Eagles take down the Griffins

MSJC football defeat visiting Grossmont College in intense battle, 42-35

Photos by Corey Evan
Teammates watch as the Eagles work to hold off the Griffins Saturday afternoon.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

With the Eagles’ football team off to a flying start, beating Los Angeles’ Pierce and Southwest Colleges on the road, it was time for them to land at Carl Quandt Stadium on Saturday, September 14. Waiting there to challenge their winning streak in their first home game of 2018 were the Grossmont Griffins. Would San Jacinto’s finest be able to fend off these creatures from the fine city of San Diego?
From the very beginning of quarter one, the Eagles would say yes they could; After fending off the Griffins for the first ten minutes of play, Semaj Wren brought in the first touchdown of the afternoon at the 4:34 mark.
Grossmont anticipated the Eagles’ challenge and their Jesus Romero-Gomez raised them six at the 8:08 mark in the second quarter. With teammate Ethan Albertson kicking in the extra point, Grossmont took a one-point lead. As MSJC were staging their comeback, their Jared Usher was felled in the fray at 6:57 and suffered a right leg injury. As he was ushered off the field, Eagle Brett Virgil avenged him with a flying 86-yard touchdown at 3:37, and combined with James Phillips completing the two-point conversion the Eagles regained the lead. As the Griffins tried to keep up, they too suffered an injury with Robert McDonough bearing the brunt of an Eagle dogpile 2:02 from halftime. To pour salt in the wound, Virgil snagged a third TD for the Eagles with nine seconds still in it.

Official attentively watches the unfolding play.

After both teams took their break, giving fans the opportunity to refuel with snacks and drinks provided by the MSJC Baseball Club, the match heated right back up: At 10:05 in quarter three, the Griffins’ Matthew Linton would seize the day and score the Grossmont second TD of the day, with Albertson adding another point. Three minutes and 37 seconds later, Rahnyae Stephens grabbed a third Griffin TD with Albertson chipping in another point. So intense was the battle between the two teams that at the 7:15 mark they knocked down one of the referees! He survived unscathed and resumed duties, as both teams experienced ball turnover. With 1:01 left in the quarter, Wren snagged his second TD of the day for the Eagles, followed by another two-point move by Phillips. As the third quarter ended, a second Griffin felled: Andrew Lira.
Even with three players out of play, the two teams stayed on each other in the final quarter like birds to a feather; Taj Broomfield took only 35 seconds to drive the ball home for Grossmont, with Albertson doing his thing kicking for the fourth time today to equalize with MSJC 28-all. The Eagles needed more time to match this, but did so at 7:22 as Wren snagged his third TD of the afternoon. He was followed up by Victor Carbajal who kicked in the extra point. Grossmont would take possession of the ball again, only to lose it 37 seconds later in their own territory. Frustrated by the Eagles’ recovery, Griffin Head Coach Michael Jordan watched his opponents ever so closely. At 4:48, he even challenged the Eagles’ movement in a vain attempt to regain possession from a fourth down. But the chains were brought over from the sidelines, verifying the Eagles had indeed made the ten yards needed to keep the ball. And at 4:04, Wren had his fourth TD, and Carbajal his second extra point. The Griffins wouldn’t go down without a fight though, as their Fabias Shipman III sailed into the Eagles’ end zone for one more TD with 25 seconds left. But even with Albertson’s fourth extra point of the day, it was too little too late. The day belonged to the Eagles 42-35.
Eagle Head Coach Casey Mazzotta is easily well pleased with his Eagles at this point of the season: “It always feels unbelievable to be undefeated; I mean, that’s what you’re aiming for at the start.”
Mazzotta is especially proud of Virgil and Wren, and of their chemistry on and off the gridiron. “Those two guys have been great for us all year long; They’re good kids, really good kids! They work very hard, they have great chemistry together.” Mazzotta says the rest of his offense have similar chemistry as well.
As for Grossmont, Mazzotta says of them, “Grossmont is a great opponent; The two (other) teams they’ve lost to were teams in the top five teams in the state of California!”
With this win, the Eagles’ record is an undefeated ‘turkey’ of 3-nil. The Griffins head back to San Diego, having fallen to 0-3. The Eagles’ next opponents are the Vaqueros of Glendale College… Or is it “next victims”? This Saturday, fans find out.

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