Prep Impressions: Aug. 20, 2021

GRAND TERRACE – The Riverside North-Grand Terrace varsity football game on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, was good start to this new season.

For Riverside North, the defense was aggressive and the Huskies offense clicked early. The Jaiden Gamble-to-Ashar Granger connection is working, and Venasio Mikaele is a beast on two legs. Defensively, the front seven looked solid and the DBs limited Grand Terrace’s offense to just three completions in the second half.

Riverside North head coach Opalani Viapulu: “It’s good, man. Back to normal. With all the COVID stuff I’m just glad that we’re blessed to be playing here tonight. We were sort of feeling (Grand Terrace) out, and there’s still a lot of mistakes but I’m proud of the guys. They’ve worked hard to execute some big runs. We have a bunch of different guys that made plays so we’re excited. This is the first time we’ve had a lot of talent like this so we’re definitely up for the challenge to try to get the ball in everyone’s hands. We have to execute and give what the defense gives us. (Gamble) played great. He put in work in this preseason so he’s really grown. This is his first time as a full-time starter so I think he did well tonight. There was a lot of mistakes out there on both sides of the ball and special teams, but we’ll take it one game at a time, one day at a time. We had the crowd here and the band going, so this feels normal. Hopefully, we can stay safe and not let COVID get in our way.”

For Grand Terrace, running a brand new scheme under a brand new coach can be tough, so the Titans get the benefit of the doubt. But totaling less than 100 yards of offense in the season opener isn’t ideal. The good news is that Justin Randall has his father, Steve, on staff and there’s a track record of success there. Given time, this program will get right.

Grand Terrace head coach Justin Randall: “Feels good to be back playing football. I didn’t get to coach last year so I basically had a year off so it feels good to be back on the field. ‘J-Dub’ is a great team. They just out-played us. We have some guys out due to COVID so we were down a little bit, but that’s no excuse for us. They played a great friggin’ football game. I really like what we did in the first half. Offensively, I like the way our back, Zach Vinzon, really did a great job. Up front I think we blocked pretty well, picked up some blitzes pretty good. Our quarterback was moving in the pocket a lot and made some plays with his feet, but we just got to get back to work and grind. We’ve been kind of been stop-and-starting. We had a little bit of a COVID thing that happened last week so we didn’t get to practice that Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (or) Saturday and we didn’t get to do anything. So we came back Monday and only really got three days of practice in, but it is what it is and it’s going to be a crazy year with COVID. Our boys battled tonight and I think if we come out like we did in the first half we’ll win a lot of football games.”

JW North – 7 – 6 – 15 – 7 — 35
Grand Terrace – 8 – 0 – 0 – 0 — 8
First quarter

N – Mikaele 13 run (Allala kick), 3:27
G – Perez 83 kickoff return (Stewart run), 2:50
Second quarter
N – Elliot 10 run (kick blocked), 10:35
Third quarter
N – Mikaele 5 run (Mikaele run), 9:27
N – Allala 6 pass from Gamble (Allala kick), 1:55
Fourth quarter
N – Granger 18 pass from Gamble (Allala kick), 2:47 
Team statistics
Total plays
– Riverside North: 42; Grand Terrace: 40.
First downs
– Riverside North: 13; Grand Terrace: 7.
Penalties – Riverside North: 8-96; Grand Terrace: 2-20. 
Individual statistics
Rushing
– Riverside North: Mikaele 11-117, Elliott 2-25, Gamble 4-15, Preston 2-2, Ridgely 3-2, Shannon 1-(minus 8); Grand Terrace: Vinzon 12-50, Meza 1-(minus 3), Stewart 6-(minus 7).
Passing – Riverside North: Gamble 14-17-0-169, Shannon 3-5-0-95; Grand Terrace: Stewart 6-16-0-53.
Receiving – Riverside North: Granger 6-87, Elliot 3-63, Allala 4-58, Calhoun 4-56; Grand Terrace: Vinzon 2-23, Perez 3-21, Bocanegra 1-9.
Interceptions – Riverside North: None; Grand Terrace: None.

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