It wasn’t exactly a New York City-style ticker tape parade but last Friday’s parade and celebration feting the Granite Hills High School football team on its first state championship was still glamorous in its own right.
Parades are usually ticketed for returning astronauts, sports champions and war heroes, but the gesture to honor the Eagles on their first-ever state championship in school history was a no-brainer on the part of the Grossmont Union High School District and the city of El Cajon.
It was well done and well received by the community.
The parade began just past noon at the Granite Hills High School gymnasium and proceeded west on Madison Avenue. It then turned south on N. Fourth Street and stopped in front of Granite Hills High School’s Barry Bosworth Theater.
Spectators gathered in front of the theater for a short rally that concluded within the hour so students could return to class. Spectators were able to view the parade from the sidewalks along Madison and Fourth streets.
Speakers included Granite Hills Principal Dr. Christina Wilde, Grossmont Union High School District leaders, Granite Hills head coach Kellan Cobbs and members of the Granite Hills football team.
The 2022 Eagles posted a final 13-2 record to secure their place in history.
Granite Hills recorded a thrilling 46-44 victory in four overtimes over Helix Charter High School to capture this year’s Grossmont Hills League championship and followed with playoff wins over La Jolla (56-25), Mira Mesa (45-8) and Ramona (48-12) to claim the school’s first San Diego Section Division II championship.
The Eagles advanced to the state playoffs at this point, defeating visiting Etiwanda, 41-21, in the Southern California regional to qualify for the state championship game against Northern California regional champion San Ramon Valley.
Granite Hills needed to go to overtime in the Dec. 10 matchup at Saddleback College to finally prevail by a score of 31-24 to capture the Division 2-A state championship.
Fifteen games denoted a long grind for a high school football team, but fortune smiled on the El Cajon squad, which has been richly rewarded with postseason accolades, including the parade gesture.
Head coach Kellan Cobbs earned distinction as the CIF Coach of the Year while six Eagles received berths on the All-CIF team.
First team selections included senior lineman Alejandro Tejada (6-0, 315 pounds) on offense as well as senior lineman Moshi Tileia (6-1, 265), junior defensive back Jordan Glaze and senior defensive back Easton Peterson on defense.
Junior lineman Damarrion White (6-3, 215) received second team defensive honors while junior Robert Petrich was named the CIF Kicker of the Year.
“It is an honor to be named coach of the year by my fellow coaches,” Cobbs said. “It is a group effort from our staff and I am very lucky to have a great group of coaches. They have spent thousands of hours away from their families to spend time with our football players and their hard work paid off this year.
“The parade was amazing. The city of El Cajon and everybody who showed up for us was awesome. Our kids could feel the love and definitely felt special. Huge shout out to Joel Anderson, Brian Jones, Michelle Metschel, Phil Ortiz, Steve Goble, our superintendent Mary Beth Kastan and our trustees Dr. Gary Woods and Jim Kelly for coming out and supporting our program the way they did. It was definitely a special ending to our memorable season.”
Glaze led the team with 122 tackles while Tileia logged 62 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. Peterson racked up nine interceptions (totaling 214 yards), two fumble recoveries (for 42 yards) and one blocked punt.
Peterson scored five touchdowns on the season – three on interception returns and one each on a fumble return and punt return.
Petrich paced the Eagles in scoring with 113 points that included 74 successful point-after touchdown conversions in 79 attempts (94 percent) and 13 field goals in 19 attempts (68 percent). He split the uprights with a longest field goal made of 47 yards.
All-CIF honor roll
Steele Canyon senior Major Givens received first team offensive honors at the running back position after rushing for 1,754 yards with 14 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 175.4 rushing yards per game. He averaged 205.4 all-purpose yards per game while adding 291 yards on kick returns for the Cougars (1-2 in league, 2-9 overall).