East County Sports

T-Birds temper Scots’ enthusiastic start





By Bill Dickens
© EastCountySports.com


LA MESA (8-28-16) — In an interstate showdown between high school powerhouses Helix High and Timpview, of Provo, Utah on Saturday (Aug. 27), the teams generated more than 900 yards in a game that ultimately produced a come from behind 28-21 victory for the Thunderbirds.

Helix took a 14-0 first quarter lead, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the first 10 minutes. Power fullback EZEKIAL NOA capped a 52-yard, 13 play drive as he bulled into the endzone from 1-yard out, staking Helix to a 7-0 lead.

The Highlanders continued the momentum with a rush on the ensuing series, needing only one play for a 66-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback CARSON BAKER to all-purpose senior SCOTT YOUNG.

However, the fast break offense of the Highlanders was run down by the 11-time Utah state champion Timpview, which cut the deficit to 14-13 in the second quarter.

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Helix RB ISAIAH WOODEN carries against Timpview Saturday. / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

The Highlanders retrieved some breathing room as Baker once again went deep to Young for a 62-yard scoring strike and a 21-13 halftime lead.

The second half, however, belonged exclusively to the boys from Utah, who shut out the Highlanders in the final two quarters.

The Thunderbirds, who are 115-16 with five state championships over the last decade, put together the winning score on a 44-yard pass from Jordan Mariteragi to Eric Calantoc with 5:02 remaining.

Helix made a dramatic challenge in the final seconds as RASHAD SCOTT blocked a punt and MICHAEL SHAWCROFT scooped up the loose ball near mid-field and scrambled down to the Thunderbirds’ 24-yard line with one second left in the ballgame.

In their last ditch effort, which begged for the Highlanders to throw the ball into the endzone, Baker scrambled out of the pocket and was chased down the field for a 26-yard loss to end the game.

“No question, this was a rough one,” said Baker, a junior who completed 18 of 25 passes for 361 yards and 2 touchdowns. “We started off great but couldn’t continue the momentum. We had some starters go down with cramps and various injuries – that hurt our line. There were a lot of cramps and people banged up, and that hurt our chances to bounce back.

“We can’t make excuses or dwell on this one. We’ve got to look ahead to the next round (Helix vs. Clayton Valley in the Honor Bowl at Mission Viejo High at 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 3).”

Helix had an opportunity midway through the second quarter to punch in a TD but lost its bid when JAYLEN ARNOLD fumbled the ball into the endzone.

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Scott Young goes up for a long touchdown completion during the first half Saturday against Timpview. / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

Young was a double threat for Helix, reeling in 10 passes for 234 yards and scoring strikes for 66 and 62 yards.

“I know that Scott was really upset after the game – we all were,” said Baker. “But he had a great game.”

Young accounted for 7 defensive stops for the Scotties and a couple of pass break-ups.

The Helix defense came up big late in the second quarter as JAYDEN TAUANU’U stuffed a budding Thunderbird rally with an interception in the endzone. He also recorded 5 tackles in the game.

“We just didn’t click in the second half,” said linebacker EZEKIAL NOA who logged 9 tackles. “We didn’t have enough gas in the tank.”

Noa, however, predicts a solid future for the No. 1 ranked Highlanders.

“We call Baker our gunslinger,” he continued. “And we have a lot of defensive talent as well. You didn’t see the best of the Highlanders tonight, but you will.”

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