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Content courtesy of our friends at 619Sports.net

The only thing constant in life is change. Or maybe just the fact that things may never change for the San Diego State football team.

Stop if you’ve heard this one before: the Aztecs play their hearts out in a game in which they have a chance to make a huge leap forward in their program’s history. They run up and down the field, make magical, highlight-reel plays, set records, scare the daylights out of a top team, and…well, you’ve heard this one before.

So you know how it ends. They lose.

On a rainy Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium, SDSU (once again) did everything but beat the Utah Utes, a team that just a couple of weeks ago was the undefeated fifth-ranked team in the country.

A win, and the Aztecs themselves may have been ranked come Monday morning for the first time in 15 years. Instead they fell, 38-34, the result leaving the Red and Black faithful wondering what they usually are forced to wonder after games like these…What if? How come? When are we ever? Why us?

So SDSU is 7-4 with one regular season game remaining in a season in which so may strides have been made, but also a season that — put simply — could have been so much more astonishingly remarkable and amazing.

They lost to Utah despite sweeping down the field on their opening possession of the game and scoring for a 7-0 lead just 1:59 into the contest. They lost despite scoring on three more possessions in the first half, breezing downfield with ease on drives that covered 98, 79 and 84 yards. They led, 20-3, and then again by 17 points, 27-10.

They lost despite quarterback Ryan Lindley passing for a career-high 528 yards, the fourth-most ever in Aztec history. Their two spectacular wide receivers, Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, combined for 20 catches, 338 yards and three touchdowns, yet it wasn’t enough.

Brown’s third TD of the game was one of the best plays you’d ever see a receiver make. Lindley, scrambling out of the pocket at his own 10-yard-line, threw the ball up for grabs towards Brown at the SDSU 40. Two Utah defenders were there to intercept, but Brown leaped above both of them, tipped the ball over their heads to himself and raced toward the end zone, out-running three pursuers to the goal line to complete a 90-yard touchdown that gave the Aztecs a 34-24 lead in the third quarter.

Yet, they still lost.

“In the end, we didn’t do enough for the full 60 minutes,” said Coach Brady Hoke, who has done so much to awaken this previously moribund football program yet is still searching for a way to get his team over the hump.

They won’t get there until a whole bunch of the following stuff stops happening. Utah scored on a 57-yard TD pass, beating a broken coverage, and it scored on a hail-mary 47-yard TD pass on the final play of the first half when five Aztec defenders couldn’t keep the ball from finding its way into the hands of Utes tight end Kendrick Moeai.

DeMarco Sampson reaches out to try and reel in a one-handed catch (619 Sports photo/Danny Heilprin)DeMarco Sampson reaches out to try and reel in a one-handed catch (619 Sports photo/Danny Heilprin)

In the fourth quarter, SDSU punter Brian Stahovich dropped a perfectly good snap from center, picked it up and then had his kick blocked, with Utah recovering at the 3-yard-line. Four plays later, running back Eddie Wide swept into the end zone to give the Utes their first lead of the game, 38-34, with 10:25 remaining.

Winging downfield twice on Lindley’s arm, the Aztecs still had chances to win, but both drives ended in Utah interceptions. The three SDSU turnovers in the game — plus the blocked punt — were ultimately the difference. As well as the Aztecs played, they still made key mistakes. Utah, which improved to 9-2 with the win, did not turnover the ball once.

One tough loss like this would be hard enough. But all of the Aztecs’ losses this season have been like this. They lost, 27-24, at Missouri when they allowed a 68-yard, game-winning TD pass in the final minute — the play only occurring because officials missed a blatant block-in-the-back that wiped out two Aztec defenders and cleared the way for the Tigers’ T.J. Moe to race down the sidelines.

They lost, 24-21, at BYU in part because a clear Cougars’ fumble was not called on the field nor overturned by a replay-booth full of BYU officials (supporters). They lost, 40-35, at third-ranked TCU despite jumping to a 14-0 lead and then, later, rallying for three late TD’s in the fourth-quarter.

Now this one. Four losses this season by a total of 15 points. And, just for good measure, there was a bit of controversy to deal with here as well. On the final, fateful Lindley interception — with Brown open in the end zone to perhaps win it, Utah’s Derrick Shelby delivered a forearm shiv to the face of Lindley as he let the pass go.

The illegal blow, called in football games every Saturday and Sunday of every season, sent Lindley’s throw wobbling off target, allowing Utah’s Brian Blecken to pick if off. Of course, no call was made.

For SDSU, considering where it has been, there is nothing wrong with 7-4, and perhaps an 8-4 finish if the Aztecs can beat UNLV — which they should — next weekend. One more chance for glory would await after that, in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 against Navy.

Frustratingly, though, this season could have been so much more. But, at least for now, they’re still the Aztecs.

–Courtesy of our friends at 619Sports.net

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All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

SAN DIEGO-Before a stadium filled to capacity at Mesa College in the final regular season game before the playoffs, the St. Augustine Saints defeated their long time rivals the Cathedral Catholic Dons, 28-21.

“This was big, they beat us the last two-three years. This has been the game that has been circled on our calendar all season,” said Saints quarterback Evan Crower.

Watch Saints head coach Richard Sanchez get dunked during the 619 Sports postgame interview!

With less than three minutes left in the game, it was Senior Sean Davey who secured the Saints’ win by blocking a pass to the end zone from Cathedral Catholic’s quarterback Garret Bogart to receiver Chance Early.

What used to be termed the Holy War is now referred to as the Holy Bowl, annually one of the most anticipated games in San Diego county prep football. This game lived up to the billing, with the stands packed on both sides of the field, the crowd cheering and horns blowing throughout.

Cathedral Catholic leads St. Augustine in the all-time rivalry matchup 30-19. It’s been 5-5 in the last ten years.

St. Augustine (8-2, 4-1 Eastern Football League) accumulated a 21-0 lead before Cathedral Catholic (5-5, 4-1 Eastern Football League) put their first points on the scoreboard late in the second quarter.

The Saints scored on their first three drives in the first half. Junior running back Aaron Anderson rushed 16 times for 138 yards and scored the opening-rushing touchdown of the night. Saints senior quarterback Evan Crower had scoring passes to Darren Critchlow (11 yards), Nicholas Gonsalves (44 yards) and Sean Davey (33 yards).

Evan Crower said in regards to their 21-7 lead going into the second half of the game, “We wanted to set the tone early. We needed that touchdown on our first drive to start the momentum and get us through the game. Defense came up big, offensive line played great and receivers caught the ball. It was a team effort.”

Holding on to the lead was not so easy in the second half for the Saints. Cathedral Catholic quarterback Garrett Bogart had a 26-yard rushing touchdown late in the third quarter. Dons’ junior running back Andrew DeMaria caught a 14-yard passing touchdown to make it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter.

The Dons’ defense came up big in the second half only allowing the Saints to score on one of their five drives. This allowed them to rally some points up on the scoreboard and make it into a one-possession game.

With 4:52 left in the fourth quarter, Cathedral Catholic began the last drive of the game. They started on their own thirty-two yard line and moved the ball down to the Saints twenty-one yard line. Fourth down and minutes to go, the Dons went for the tie. Saints defensive back Davey came up big with a blocking a pass that would have tied the game.

“This is an unbelievable feeling. They (Cathedral Catholic) are champions and they have been champions for a long time, so we knew it was going to be a nail biter at the end. My players definitely wanted the win tonight and they got it,” said head coach Richard Sanchez.

The Saints and Dons finish the regular season as Eastern League co-champs. However, it is possible, maybe even likely that they will meet again in the Division III playoffs.

All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

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All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

LA MESA–The balance of the Helix offense makes the Highlanders an exciting team to watch.  The dominance of the Helix defense makes the “Scotties” the top team in the county.

Forcing four Steele Canyon turnovers, 2nd ranked Helix throttled the #7 Cougars 26-7 at Jim Arnaiz Field on the Helix Charter High School campus, clinching a perfect 10-0 regular season and the Grossmont Hills League championship.  Dynamic junior quarterback Brandon Lewis threw for a pair of touchdowns, his 24th and 25th of the season, and the Helix (10-0, 5-0) defense took it from there to shut down one of the section’s most physical teams in the 619 Preps Game of the Week.

“We can go far with our defense,” said Lewis, “We don’t want to rely on our defense but sometimes we have to and they help us out a lot.”

The Cougars (8-2, 4-1), who came into the night averaging close to 200 yards rushing per game, were held to 52 yards on the ground in 26 attempts.

“The Helix defense, you can tell why they’ve only given up six touchdowns all year,” said Steele Canyon head coach Ron Boehmke, “They play really hard, they’re quick and fast, can’t say enough about them.”

While the Cougars were able to slow down the Highlanders on the ground for the most part, Steele Canyon’s defense was put in a bad position multiple times thanks to turnovers.  Senior quarterback Brad Boehmke completed 16-of-34 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions doomed the Cougars to defeat.

Steele Canyon star running back Jake Wragg had a forgettable game with 18 rushes for 37 yards.  An 1,100+ yard rusher in the Cougars’ first nine games, Wragg lost an early fumble which led to Lewis’ 24 yard touchdown pass to Cameron Lee and a 7-0 Helix lead.

“We put our defense’s back against the wall a few times,” said Coach Boehmke, “I told our guys, we hadn’t see a fast-flowing, aggressive defense like that in a long time.  This is the kind of game that gets you ready for the playoffs.”

The Highlanders were forced to adjust to an injury mid-game but didn’t lose their stride offensively.  Junior tailback Darien Hancock, a 1,000+ yard rusher, carried 15 times for 59 yards, including a 23-yard scoring run on an inside draw midway through the second quarter which made it 14-0 Helix.  Hancock left the game after taking a hard hit early in the third quarter, and senior Raymont Nailon stepped in for his final regular season home game.

Nailon crashed the line for 85 yards in 17 carries, helping Helix grind out their perfect regular season.

“When our team plays together and with one heartbeat, this is what you see,” said Nailon.

Vann Sabin kicked a pair of field goals late in the second quarter to give Helix a 20-0 halftime lead.  In the third, Steele Canyon fought back for their lone touchdown of the night, as a shanked punt set up the Cougars on a 41 yard field.  Seven plays later, Boehmke hit Chanceller James on a 14 yard scoring pass, making it 20-7 Highlanders.

When the Cougars stopped Helix on a fourth and inches for a turnover on downs one possession later, it looked like Steele Canyon was going to claw its way back into the game.  That’s when Kenny Keys took over.  The 6′3″ senior defensive back stepped underneath a deep pass from Boehmke to wide receiver Britten Wright for his first of two second-half interceptions.

“I had been out with injury the last couple of weeks and wanted to come out tonight with a bang,” said Keys.

Seemingly dispirited by their offense’s mistakes, Steele Canyon gave ground on the next drive for the first time all game, as Nailon carried four straight times for a total of 51 yards.  Lewis then arced a gorgeous square out to senior wide receiver Austin Gonzalez in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown and a 26-7 lead.

Helix stopped Steele Canyon twice on downs from there, and Keys’ second interception of the game snuffed out a last gasp drive.  The Cougars wound up with 248 yards of total offense but could never sustain a drive.

With Oceanside losing 24-14 at El Camino, the path to the #1 seed in Division-II looks good for Helix.  They will undoubtedly earn a bye and wait for their opponent in two weeks back home in La Mesa.

“It’s our first Super Bowl game, but there’s many to go,” said Nailon.

Steele Canyon, despite the loss, will likely remain a top-four seed in the stacked D-II playoff field.  Their only two losses have come to the top two teams in the county, #1 Eastlake and #2 Helix, two 10-0 programs.

All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

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Torrey Pines’ (9-0, 3-0 Palomar) undefeated season continued Friday night as they claimed a 38-17 victory over Poway, giving them the Palomar League championship. “We have been calling each week a step this season. Tonight was step 9: League Champs. We are hanging a banner, it feels great,” said Torrey Pines’ senior running back Kevin Cuff.

Cuff was the player of the game rushing 117 yards and four touchdowns. Cuff scored on all three of the Falcons first- half possessions on runs of 4, 4 and 18 yards. His fourth touchdown came in the third quarter, a 4-yard run. The Falcons first drive of the game covered 80 yards (16 passing yards and 64 rushing yards) on 18 carries.

Torrey Pines second scoring drive of the first half was similar to their first. Drive number two covered 80 yards again (5 passing yards and 75 rushing yards) on 10 plays. Starting at their own 42-yard line with 3:24 left in the first half, the third scoring drive for Torrey Pines was relatively short. 58 yards on six plays, capped with an 18-yard touchdown by Cuff. Torrey Pines was on top 21-3 going into the second half.

It was a tough night for Poway (6-3, 2-1 Palomar) as their running game was shut down by the Falcon defense having 191 total yards. Torrey pines never trailed, leading 38-3 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Poway Titans had two turnovers in the third quarter that led to a Falcons touchdown and field goal stretching the lead to 38-3.

Poway’s Nehemiah Gross fumbled on the opening play in the second half, giving the Falcons the ball on the Poway 30 yard line. This fumble ultimately led to Cuff’s fourth touchdown run of 4 yards, putting Poway down 28-3.

Poway put up some points in the fourth quarter as they scored two touchdowns. Zach McDonnell scored on a 7 yard scoring pass from junior quarterback Gabriel Isaak. The second touchdown followed a blocked Torrey Pines punt by Ryan Moreno. This was a very short drive, only ten yards. Senior Chris Verne scored the Titan’s second touchdown of the night on a 9 yard run.

John Wilson caught a 15- yard pass to the end zone for a Falcon touchdown in the fourth quarter. “If we keep working hard, the sky is the limit for our team. We are going to keep staying focused at every practice, work hard and that is all that we can do, one day at a time,” said Cuff.

Courtesy 619Sports.net

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CARLSBAD–Legendary Oceanside head coach John Carroll saw more than a victory on Friday night for his Pirates team.  He saw growth.

“I’m seeing a team grow in front of my eyes,” Carroll told his charges after 6th ranked Oceanside scored 31 unanswered points to blow out the 8th ranked La Costa Canyon Mavericks 38-14 at the Robert Driver Sports Complex on the LCC campus.

Trailing 14-7 early in the second quarter, the Pirates (6-2, 2-0 Avocado West League) scored on five of their next six possessions to take control away from the home team.  Three consecutive touchdowns closed out a dominant second quarter which saw Oceanside rack up 154 of their 325 total yards for the game.

Noah Tarrant (pictured) led Oceanside on the ground with 20 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns.  Sophomore quarterback Tofi Pao Pao, the leader in passing yards for North County, had an up-and-down game with 11-18 passing for 135 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“You’ve got to give credit to our offensive line, they did an outstanding job,” said Carroll, “That was an excellent La Costa Canyon defense we faced tonight.”

The outstanding individual performance for Oceanside came from senior wide receiver and defensive back Matthew Rojas, who proved to have a nose for the football all night.  On offense, Rojas collected three catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns, including a juggling 22 yard grab along the back line of the end zone to give the Pirates a 21-14 second quarter lead.

Postgame interviews (VIDEO): Matthew Rojas and head coach John Carroll:

On defense, Rojas got the third quarter started right for Oceanside, snapping off LCC’s opening drive at the Pirates’ 39 yard line when he intercepted Mavericks senior quarterback Garrett Krstich (14-31 passing, 158 yards, 2 TD/3 INT) in the red zone.

“We’re a young team, and it takes time to progress and we’re getting it together,” said Rojas, “We’re becoming one (as a team).”

In a game of adjustments, first year head coach Sean Sovacool made the first move of the night, gameplanning his offensive attack around a relative unknown.  With senior leading receiver Nte Rudnick out with a knee injury, the Mavericks  (5-3, 2-1) targeted tight end Jake Jackson early and often.

Jackson caught 4 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but was blanked in the second half after the Pirates defense adjusted.

“I thought we were a little uncertain early, but once we settled in we were outstanding in all three phases of the game, including pass defense,” said Carroll.

Responding to Krstich’s second quarter go-ahead 11 yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Frankie Wims, the Pirates marched 72 yards in just five plays to tie the game, with Tarrant racing up the middle 28 yards for his second score and a 14-14 tie.

Two-way receiver/defensive back Nate Small then made the defensive play of the game for Oceanside, jumping an underneath route for an interception at the LCC 22 yard line.  On the next play, Pao Pao found Rojas underneath the goalpost and just inside the back line, and the Pirates were ahead for good.

After forcing a three-and-out on defense, the Oceanside offense then executed a near-perfect 51 yard, 11 play drive, bleeding off all but 32 seconds of the first half clock before Pao Pao hit Rojas on a wide open square out to the left part of the end zone from 14 yards away.

The second half was a parade of misery for LCC, as the Mavericks turned the ball over one way or another on every possession after halftime.  Krstich drove LCC over 50 yards on the first possession of the third quarter before Rojas’ interception.

Krstich hit backup wideout Brendan Gaughan for a possible first down the next time the Mavericks had the ball, only to see the junior fumble, recovered by Oceanside’s Ryshaud Keegan.  Jose Basurto’s 25 yard field goal made it 31-14 Pirates.

When senior safety Adam Francis picked off Krstich for LCC’s third turnover in as many third quarter possessions, the writing was on the wall.  The Mavericks defense played much better in the second half, holding Oceanside to 86 total yards after halftime, but LCC’s offense turned the ball over on downs on their final two series.

Anthony Mount turned in another versatile and effective game for Oceanside.  The senior wingback carried eight times for 72 yards and added two receptions for 27 more.

With both schools back in Division II, these two could meet again in the playoffs or even at Qualcomm Stadium.  The Pirates will head home next week for only their second home game of the season at newly renovated Simcox Field, taking on Carlsbad, while La Costa Canyon will host El Camino.

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The top-ranked Vista Panthers’ dreams for an undefeated season ended on Friday Night as the Mission Hills Grizzlies came from behind twice to post a 31-28 upset win at Mission Hills High School.

Gio Garcia’s 32 yard field goal with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter, his first field goal attempt and make of the year, gave Mission Hills the victory. The kick came after a muffed punt by Vista star tailback Shakeel Marshall, who fumbled twice on the game.

Mission Hills Grizzlies (6-2, 3-0 Avocado East) head coach Chris Hauser stated in regards to his team’s success, “This is a tremendous feeling, this season is one of a kind we have not felt like this, this year. We have won five games prior to this, but nothing compares to what we went through tonight.”

“To be down and come back and rally and get to them and find a way to get the lead and hang on to it, it means the world to our school, our football team and to the coach and staff.”

Postgame video and interview with Coach Hauser:

No one would have suspected this victory at the beginning of the game as Mission Hills trailed 14-0 in the first five minutes of opening quarter. A twenty-seven yard touchdown pass to Aaron Salas by Mission Hills quarterback Hunter Moore gave the Grizzlies their first points on the scoreboard. With only two minutes left in the first quarter Hunter Moore tied the game up with a sixty-eight yard touchdown run, making it a 14-14 game.

Hunter Moore definitely had a great game. The senior quarterback completed 11-of-14 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and carried the ball for 109 yards and had one touchdown, and two passing touchdowns.

Coach Hauser said in response to Moore’s great game, “He was a special kid tonight. We needed him to do things with his legs and arm tonight and lead this football team and that is what he did.”

“There was no special magic, no special words of wisdom we just believed in our game plan,” said Hauser.

The Grizzlies were again down early in the second half 28-14. This was not for long. Sitting in the Mission Hills stands, fans began to see some magic with a team that began to just believe.

In the key play of the night, Vista’s Shackeel Marshall (19 carries, 182 yards) fumbled all alone while running in for what looked to be a touchdown and a 35-21 lead. Instead, the ball was dropped untouched at the sixteen yard line and recovered by the Grizzlies. This led to Mission Hills’ fourteen-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Moore to Aaron Salas that tied the game 28-28.

“Turnovers lost this game for us, that’s the bottom line,” said Vista head coach Dan Williams.

Tied 28-28 in the fourth quarter, Mission Hills was stopped on offense and forced to punt. Marshall waited for the kick at his twelve yard line but muffed the punt, recovered by Mission Hills gunner Mitchell Cannon. While the “Blackshirts” defense held strong and pushed the Grizzlies back three yards, Gio Garcia delivered the clutch field goal which propelled the upset from 32 yards away.

As for the Mission Hills team, this was the first time in the game where they took the lead 31-28. With three minutes left, Mission Hills defense shut down Vista’s last drive of the game, giving them victory.

Vista falls to 7-1, 2-1 in league with the loss. Mission Hills, meanwhile, controls its own destiny in the Avocado East league and is sure to break into the 619 Sports/NC Times Top 10 poll after this huge win. It was a victory to savor for Hauser, a Panthers alum who left Vista’s coaching staff in 2003 to move to Mission Hills.

Courtesy 619Sports.net

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LA MESA–Realigned, renamed and redesigned this year, the Grossmont Hills league is one of the toughest in the CIF-San Diego Section. For the front-runners Helix and Steele Canyon, the path to the league title just got a little bit tougher.

Behind a rugged defense which sacked quarterback Frank Foster nine times, the Grossmont Foothillers gutted out a 13-7 win over the rival Valhalla Norsemen from El Cajon in the 619 Preps Game of the Week, getting a leg up as the brutal league schedule begins.

“We’ve got the only league in San Diego county with three Top-25 teams,” said head coach Ron Murphy of the ‘Hillers, “We’re chasing Helix and Steele Canyon. Tonight we were chasing Valhalla and we caught them.”

Postgame video interviews: Grossmont senior LB Michael Davis-Tucker and head coach Ron Murphy:

In a contest featuring contrasting styles, Grossmont (6-0, 1-0) won with a patient zone-read ground game and a defense which repeatedly disrupted Valhalla’s precision passing attack. While Foster finished 15-for-24 for 187 yards and a touchdown, he was constantly under pressure and took six of his nine sacks in the second half.

“Our defensive coordinator Brad Burton believes in bringing the pressure, “said Murphy, “we felt our best approach was not to sit back, but to try and attack them.”

Offensively, the Hillers were carried as usual by East County rushing leader Desean Waters. The senior running back-turned-QB delivered his most balanced performance of the season, rushing 27 times for 125 yards and a touchdown, while completing 7-of-13 passes for 125 yards.

Waters closed out the game with five straight carries for 46 yards, freezing out the Valhalla offense for the final 2:48 of the game.

“The orders were: only Desean touches the ball at the end of the game,” said Murphy, “Desean does not turn the ball over, he carries our offense, and leads us to victory.”

Both defenses could point to goal line stands which helped define the slugfest under misty skies on the Grossmont High campus. The Hillers were turned aside on their first drive after a ten play march, with Waters stuffed on fourth and goal from the 3 yard line.

After a scoreless first quarter, Valhalla (3-3, 0-1) finally punctured the scoreboard with 4:20 left in the opening half, as Foster’s rainbow pass into double coverage was hauled down by star junior receiver Devon Haston (7 receptions, 118 yards) in the end zone for a 30 yard touchdown.

The Hillers found their rhythm on an 11-play drive to close out the half, with the big play a Waters pass to junior wideout Lawson Medeiros (3 receptions, 82 yards). Standout kicker Jordan Reece booted a 32 yard field goal to end the drive and send Grossmont into halftime trailing 7-3.

Michael Davis-Tucker’s sack in the opening drive of the third quarter set the tone for a second half in which Foster was constantly under duress. The Hillers blitzed early and often, sending multiple linebackers and sometimes a safety or cornerback to take advantage of Valhalla’s five and seven-step QB drops.

“We’ve been putting in extra time at practice and just did our thing,” said the senior linebacker.

Facing a fourth-and-ten from the Grossmont 44 yard line early in the third quarter, Norsemen head coach Steve Sutton gambled on a fake punt only to see Brandon Steed’s pass knocked down incomplete. The Hillers answered with Reece’s second field goal of the game, this one from 43 yards away to make it a 7-6 game.

Special teams then helped turn the game in Grossmont’s favor. On Valhalla’s next possession, a third-down sack by Michael’s brother Ryan Davis-Tucker forced the Norsemen to punt from their own 22. Steed’s punt was shanked and only traveled 24 yards, giving the Hillers a short field to work with.

Waters capitalized with the help of senior tailback Tony Abuka, who took advantage of the Valhalla defense overplaying Waters, taking a pitch to the left for a 22-yard gain which set up the Hillers on the 2-yard line. Waters took it in from there with 3:35 left in the third quarter to post the final score of 13-7.

The Hillers would be tested one more time defensively before taking control. The third quarter ended with Foster hooking up with Haston again, this time on a 48 yard gainer all the way to the Grossmont seven yard line.

Valhalla got down to the one-yard line on fourth down and elected to go for it. The Norsemen tried an option run to the left, but sophomore reserve tailback Martin Mokou was stuffed for a three yard loss to cap the goal line stand.

From there, the Norsemen were playing the rest of the game “behind the sticks”, as the Hillers sacked Foster on three of his final eight pass attempts and forced an intentional grounding penalty on another.

While Valhalla’s playoff hopes are still very much alive at 3-3, their league dreams appear to be dashed against the rocks, particularly with Helix and Steele Canyon yet to come on the schedule. Both East County powers are waiting for the Hillers as well, but with six straight wins under their belt, Grossmont might be up for the challenge.

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