Santana High School knew it was in trouble when Grossmont's Erik Weichelt returned the opening kickoff 69 yards to set up a two-yard touchdown run by Keith Price 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
The Sultans may have readied themselves for a Grossmont offense that had outscored its previous three opponents, 153-10. But Santana was not prepared for what happened on its first offensive play of the game.
Andy Penwarden, the second-leading rusher in the county, was gang tackled after a two-yard gain. Penwarden went back to the huddle, but when the second play started, he just stood in the backfield, holding the right side of his back.
Two yards was all Penwarden would end up with for the night, as he was eventually taken to the hospital with a possible kidney injury or fractured vertebrae. And the Sultans did not fare much better as No. 6 Grossmont (8-0-1) scored on its first six possessions for a 41-0 victory that virtually decided the Grossmont 2-A League championship.
With Penwarden out, Santana (5-2-1) not only lost its leading rusher but also its leader. Santana never seemed to recover emotionally, and a dominating Grossmont defense became even more so.
"I think more than anything it was an emotional let down for Santana," Grossmont Coach Judd Hulbert said. "But it's awful hard to run against our defense."
Grossmont proved that point by holding Santana, which was averaging 387 yards rushing per game, to 87.
"We want to shut down every team we play," said defensive lineman Dave Park. "We wanted to prove we could do it to any team, anywhere, any time."
Keith Price finished with 168 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries to lead the Grossmont offense. The Foothillers scored on their first six drives and looked as if they would score on its seventh when Price fumbled at the Sultan five.