our team out” said Bell. Karls then turned a broken play into a two point conversion by eluding two SWC defenders.
With the Griffins within a touchdown and a two point conversion of tying the game, Griffin defender Josh Canup intercepted a SWC pass and returned it 26 yards to the SWC 9 yard line. On the ensuing play Karls found Wide Receiver Tim Patrick for a 9 yard touchdown making the score 33-31. On the potential game tying 2 point conversion attempt, Karls’ pass fell incomplete and the Griffins were down by 2 points with 2:34 seconds remaining in the game.
Grossmont kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds and SWC took advantage of the short field and scored a touchdown on a 5-play 60 yard drive that made the score 40 to 31 and left 1:41 seconds on the game clock essentially putting a Griffin victory out of reach. Grossmont fought to the bitter end scoring their final touchdown on the last play of the game with Karls and Patrick again connecting on a 9 yard pass. The extra point was not kicked because the outcome of the game was decided and the Griffins’ season record dropped to 0-3 with a heartbreaking 40-37 loss.
Grossmont was outgained on the ground 196-68. SWC also dominated the time of possession 42:57-17:03. Despite the two momentum changing interceptions, Grossmont lost the turnover battle 3-2 due to 3 lost fumbles. Statistical leaders: Dontae Williams had 6 carries for 35 yards with a long run of 15. Bonner and Karls combined to go 20-36 for 309 yards and 4 Touchdowns. Bonner went 11-23 for 161 yards, Karls led the way with 3 touchdowns on an efficient 9-13 outing. Tim Patrick led the receiving corps with 4 receptions and 2 Touchdowns, while Josh Bell led the team in receiving yardage with 83. Bell also chipped in with 96 yards on 3 kickoff returns.
Defensively, the Griffins were led by Donnie Walsh who had 9 total tackles (5 solo), 2 Tackles For Loss and a pass breakup. “We got to keep our heads up,” said Bell. Wide Receiver Coach Auynell Goodwin said after the game, “we want to play inspired. We played a little more inspired in the 4th quarter.” When asked about any changes that need to be made, Goodwin said, ”we just need to tighten some screws offensively, tighten up assignments, make all our reads, and not shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Grossmont’s next game is next Saturday on the road at Orange Coast College.