Prep Impressions: Nov. 8, 2019

SAN BERNARDINO — The Grand Terrace-Riverside Notre Dame Week 11 varsity football game on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, was not really what anyone expected.

For Grand Terrace, senior QB Mekhi Lewis played but he was not his ebullient self. Still hampered by whatever continues to ail his right knee, Lewis was picked off on two of his first three pass attempts and looked out-of-sorts in the first half. He missed downfield. He missed mid-range. He had trouble extending the pocket because his mobility is not what it was last season, which seems like ancient history at this point. He needs more rest for that leg, and the program needs to do a better job of developing depth at QB.

Grand Terrace coach Ryan Smalls said, “It just happens. You know what I mean? It just happens and you can’t blame this, that or some other thing. It happens. It’s the game, and that’s why you play it. (Mekhi) is still getting his feet back, and those things. He came back in Week 3 or 4. There’s difficulty in the situation, and there’s things we should have done. There were games we let slip away early in the season and we got off to a slow start, and it’s just one of those things. That’s why we play the game. (Notre Dame) made some good plays tonight. We’ve had a lot of experience with the turnover demon. The defense was good at taking away certain things. Some times we see it, sometimes we don’t, so it’s just part of the game. Right now I’m not thinking about next year. It’s the end of this year.”

For Notre Dame, there were expectations of success in this game but nothing was a given until late in the fourth quarter. Freshman QB Dre Robles showed his age and was jittery until Lantz Russell took a dinky screen pass 60-plus yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to help the Titans regain the lead. Russell was Robles’ safety valve on the night, and the pair hooked up again for the game-winning 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter as Notre Dame extended its lead. This time, the 6-foot-4 receiver displayed every bit of his athleticism with a leaping catch and strong finish across the goal line.

Riverside Notre Dame coach Aaron Huerta said, “(Grand Terrace) is good. We watched film and all credit to them. Starting 0-and-5 and winning three of their last four games, I mean, that’s a good football team. I told the boys all week, ‘That’s a good team. Don’t look at their record,’ and we knew it was going to be a dogfight. It was really nice to get a couple of takeaways and score early, and when we play ahead we’re a different team. That’s huge for us. We’re 7-and-0 when we win the turnover battle and the boys know how important that is. Dre (Robles) is talented but his leadership and learning is just unbelievable. That’s not what you see from a freshman. If he’s a junior and plays like that it’s like ‘Wow!’, but he’s only a freshman. He’s going to make mistakes but he’s going to make some plays, too, so which way do you want it? You take what you can get from him, and I’m just so happy for him. He’s such a great kid and we’re so proud of him. He’s leading us. We’re expected to be in the playoffs. So that’s our goal. We work too hard not to be, and once it’s the playoffs we know you have to throw everything out the door and it’s, ‘As long as we win 1.'”

BOX SCORE
Grand Terrace – 0 – 7 – 0 – 7 — 14
Notre Dame – 7 – 7 – 7 – 0 — 21
First quarter

N – Green 5 run (Orozco kick), 10:07
Second quarter
G – Compton 23 run (Balderama kick), 8:53
N – Russell 62 pass from Robles (Orozco kick), 8:35
Third quarter
N – Russell 19 pass from Robles (Orozco kick), 3:15
Fourth quarter
M – Young 26 pass from Lewis (Balderama kick), 7:26
Individual statistics
Rushing
– Grand Terrace: Compton 14-98, Rohan 19-64, Morrison 4-26, Bradford 5-10, Lewis 1-(minus-10); Notre Dame: Hernandez 2-14, Green 9-11, Burroughs 6-8, Anderson 1-2, Georgen 1-0, Hudak 1-0, Robles 9-(minus-5).
Passing – Grand Terrace: Lewis 9-24-2-103; Notre Dame: Robles 8-19-1-137.
Receiving – Grand Terrace: Bradford 5-47, Young 3-46, Ostrinski 1-10; Notre Dame: Russell 4-84, Hernandez 2-46, Hudak 3-34.
Penalties – Grand Terrace: 6-55; Notre Dame: 4-25.

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