Griffins finally win after three football losses

David Hurst

David Hurst
David Hurst

COSTA MESA, California–The Grossmont Football Team put their first mark in the win column with a 38-17 win on the road against the Orange Coast College Pirates. After trailing 17-14 in the first half, the Griffins (now 1-3) reeled off 24 unanswered second half points for the runaway victory.

Orange Coast’s highly touted freshman running back Domenic Betts ran for a misleading 173 yards and was held to only one touchdown as the Griffin defense put forth its best effort of the season. “He broke of few longs ones, but outside of that we contained him pretty good,” said Grossmont Head Coach Mike Jordan.

Offensively, Grossmont countered with two 100 -ard rushers of their own-E’lon Spight made the most of his 11 carries by rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns including a 57 yard back breaking score with 4:49 left in the game to give the Griffins a comfortable 31-17. Maurice Payne chipped in with 102 yards rushing on 13 carries and a touchdown, the first of the game.

As a team the Griffins ran for a staggering 312 yards. Coach Jordan credited the offense line and acknowledged, “We have quite a stable of real good running backs. … It will add some consistency to our game plan if we can keep running the ball.” Jordan didn’t want to get too excited about the massive rushing performance noting that Orange Coast wasn’t a dominant defensive unit. “We can still get better though. Orange Coast wasn’t so tough up front.”

The passing game kept the Pirate defense honest. Quarterbacks Chris Bonner and Mike Karls combined to go 11-34 for 194 yards. Bonner shouldered most of the load and struggled with accuracy going 8 for 27(29.6%) and 2 interceptions. Though he was victimized by three dropped passes, he also missed a few open receivers. Bonner did make the most of his completions averaging 19.4 yards per completion en route to 155 yards passing and a 22-yard touchdown pass to Wyman Powell that gave Grossmont a 14-7 first quarter lead.

Bonner’s long completion of 41 yards went to Marcus Haigler. That completion set up Payne’s two yard touchdown run for the first score the game. Haigler’s lone 41 yards catch led the team in receiving yards. Payne and Lavant Moore led the team with 2 receptions apiece. Coach Jordan called the passing game, “a work in progress.”

For at least one week, Grossmont’s much maligned defense shed the work in progress label. The Griffins held the Pirates to only 112 yards passing and constantly had the Orange Coast offense going backwards. “We got a little more pressure than we have all season and it worked out,” said Jordan.

Donnie Walsh, Shane Pennix, and Frank Collins had a sack apiece, and the defense combined for 14 tackles for loss totaling 34 yards. Ten players registered tackles for losses (TFL’s) with Cameron Savini leading the way with two. Savini also forced both Griffin turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery.

The final touchdown of the game came on a Brian Thomas 4-yard-run which was set up by the Savini fumble recovery. Grossmont got a 35-yard-field goal from Andres Carrillo to start the 17-0 4th quarter surge by the Griffins. When asked how momentum from this game will carry over to next week’s matchup against College of the Canyons, Jordan responded, “It was a pretty good win, we still have a lot of work to do though.” He added, “We should have a pretty productive week of practice, the guys have been working hard any way so we just need to pick it back up.”

Hurst is a student in Media Comm 132. He may be contacted at [email protected]