Former Foothiller standout Lawrence picking up where he left off

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Anthony Lawrence set numerous San Diego Section passing records during his three-year varsity career at Grossmont High School. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down at the next level judging by his four-touchdown performance in the University of San Diego’s 45-21 non-conference win over visiting Western New Mexico on Sept. 12.

Anthony Lawrence set numerous San Diego Section passing records during his three-year varsity career at Grossmont High School. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down at the next level judging by his four-touchdown performance in the University of San Diego’s 45-21 non-conference win over visiting Western New Mexico on Sept. 12.

In 36 career games for the Foothillers, Lawrence passed for 9,079 yards, threw 96 touchdown passes with 36 interceptions to go with a .629 completion percentage. He also rushed for 750 yards on 167 carries and scored 10 touchdowns.

The career yardage and touchdown totals are both San Diego Section records. He also set a CIF record for most touchdown passes completed in a career (691).

The 2014 Grossmont High alumnus chose the University of San Diego over Penn and Yale to continue his football career. A redshirt freshman with the Toreros, Lawrence made his collegiate debut in USD’s 37-3 non-conference loss to San Diego State University Sept. 5 in front of 48,000-plus fans at Qualcomm Stadium.

The two-time Grossmont Hills League MVP entered the game in the third quarter with the Toreros trailing the Aztecs 27-0 and led USD to its only scoring drive in the game, a 23-yard field goal by Jake Flatau, with 18 seconds left in the quarter.

Lawrence completed nine of 14 passing attempts for 71 yards. SDSU’s Calvin Munson intercepted him in the fourth quarter, with Munson returning the ball 67 yards for a touchdown.

It was one of two pick-six returns for Munson in the game as the Aztecs, who play at the NCAA Division I level, overwhelmed USD, which is a non-scholarship program and competes at the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly NCAA I-AA) level.

The Toreros suffered six turnovers overall in the setback to the Aztecs.

“Even though we lost, it was a special experience,” explained Lawrence, who earned recognition on the Pioneer League honor roll in 2014. “The atmosphere was so great. It’s every kid’s dream to play in an NFL stadium.”

Lawrence, who also played basketball four years and ran track one year at Grossmont High, bounced back with the four-touchdown performance against Western New Mexico a week later.

Lawrence completed 20 of 34 passing attempts for 254 yards in the win over the Mustangs. The showcase performance earned him honors as the USD Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 7-14. 

He is one of four quarterbacks on the team’s roster. Starter Trey Wheeler was injured in the game against SDSU, creating the opportunity for Lawrence to make an impact.

The start against Western New Mexico was the first in his collegiate career. In two games, Lawrence has completed 29 of 48 passes (.604) for 325 yards with a 140.6 quarterback rating.

“I’m hoping I get the opportunity to play some more this season,” he said.

Lawrence threw a 37-yard scoring pass to Brian Riley with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter to boost USD to a 14-0 lead against the Mustangs. The former Foothiller standout connected with tight end Ross Dwelley on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 2:50 left in the second quarter to give the hosts a 21-7 lead.

Lawrence threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the Toreros, who amassed 459 total yards in the game, recorded three touchdowns in the quarter to pull away from Western New Mexico.

Lawrence threw a 13-yard scoring pass to Justin Priest with 2:05 elapsed in the fourth quarter and struck just 1:40 later on a 38-yard scoring pass to Riley. The two touchdown strikes boosted USD to a 38-14 lead.

Riley finished the game with five catches for 115 yards while Dwelley had 10 catches for 123 yards.

Lawrence is joined on the USD roster by former Helix High School standout Kacy Smith, a junior linebacker.

Western New Mexico, which is coached by former West Hills and Grossmont College linebacker Adam Clark, features several former East County prep players on its roster. Among them are senior kicker Josh McIntire (West Hills), sophomore defensive back Xavier Goodloe (Steele Canyon), redshirt freshman defensive back Isaiah Edwards (Valhalla) and senior fullback Nino LaRussa (West Hills). 

The Mustangs, who are braced by talent from throughout San Diego County, also feature two Grossmont College alums: defensive back Ray Calhoun (Grossmont College) and junior wide receiver D’Angelo Bowie.

Goodloe has 15 tackles and one forced fumble in three games for Western New Mexico (2-1) to start the season. 

The Toreros return to action Saturday, Sept. 26, with a Pioneer League match-up at Valparaiso.

USD, the defending league champion, is the preseason favorite to win this year’s PFL title as well. The Toreros return home to host Marist University in their first home conference game on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.

USD and Marist shared the 2013 PFL championship.

USD-SDSU notepad

San Diego State University and the University of San Diego are located just 9.4 miles apart, yet the schools’ Sept. 5 college football pairing between the two schools was only the second in history. SDSU defeated USD, 42-12, at Aztec Bowl on Nov. 18, 1961, in the only previous matchup between the teams.

SDSU’s Munson earned honors as national defensive player of the week for his two touchdown returns in the win over the Toreros. He opened scoring in the game on a 19-yard pick-six just 40 seconds into the game. His second interception return closed out scoring in the game. He finished the game with 10 tackles and also had one sack.

Rashaad Penny also had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the game for the victorious Aztecs while Donny Hageman kicked three field goals and Donnel Pumphrey scored on a five-yard run. Junior defensive back Damontae Kazee led the defense with three interceptions in the game.

Pumphrey gained 65 net rushing yards on 20 carries while teammate Chase Price had 63 net yards on nine carries. SDSU starting quarterback Maxwell Smith completed nine of 21 passing attempts for 100 yards and was sacked once. Penny had two catches for 39 yards, including one 32-yard catch-and-carry.

USD managed just 188 total yards (109 passing, 79 rushing) against the Aztecs in their season debut. Chris Willson led the Toreros with 30 rushing yards on nine carries while Dwelley caught five passes for 50 yards.

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