East County Sports






By Bill Dickens
© East CountySports.com
LA MESA (8-25-16) — The East County football season kicks off this weekend with 11 games on Friday (Aug. 26) and two games a day later.


TIMPVIEW (Utah) at HELIX, SAT, 7:  The primary attraction in San Diego County football will be Saturday night (Aug. 27) when first year coach ROBBIE OWENS and the Helix Highlanders host the Timpview Thunderbirds of Provo, Utah at 7 p.m.


The contest matches a pair of 11-2 teams from last season. The Thunderbirds were ranked 9th in the state of Utah a year ago, and lost in the state championship finals. They carry 121 players on their roster and own 11 state championships (ranging from 1986-to-2014).


Helix will flip the count from the past and count on the hard-nosed running game keyed by junior quarterback CARSON BAKER and running back EZEKIAL NOA. Clearly Helix has a different look from the past.


Will that matter? . . . Helix 17-14.



Grossmont’s SHEVELL STERLING carries against Morse last Aug. / photo by Ramon Scott

GROSSMONT at MORSE, 7:  The Grossmont Foothillers will tangle with the Morse Tigers in Friday’s (Aug. 26) season opener of playoff contenders at 7 p.m. in a game that should be a high-scoring affair.


HUNTER GAINES will lead the charge for the Foothillers. He passed for 2104 yards and 22 touchdowns a year ago, completing 124 of 221 attempts.


“Any time a team has a returning starter at quarterback it puts the team a step ahead,” said Grossmont coach TOM KARLO. “We’re going to continue to do what we’ve done here with our up tempo offense.”


Grossmont should unleash an offensive attack that Morse will be unable to answer . . . Grossmont 35-14.


Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 3.31.16 AM

Steele Canyon’s AMIR HARRIS

STEELE CANYON at TORREY PINES, 7:  Steele Canyon coach SCOTT LONGERBONE is not afraid to take on a challenge. His Cougars will take on five top-ranked teams before opening the league season against No. 1 Helix.


Take this for granted: the Cougars have advanced to the SDCIF quarterfinals for 10 straight seasons. That streak should be stretched even further in Friday’s (Aug. 26) contest in North County.


The Cougars have big-time college linemen in senior TYREE WOODS (6-2, 285), junior MIKEL OLIVER (6-4, 240), and SEAN MILLER (6-3, 255).


Steele Canyon is bolstered by a large offensive line, which should help spring its running game.


The Cougars will count on a physical ground attack against Torrey Pines, which finished 4-8 last year . . . Steele Canyon 28-14.


SAN PASQUAL at GRANITE HILLS, 7:  This game figures to be a ground war as San Pasqual is traditionally geared in that direction, and Granite Hills this season will follow suit.


The Eagles have solid size up front in ANGELO SANDERS (OT, 6-1, 290), GARRETT CURRAN (OT-DT, 6-5, 265), CALVIN SANDERS (OL, 6-1, 290) and MARTIN SAMANIEGO (OL, 5-11, 245).


That should be enough to stymie San Pasqual . . . Granite Hills 22-18.


VALHALLA at SCRIPPS RANCH, 6:30:  This has the making of a high scoring game on Friday (Aug. 26) with a pair of spread offenses.


Keys to the Norsemen’s attack are All-League/CIF returnees senior DB/RB ANTHONY PORTILLO, junior DE/TE JOSH McNISH-HEIDER and senior OL/DL TYLER EASTLICK, along with RB/LB senior JEROME JOHNSON.


Don’t look for a knockout here . . . Valhalla 28-7.


WEST HILLS at EC-SOUTHWEST, 7:  The Wolf Pack has a huddle of new players with quarterback HAYDEN ROACH at the helm.


However, switching to the tougher Grossmont Hills League will be challenging for West Hills, which was second in the Grossmont Valley League a year ago.


The heat will be more of a challenge for the Wolf Pack in Friday’s (Aug. 26) opener in the desert . . . West Hills 28-27.


MOUNT MIGUEL at CHULA VISTA, 7:  Stalwart fullback/linebacker CAMERON HANSON is the kingpin of the Matadors, who are considered the favorites for the Friday (Aug. 26) opener. Hanson is a force at middle linebacker.


Switching leagues no doubt muscled Mount Miguel.


Quarterback BENNY VALADEZ isn’t afraid to throw the ball, having amassed 1700 yards passing a year ago with 14 touchdowns as a junior, and running back SHEMAR GREENE is the key to the ground game.


Chula Vista was 1-9 a year ago and doesn’t show much improvement coming out of the chute . . . Mount Miguel 33-13.


KEARNY at EL CAJON VALLEY, 7:  These teams met twice a year ago and earned a split, however, the Komets captured the SDCIF playoff game 28-12 to knock the Braves out of the playoffs.


In the third week of the regular season El Cajon Valley edged Kearny 34-28.


The Braves will be thin this time around but senior TYSON SMITH will lead the charge in Friday night’s (Aug. 26) meeting.


Defensive tackle/offensive lineman senior EDWARD DAVIS will anchor the trenches, while linebacker/fullback FAAMAMA LAUIFI will freelance his talents for the Braves.


The rubber match goes to  . . . Kearny 28-26.


MONTE VISTA at HOOVER, 6:30:  The Monarchs, who have made the playoffs the last two seasons, will have to deal with the Cardinals’ speed.


They’ll have to do so without their quarterback from last season, who has transferred to Valhalla.


Hoover is not loaded either, thus this game should come down to the wire . . . Hoover 27-26.


BRAWLEY vs. CHRISTIAN at Granite Hills, SAT., 6:30:  Predictions for Saturday’s (Aug. 27) game between these two teams are a little bit mysterious as they buck tradition.


Perennial power Christian is picked to finish last in the Eastern League but the Patriots are almost assured to trash such ratings.


However, the biggest offensive threat for the Patriots, who averaged 34.6 points per game a year ago, is senior wide receiver BEN GOODWIN, the reigning San Diego Section 100 meter champion. He totaled 711 yards in receptions last year, scoring 7 touchdowns.


The third generation of the JEREMIAH family – junior BRAD – takes over at quarterback from his graduated brother.


The kingpin on the Patriots’ defense is senior MLB-FB JOEY MORONES.


On the flip side, Brawley, who is picked to win the Imperial Valley League championship, depends on its defense anchored by Blake Zelemy . . . Brawley 28-23.


CRAWFORD at MTN. EMPIRE, 6:30:  Coming off a 10-3 season that carried Crawford into the Division V championship round will put the pressure on the Red Hawks in Friday’s (Aug. 26) season opener in Pine Valley.


The Red Hawks must find a way to stop the Colts running back, Kwali Furvis . . . Crawford 37-14.


SANTANA vs. BISHOP’S at Francis Parker, 7:  Santana has the physical numbers but not the talent to match the Bishop’s Knights in Friday’s (Aug. 26) game at Francis Parker.


Junior JOSH OEDEWALDT takes over at quarterback for the Sultans, who have been a scoring machine in the last couple of seasons. He has a bevy of wide receivers to throw to but will the Sultans have enough offense to bowl over Bishops’s?


Not likely . . . Bishop’s 38-14.


CHRISTIAN LIFE ACADEMY vs. FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN at Seau Field, 7:  In a collision of 8-man football teams, the nod for Friday night’s (Aug. 26) action goes to . . . Foothills Christian 38-13.

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