By Bill Dickens
Garret Campbell of El Cajon’s Foothills Christian High is one of the most talented and least recognized football players in the San Diego CIF section.
Granted, Foothills Christian, now in its fourth season, is a Division V squad with an enrollment of 230. None of those figures seem to bother Foothills Christian first-year head football Steve Perdue.
Perdue believes his do-it-all junior “has so much to offer.”
Bouncing back from a knee injury that sidelined him in the second half of 2007, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Campbell didn’t miss a step in this year’s season-opening 43-21 romp over Escondido Charter, followed by a 27-24 win over Las Vegas Mountain View.
The junior quarterback had a hand in all but six of Foothills Christian’s points in the opener, while amassing a two-game total of 411 all-purpose (rushing, receiving, returns) yards. That, of course, does not include his 545 yards total offense after two starts.
For good measure, Campbell has a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 39-yard field goal. He is 6-for-7 on PAT kicks.
“Garret Campbell is an exceptional player,” Perdue said. “Many times I give him the option to call plays. His leadership and ability to recognize defenses makes him special.”
Campbell owns an East San Diego County best 13.6 yards per carry, which includes a pair of touchdowns on 22 carries.
“Campbell’s overall tenacity makes him one of the best players in San Diego,” added Perdue, himself a former quarterback at Spring Valley Monte Vista High, Grossmont JC, Virginia Tech and U.S. International University. “I believe I know talent when I see it and this kid can play on any team in this county.”
Senior Bernie Rogers scored six goals to lead Cathedral Catholic, which opened up an 8-1 lead three minutes into the second quarter on the way to completing a sweep of five tournament water polo games. That includes a 14-8 championship win over Torrey Pines in the Poway Invitational.
Rogers represents the only senior in the Dons' starting lineup, which otherwise includes six juniors. There are four returning starters from last season's squad that reached the section Division II semifinals.
Just For Kicks
El Cajon Christian kicker Michael Gruber has punted only once – a 35-yarder – in the Patriots victories over Tijuana’s Cardenas Federal Prep and Santee Santana – thus far this season. Although the majority of his athletic tenure has been as a catcher for the Patriots’ baseball team, the 6-foot, 170-pound junior is making his debut as Christian’s place-kicker. Gruber has converted 7 of 8 PATs and launched three of his four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
Matadors Block Buster
Mount Miguel’s Khaalid Abdullah is blocking kicks at an eye-catching pace. The 6-foot, 206-pound junior blocked two PATs, one field goal and a punt in the Matadors season-opening victories over San Diego Southwest and Castle Park. The blocked punt led to a safety – Mount Miguel’s third in two games.
Bloodlines run deep as Granite Hills defensive back Brian Carroll, son of Granite Hills Vice Principal Donnie Carroll, is making a major impact. The younger Carroll picked off three passes in the Eagles 37-27 loss at Westview. The elder Carroll was a second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1987 as an outfielder. Brian is also a standout shortstop.
— It’s almost scary that Cathedral Catholic running back Tyler Gaffney has scored nine touchdowns in his first two outings for the undefeated Dons.
— Poway won its second straight gold bracket volleyball championship of the West Hills Classic defeating Cathedral Catholic 25-17, 25-20.
— The Sept. 26 Channel 4 San Diego TV tilt pitting Otay Ranch against Helix should be an interesting collision, matching two perennial playoff contenders in La Mesa at 7 p.m.
Coaches electing to take their teams out of state for a non-league encounter might be questioned for their reasoning. But Mount Miguel’s Tom Karlo, whose Matadors are 2-0, had no problem selling his trip to his players and administration. The Matadors will receive $10,000 to cover their traveling expenses courtesy of the host team American Fork High (Utah). “Most of our kids have never traveled like this,” said Mount Miguel principal Steve Coover. “They are so excited but they don’t realize what all this trip entails.”
The Mount Miguel team will have a banquet in Las Vegas on Wednesday night and then will conduct a practice on Thursday at BYU.
“Most of these kids have never done anything like this before,” Karlo said. “I think it will be a thrill of a lifetime for them.”