East County Sports

Quick-strike Scotties thwart Warhawks’ early playoff scare

Click here to view the EastCountySports.com photo gallery for the Helix win over Madison

Zeke Noa returns an interception for a touchdown against Madison. / Ramon Scott photo

By Mark Meadows

© EastCountySports.com


LA MESA (11-21-15) — In week one of the 2015 season, highly touted Chaparral High (Ariz.) beat San Diego County’s top ranked Helix Highlanders 23-17.  The question was, ‘Would the Scotties play coward to the hype?’


Instead, the Highlanders placed a large chip upon their shoulders and dared any and everyone to knock it off. The line of suitors is getting shorter by the week.

Nathen Stinson carries against Madison during the CIF quarterfinals Friday night at Helix High. / EastCountySports.com photo

Eastlake, Cathedral Catholic, Bonita Vista and Grossmont – all monsters in their own right, have since been rudely sent to the curb.

Outscoring their opponents 389-78 in the 8 games since, Helix (9-1) invited the Madison High Warhawks (8-3) to take their crack in the first round of the San Diego Section CIF Open Division playoffs on Friday (Nov 20).

It would end up being a long walk back to the bus for Madison after a 56-34 loss. But it didn’t start out that way.

After a Helix fumble on their first possession, the Warhawks would cover the 36 yards in 6 plays to take a 7-0 lead and the air out the Highlander partisans with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter. But on their next possession, they would give it all back when JIHAD WOODS would scoop up a loose ball and roar down the near sideline 24 yards to paydirt. Suddenly it was 7-7.

The Highlanders decided it might be a good idea to get senior stud NATHEN STINSON (27 carries, 168 yards, 3 TDs) involved. After a 28-yard pass from QB MICHAEL AUSTIN to ZEKE NOA, Stinson plunged in from 5 yards to make it 14-7.

Jihad Woods heads to the end zone on a fumble recovery during the first half of the Highlanders’ win over Madison on Friday night. / Ramon Scott photo

But Madison answered with a 6 play drive to knot it at 14-14. Madison came to play. Helix responded 3 plays later with an Austin pass that found wideout MEKHI STEVENSON (4 catches, 131 yards, 2 TDs) running wild in the Warhawk secondary for 61 yards with 3:00 left in the half.  Seems like the last one with the ball would win.

Until Madison made a series of blunders that would seal their fate.  With 2 minutes left in the half, the Warhawks decided it was a good idea to not punt on 4th and 7 from their own 45. Bad idea. They got stuffed and 3 plays later, Austin dialed up Stevenson again from the Madison 40 for their second touchdown, and the scoreboard lit up again… 28-14.

With a minute and a half left, Madison tried to throw themselves back into the game. Helix’s Noa was the recipient of this reception and he returned it the distance for a 40-yard TD return and a 35-14 halftime lead.

Madison got a large dose of Stinson in the second half (16 carries for 101 yards).

“I have to credit the offensive line”, Stinson said. “I’m comfortable carrying the ball as much as the team needs, but those guys make it easier.”

Stinson dove in from 1 yard with 1:27 left in the 3rd quarter and Austin (9 for 15, 206 yards, 3 TD’s) found RASHAD SCOTT for a TD.

Stinson hammered the final nail with a 1-yard score late in the 4th quarter.

Head coach TROY STARR was impressed with Madison.

“That’s a powerful offense,” he stated. “It’s easy to see how they dominated at the lower divisions. They are explosive, but so are we.”

Mekhi Stevenson is on his way to the end zone during the Highlanders’ win over Madison Friday. / Ramon Scott photo

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