Where Eagles dare … Granite Hills racks up 56-7 win over rival Norsemen in season opener

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Photos by Andy Bartotto Six-foot-six Steele Canyon tackle Logan Hicks, left, pushes an El Capitan player from harm’s way on a run-block assignment in last Friday’s game against the host Vaqueros while teammate Major Givens grabs an end zone pass to score his second touchdown of the contest in a 35-12 victory.

Granite Hills High School’s football team kicked off its season with a 56-7 non-league win at neighborhood rival Valhalla High School on Saturday.

The Eagles soared in the game with 434 yards in total offense — 241 rushing yards and 193 passing yards — in claiming the win.

Granite Hills head coach Kellan Cobbs called the season opening victory a “good first win” for his team.

“The offense really played well for it being the first time out,” Cobbs said. “The defense played well at times. We had a few missed tackles but that was to be expected with having so much time off and then only getting two weeks of prep. We’re looking forward to getting a shot at El Capitan this week.”

Granite Hills exhibited a balanced offense with four rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns.

Sophomore Joaquin Thomas led Granite Hills with 218 all-purpose yards, including 160 rushing yards. He racked up four touchdowns in the game — three rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown — to highlight a standout individual performance. He ripped off long scoring runs of 60 and 64 yards after joining Granite Hills as a transfer from Helix.

Senior quarterback Justus McComb completed nine of 12 passing attempts for 118 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for an additional score to post a top-notch 145.1 quarterback efficiency rating in the game.

Sophomore Domanico Tomasello was three-for-three for 75 yards and one touchdown.

The Eagles led 42-7 at halftime, with the second half played with a running clock.

Senior Matt Keeley led Granite Hills with four catches for 69 yards while junior Logan Heesch caught a 33-yard touchdown pass. Senior Angel Almazon caught a 23-yard scoring pass while senior Wyatt Henderson (two catches, 16 yards) also reeled in one touchdown pass.

Junior Carter Braun and freshman Jordan Glaze both recorded five tackles to lead the Eagles defense. Glaze had one sack while juniors Zach Burton and Brandon Kleist both shared one sack.

Sophomore Easton Peterson had one interception while seniors Andy Lowry and Michael Wallace both had fumble recoveries.

Senior Gavin Armstrong was five-for-five on point-after-touchdown conversions while senior Camden Vance was three-for-three in PAT conversions.

Valhalla collected 121 passing yards and 92 rushing yards in the season opening setback.

Senior Luke Pillsbury completed six of 10 passing attempts for 61 yards with one interception while junior Tommy Logan completed six of seven attempts for 98 yards and one touchdown (with a 165.2 quarterback rating).

Pillsbury led the Norsemen with 61 rushing yards on six carries while senior Marsalis Childs topped the team’s receivers with 81 yards on three catches, including one touchdown. Senior Miles Tomlinson had five catches for 50 yards.

Pillsbury paced Valhalla with 122 total yards.

Junior Giovanni Alejo topped the hosts with nine tackles, followed by senior teammate Deshawn Pate with eight stops. Seniors Eddie Villavicencio and senior Allen Kalasho shared one sack.

Kalasho and senior teammate Bashar Nooh both caused one fumble.

Granite Hills (1-0) is scheduled to host El Capitan (0-1) this Friday while Valhalla (0-1) is scheduled to host Monte Vista (0-0) in a Grossmont Valley League matchup.

In other games last Friday:

Steele Canyon 35, El Capitan 12

Sophomore running back Major Givens scored two touchdowns and senior quarterback Elia Kirismasi completed a pair of scoring passes to lift the visiting Cougars to the non-league win at El Capitan.

Givens scored on a 22-yard run in the first quarter and caught a 16-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Kirismasi also tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to senior Joshua Trendvahl while sophomore Adrien Chargualaf scored on a 34-yard punt return to boost the Cougars to a 24-0 halftime lead.

The Vaqueros finally got into the end zone in the fourth quarter. Junior Savignon Yokley scored on a 10-yard touchdown run while junior Antwone Yokley caught a 24-yard scoring pass from junior Mason Parr.

However, the extra-point attempt failed on both touchdowns to leave the hosts with 12 points in the game.

Eric King scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter for Steele Canyon, which received five extra-point conversions from junior David Martinez.

A big reason the Cougars were able to run the ball effectively and provide pass protection for Kirismasi was the presence of giant junior tackle Logan Hicks (6-6, 260) on the line.

Steele Canyon (1-0) will host Cathedral Catholic (1-0) in a battle of early season unbeatens on Friday.

Cathedral Catholic stunned sixth-ranked Torrey Pines, 41-0, in a non-league game last Friday as the Dons amassed five quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

El Capitan head coach Ron Burner was elated that his team had the chance to return to the playing field.

“We’re super excited for the kids,” Burner said. “They have a renewed passion again and the look in their eyes is so uplifting. So many have told them no way we will play and now they get to play.

The challenges we all face are testing and, of course, doing our best to prevent an outbreak.”