6 Turnovers Topple Grossmont in 37-23 loss to Saddleback

David Hurst

Maurice Payne #23 searching for a hole in the Saddleback defense (Photo: Cydney King)

David Hurst
David Hurst

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–The Griffins were victimized by six turnovers, including three in the first quarter, and fell 37-23 Saturday, Oct. 15, to Saddleback College, which is ranked #1 in the CCCFCA/JC Athletic Bureau Poll (the official junior college poll in the state of California). Saddleback turned all three turnovers into touchdowns, taking advantage of a short field.

Saddleback scored on drives of 55 yards, 6 yards, and 38 yards in the first quarter and jumped out to a commanding 21-0 lead that they never relinquished.

“Turnovers were the story of the game,” said Head Coach Mike Jordan. “You can’t turn it over that many times against a good team, especially in the red zone.” The first quarter turnovers consisted of the following:

 

  1. A sack fumble by quarterback Mike Karls that gave the ball to Saddleback on their own 45 yard line,
  2. A muffed punt by return man Josh Bell that gave Saddleback the ball on the Grossmont six yard line,
  3. an interception of Karls giving the ball to Saddleback on the Grossmont 35 yard line.

 

The Griffins regrouped in the second quarter. After a long drive stalled at the 31 yard line, long distance kicker Kyle Strickland nailed a 48-yard-field goal to put Grossmont on the board. The Griffins defense forced five turnovers in their own right, the first coming on a second quarter fumble recovery by Denzel Pleasant.

The Griffins marched 34 yards in 6 plays with running back Dontae Williams finishing the drive off with a nine-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-10 at the half.

The Griffins took advantage of the second quarter momentum when David Edgerson recovered a Saddleback fumble on the Saddleback 11-yard line. Williams scored his second touchdown of the day, this one an 11-yard run, and 24 seconds into the second half Grossmont trimmed the lead down to 21-17.

Edgerson forced his second turnover of the day with an interception in Saddleback territory but the Griffins couldn’t capitalize. After the teams traded punts, Grossmont was held to a three and out deep in their own territory.

Punter Steffan Mos then had his attempt blocked and Saddlebacktook possession on the Grossmont 4 yard line and scoring on the ensuing play. Ironically, the Griffins blocked the point after attempt but the lead was stretched 27-17.

The teams exchanged turnovers in the fourth quarter. Saddleback recovered a Williams fumble and drove to the Grossmont five yard line, where James Triplett recovered a Saddleback fumble. Grossmont gave the ball right back to Saddleback when Karls was intercepted on his own 25 yard line setting up a Saddleback touchdown that made the score 34-17.

The Grossmont defense never quit, intercepting Saddleback. However, Karls was victimized by his third interception, again in Grossmont territory that Saddleback converted into a field goal giving them a comfortable 37-17 lead.

Grossmont regrouped to score a touchdown on a 11 play 65 yard drive, with Karls finding wide open tight end Wyman Powell on a well designed throwback pass. The two point conversion and onside kick attempt both failed and #1 ranked Saddleback went on to win 37-23.

The Griffins played well defensively but were put in tough spots due to ill fated turnovers particularly two that resulted in short scoring drives of six and four yards for Saddleback. Edgerson was a defensive stud for the Griffins, leading the team with eight tackles, a fumble recovery, an interception, and a pass breakup.

The effort was lost as Saddleback did the Griffins one better in the turnover department. As a team the Griffins registered 4 tackles for loss, forced and recovered three fumbles, and had two interceptions.

“We tried our best to take care of business, but we didn’t come through this time,” said offensive lineman Blake Bullard. He continued by saying, “We had nine people doing the right thing (on some particular plays) and two doing the wrong thing and you can’t win football games that way. They weren’t better than us, we just didn’t leave it all on the field.”

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