Prep Impressions: Sept. 7, 2018

Grand Terrace QB Mekhi Lewis (12) threw three interceptions in a 38-14 loss to Corona Santiago on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. / Photo by Stand Lim for SCNG.

The Grand Terrace-Santiago Week 3 varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, looked like a far better game on paper than it turned out to be in real life.

For Grand Terrace, an inability to move the ball on the ground focused Santiago’s defense on QB Mekhi Lewis and that was bad news, as the third-year started was picked off three times and narrowly missed being intercepted on at least two other wayward throws.

Grand Terrace Head Coach Ryan Smalls said, “I just think that we didn’t finish; we didn’t finish everything. We snap the ball and we throw the ball, but we don’t catch the ball. We snap the ball, we hand the ball off, and we miss the block. Call a ‘No play’ and we jump offsides. It’s like we do the first one-to-two steps right, but Steps 3 and 4 we don’t do right, and they capitalized. It wasn’t a situation of not getting open; we were open and we didn’t make the play. And when it comes down to it and your number is called, it’s a privilege to either have the ball handed off or the ball thrown to you, or if the one throwing the ball it’s a privilege. When you get that privilege you need to take advantage of it and we didn’t, we didn’t. It gets to the point where 40 pass attempts and you only complete about 10 of them (Titans completed 16 passes) isn’t good enough. Usually you want to be about 60-40 run-pass but we were probably 90-percent pass, and you just can’t win like that because they start playing into coverage. The thing is we start running(the ball) but then we get behind the sticks because we have a penalty or a dropped ball and now it’s 3rd-and-10 and you have to throw. And when you get behind the sticks, 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-8, you put yourself in bad situations, and you can’t rely on your quarterback to get you out of everything. At the same time, we all have to make smart decisions – he had three turnovers – and I’m not going to blame anything on anybody but when you’re put in these situations where you have to throw it’s hard to find people that are open. We’ve got a bye this week and we have to do some soul searching. We have to make a decision. Do you guys really want to be out here? Are you going to do the little things? Are you going to finish the play? Right now we’re not finishing. We’re not finishing. Its One, Two and something goes wrong. We’re not getting good enough as Steps 3 and 4 – catch and run – we’re not getting there. Snap, throw, drop. Snap, handoff, somebody in the backfield. That’s where we’re at, and we’ll get plays going, we’ll get plays moving and then there’s a penalty or we dropped the ball. Just stuff. And people get frustrated. Kids start looking at each other but there’s no one to blame because it’s a team effort. There’s so many moving parts on every play. You could literally go at least one play for every kid on the offense, and you go through the whole game and there’s mistakes by every player, at least one per player so you can’t blame anybody. There’s no fingers to point. It’s a team effort but it starts with me so I need to look at what I need to do different. I need to look at what I need, or what personnel adjustments or play calls should be different. These are still young men, they’re still kids and they’re going to make mistakes. I need to minimize their mistakes so I need to look at myself in the mirror and find out what I need to do different.”

For Santiago, any win is a good win right now. Getting on the new turf of their home stadium was nice, but sending the crowd home with a victory was nicer. Senior QB Nate Castillo was not particularly good in the win, either, passing for two TDs and bad two INTs.

Santiago Head Coach Scott Morrison said, “It’s nice to get a win. Winning is fun. Our guys play incredibly hard and super proud of their effort. We just have to keep working to get more technically sound and do the things we’re supposed to do. Our guys work like dogs so we’ll get better each week. Re: Vincent Pacleb: He was taken out tonight. He got concussed during this game, and he had a shoulder in the Murrieta Valley game, at the end of the game and that’s why he didn’t play at all in Week 1. Limited him last week and he was full go today and he got head-to-head contact, and it’s just really frustrating when that kind of stuff happens but it is what it is. Honestly, the offense did a really good job. (Grand Terrace) put seven in the box and that’s why we threw the ball reasonably effectively. They put a bunch of guys in the box and tried to take away the ‘A’ gaps and it looked like their game plan was to not let us run it and fortunately we responded pretty well today. Re: Nate Castillo’s interceptions: Some of it is decision-making, some of it is bad play calling and it is what it is. Quite frankly, all the stats and all that kind of stuff… that’s what’s great about our guys is they don’t really care about those things. The only stat they care about is the scoreboard and the win.”

Grand Terrace – 7 – 0 – 0 – 7 — 14
Santiago – 10 – 14 – 7 – 7 — 38
First quarter
S – Nesby 32 int. return (Bayo kick), 10:18
S – Bayo 25 FG, 3:33
G – Bradford 52 pass from Lewis (Valencia kick), 1:32
Second quarter
S – Brandenburg 57 pass from Castillo (Valencia kick), 10:35
S – Kurtz 9 pass from Castillo (Valencia kick), 6:12
Third quarter
S – McMurtry 2 run (Valencia kick), 5:50
Fourth quarter
S – Castillo 1 run (Bayo kick), 9:36
G – Ostrinski 13 pass from Lewis (Valencia kick), 3:12
Individual statistics
Rushing – Grand Terrace: Compton 14-28, Morrison 11-17, Lewis 1-(minus-9); Santiago: Castillo 13-53, Kurtz 3-17, McMurtry 5-13, Pacleb 5-9, Foster 1-(minus-6); Arambula 2-(minus-8).
Passing – Grand Terrace: Lewis 16-45-3-213; Santiago: Castillo 8-19-2-176, Arambula 1-3-0-4.
Receiving – Grand Terrace: Bradford 5-75, Weaver 5-53, Ostrinski 3-42, Weaver 4-33, Balderrama 2-31, Morrison 2-12, Kearns 1-9; Santiago: Kurtz 2-58, Giles 3-56, Brandenburg 2-53, Pacleb 1-8, McMurtry 1-(minus-3).

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