East County Sports

Scots’ Tartan weaves path to blowout of Titans

By Jim Lindgren
© East County Sports.com
LA MESA (9-12-15) — The new end zone design at Jim Arnaiz Field is a sorted mixture of black, blue and yellow checkers painted onto the traditional green turf.

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Helix wraps up Eastlake Friday night in La Mesa / EastCountySports.com photo

Think huge Scottish kilt.

It was, suffice to mention, quite the focal point in Helix’s 56-7 romp over Eastlake on Friday night.

“We have very explosive players,” explained senior quarterback MICHAEL AUSTIN, “on both sides of the ball.”

After a sluggish start, No. 3-ranked Helix (1-1) scored on seven of its last eight possessions, not to mention a 90-yard interception return by JIHAD WOODS.

In a 25-minute span from near the end of the first quarter to the end of the third, the Highlanders scored 49 points on just 18 plays from scrimmage. They added a final touchdown on a seven-play drive while the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock and second-stringers.

It was quite a turnaround for a team that was slugged hard in a 23-19 loss to Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) in the opening game two weeks ago.

“We definitely played better,” Helix coach TROY STARR said. “But we’re still a work in progress. We have a lot of guys still adjusting to their roles and working on their assignments.”

NATHAN STINSON rushed for 168 yards on just 11 carries, including touchdown sprints of 66 and 42 yards.

Austin completed 6-of-15 passes for 130 yards, including scoring strikes of 25 yards to RASHAD SCOTT and 22 yards to MEKHI STEVENSON, who also posted a 62-yard reception to set up the Scotties’ first score. Austin added two rushing touchdowns and gained 32 yards on four carries.

“Chaparral came out with more energy than us,” Stevenson said. “We didn’t have a lot of guys stepping up. This week we did.Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 2.38.44 AM

“We had to bounce back, and we worked hard to do that.”

Helix gained 406 total yards on just 40 plays and yielded only 150 to No. 8 Eastlake (1-2), which opened the season 1-1 with games against Whittier La Serna (loss 14-13) and El Toro (win 34-28).

“The offensive line did great,” Austin said. “They really picked it up the last two weeks in practice. They worked really hard on their assignments.

“All the skill position players stepped it up too. They all handled their assignments very well.

“The big players on offense open up plays for me. Open up plays for Nate (Stinson). It was a lot of fun out there tonight.”

The Highlanders actually trailed 7-0 until clicking. Eastlake reeled off an 11-play drive to start the game, but it stalled after MASON VINYARD sacked Titans QB Izzack Morales for a 10-yard loss.

Helix had to punt (for the only time all game) after seven plays, but the Scotties botched that with a poor snap. The Titans scored on the next play – a 40-yard pass from Morales to Josh Olave with 4:14 to play in the first quarter.

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Helix’s Forrest Hanlon makes a tackle of an Eastlake ball carrier on Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo

It was ALL Helix after that … 56 unanswered points.

Austin’s 62-yarder to Stevenson set up a 1-yard touchdown keeper by Austin to tie the game at 7-7 at 0:59 of the first quarter. The Highlanders then posted 21 points in both the second and third quarters to end any doubt.

Stinson bolted 66 yards for the 14-7 lead, and raced 42 yards for the 21-7 lead, following a fumble recovery by Vinyard. Austin hit Scott with a 25-yard TD for the 28-7 advantage just before halftime.

“All thanks to my O-line,” Stinson said. “It was a lot of hard work the last two weeks. Everybody did their work, and it paid off.”

Said Austin, “Nate is so explosive. He’s looking amazing. Smart running the ball. Great speed. He’s just a really good running back.”

Helix used a long drive – 82 yards in six plays – to take a 35-7 lead early in the third quarter. Austin rushed for 18 yards and Stinson for 35 before Austin connected with Stevenson on a 22-yard TD.

A botched punt attempt by Eastlake gave the ball back to Helix at the 11-yard line. Three plays later, Austin waltzed into the end zone on a 5-yard keeper for a 42-7 lead.

Eastlake rallied for a 14-play drive, but it was stopped at the 3-yard line. Helix fumbled two plays later, but then Woods intercepted a pass at the 10 and was off to the races to end the third quarter with a 90-yard return and a 49-7 lead.

Backup quarterback JAYLEN ARNOLD finished the scoring with a 1-yard keeper with 3:55 to play.

“(Eastlake is) down a little,” Starr said. “They had a few guys hurt. They’re not your typical Eastlake team right now.”

The Titans now have the daunting task of facing Madison, St. Augustine, Cathedral Catholic and Bonita Vista in the next four weeks.

Helix, which is now 4-2 against Eastlake, has Cathedral and Bonita Vista before opening Grossmont Hills League play at Steele Canyon.


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