East County Sports


El Cajon Valley rushes the passer during its season-opening win at home over Kearny / photo by Ramon Scott



By Bill Dickens



EL CAJON – With the focus of the Grossmont Valley League season still over a month away, the El Cajon Valley Braves don’t have to look far into the future to find an important early season test.

Friday night, the Braves will take their 2-0 mark to Clairemont High to battle the fellow unbeaten Chieftains.

So far, the Braves have definitely passed the eye test with wins over Kearny and Montgomery. El Cajon Valley has outscored its two opponents so far, 80-22.


El Cajon Valley sophomore MASON TILEIA rushes the passer. / photo by Ramon Scott

El Cajon Valley quarterback TYSON SMITH leads the East County and is fourth overall in the county in rushing with 318 yards, along with five rushing touchdowns. His 80-yard touchdown run last week against Montgomery was highlight-reel worthy and only put further on display his running ability.

Smith and the Braves have been pretty frugal in the passing department, but consider that two of the seniors four completions (out of just five attempts) have been for touchdowns.

Smith’s running back option is junior slot MAQUEL GARNER, who has gained 153 yards (9.6 avg.) and scored three touchdowns.

The Braves’ senior linebacking tandem of FAAMAMA LAUIFI and OMAR GARCIA have already combined for 45 tackles over the first two weeks. Linebacking mate DANIEL WILSON, a junior, has two sacks so far.

The Chieftains come in with wins over San Gabriel Gabrielino and Francis Parker by a combined score of 93-34. The schools last met in 2008 when Clairemont won in El Cajon, 33-23.

Clairemont runs a wing-T attack and is led by two-way star twin brothers Jay and Devon Rensfield. Jack Fitzmaurice had an 80-yard TD run in last week’s road win.

This Braves team actually has more depth than the short-roster Chieftains… EL CAJON VALLEY, 24-22.


No. 2 HELIX (1-1) at No. 15 EASTLAKE (1-1) – The Highlanders put the clamps on Clayton Valley in the 2016 Honor Bowl at Mission Viejo High, with a 13-0 victory after the home-opening loss to Utah powerhouse Timpview.

Helix’s SCOTT YOUNG has 14 receptions for an East County-leading 294 yards and two TDs., while passer CARSON BAKER is second in East County in passing yards with 473, passing for 3 TDs and no INTs, while completing 60 pct. of his passes.


TYREECE TARRANT-PATANE / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

The Highlanders’ suffocating defense could be too much for the respected Titans behind senior star EZEKIEL NOA, junior LB TYREECE PATANE, emerging sophomore linebacker MICHAEL SHAWCROFT and defensive backs Young and JAYDEN TAUANU’U.

Surprisingly, Helix’s running game is off to a slow start against their first two highly-touted opponents, averaging just 2.3 yards per carry.

Eastlake, meanwhile, coming off win against El Toro, of Lake Forest, 41-21. No 5 Rancho Bernardo bombed the Titans in Week 1, 38-0.

QB Alfredo Garcia had a 48-yard TD run for the Titans last week and is a running threat with 29 rushes to go with 27 pass attempts, while Micah Pietila-Wiggs, the former Little League World Series champion from the Eastlake Blue Bombers, had an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown in the win.

In week 2 last year, Helix won 56-7 win… HELIX 35-17.


MOUNT MIGUEL (0-2) at No. 17 VALHALLA (2-0) – The Norsemen are out to continue to make the county take notice with the Matadors coming to town.

Valhalla took rival Granite Hills to task last Friday in a 37-7 drubbing after recording a 30-point shutout of Scripps Ranch on the road in the opener.


OLB JOSH MCNISH-HEIDER wraps up a Granite Hills player last Friday.

Valhalla’s D has been a terror so far behind the line of scrimmage, as junior MLB DYLAN MARSH has five tackles for loss, while junior OLB JOSH MCNISH-HEIDER has four stops behind the line.

Meanwhile the secondary has proven to be a bunch of ball hawks already with four INTs, including a 50-yard pick six by junior safety CONNOR MOSER.

Valhalla running back JEROME JOHNSON has rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns so far, while quarterback BRYAN MADRIZ has firmly established himself as the signal caller, completing 65 percent of his passes after two weeks.

Senior receiver BRANDON FULLER is fourth in the East County with 11 receptions, while BOSTYN THOMAS is emerging as a possession-type receiver.

The Matadors feature junior running back SHEMAR GREENE, who is second in the East County with 223 yards on the ground, while veteran QB BENNY VALADEZ had completed 61 percent of his throws, including a team-leading five to senior RICHARD MOORE. The duo connected on a long touchdown in the game’s opening minutes last week.

Mount Miguel senior defensive end ANTHONY YARBOROUGH is tied for the East County lead with 2 1/2 sacks so far. Yarborough and senior safety DAMIEN YERENA both have a team-high 15 tackles this season.

The Matadors lost at Chula Vista in the season opener then were beaten soundly at home by Poway last week. Valhalla won the meeting last year when the teams were both in the Grossmont Hills League, 41-7. This is a non-league contest this year.

The Matadors’ defense will have to preserve their energy is Mount Miguel is to stay in the game… VALHALLA 35-10.


GRANITE HILLS (1-1) at STEELE CANYON (0-2) – The Cougars all of a sudden find themselves desperate for a win after losses to Torrey Pines and Madison.


The Eagles’ GARRETT CURRAN and MARTIN SAMINEGO. / photo by Dan Barnes

The Eagles certainly aren’t expected to be easy prey, but the visitors will be trying to regain their confidence following the blowout loss to rival Valhalla. Granite Hills edged San Pasqual, 14-12, in week one.

The Cougars have to gain some footing on the ground, which has been difficult to attain so far, picking up just 2.2 yards per carry. Junior QB THOMAS FISHBURNE has completed 51 percent of his aerials so far for 240 yards and two TDs.

Senior BRENDAN WILLIS has been his leading target, with eight receptions for 88 yards.

Steele Canyon senior defender WAYNE BARELA picked up where he left off last season, racking up 14 tackles so far, including four for loss and a sack. Junior defensive star MIKEL OLIVER is also a top pass catching target for Fishburne.

Granite Hills’ TYLER GONZALEZ has an East County-leading 3 1/2 sacks to pace the Eagles’ D, while junior linebacker MATT FAUBEL has assisted on 15 stops.

Granite Hills won at home last year, 25-24, but the Eagles’ defense has spent nearly twice as long on the field this season as the offense… STEELE CANYON, 19-14.


MISSION BAY (1-1) at WEST HILLS (1-1) – Mission Bay had the excitement of hosting their first-ever night home game against the Wolf Pack in the season-opener last year.

West Hills led 13-3 under the setting sun, but when the lights came on in the second half, the Bucs outscored the Pack 33-0.

The Wolf Pack are coming off a their cross-town rivalry win over Santana last Friday.

The usually pass-oriented Pack are a rushing team so far this season, averaging over 200 yards on the ground behind senior back JOVAN BEA.


West Hills junior quarterback HAYDEN ROACH / photo by TRyan Photography

Junior quarterback HAYDEN ROACH actually leads the team in rushing with 170 yards out of the pocket, but he has thrown just 18 times (66 percent), three of which have gone for scores. Junior RYAN JEWELL has a team-high five receptions.

Seniors DALLEN BROWNING and TANNER SUTTON both have recorded interceptions for the West Hills defense. Seniors MITCHELL CARLIN and DYLAN HASTINGS also lead the defense. Browning scored a rushing touchdown in last year’s contest.

Mission Bay lost a heartbreaker last week to University City, 26-25, after a season-opening win over Escondido. Both games were at home.

Bucs’ quarterback Jaiden Correia threw three touchdowns in the first half last week against UC and four for the game, while the bulk of the rushing in the game was handled by Kenyon Sims.

Let’s see if the Pack can return the favor this time… WEST HILLS, 21-17.


EL CAPITAN (0-1) at VALLEY CENTER (1-1) – El Capitan’s DYLAN HELMHOLTZ had 2 1/2 sacks in the Vaqueros’ season-opener last week at home against Mater Dei, but the loaded Crusaders were too much for the hosts.


El Capitan’s CONNOR ROOSA carries against Mater Dei. / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

Helmholtz was credit with an astonishing 17 tackles in the 41-14 loss.

El Capitan’s STEVEN HOSAKA had four catches, for 84 yards against a tough Crusaders’ defense, including a spectacular catch of a PHOENIX CATES pass at the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. Cates finished with 141 yards on 10-of-24 passing, but was intercepted three times.

CONNOR ROOSA also scored for the Vaqueros on a 16-yard run, as he tallied 81 yards on 14 carries.

Valley Center has a very balanced offense and a big-play receiver in junior Keith Vasquez. They won their first game last week, 27-21, at home against Brawley

The Cougars traveled to common opponent Mater Dei in the opener and lost 35-0, so expect El Cap to make this a contest… VALLEY CENTER, 28-22.


SANTANA (0-2) at CASTLE PARK (0-2) – This has been a one-sided series since the teams first met three seasons ago, but the Sultans lost a thriller to the Trojans at home last season, 41-38.

Santana quarterback JOSH OEDEWALDT is third in the East County in passing yards after two weeks with 415 yards.


Santana’s BROCK ELLIS / photo by TRyan Photography

Senior ANDERS TOLHURST was on fire last week in the loss to West Hills, catching 10 passes for 108 yards. He has 15 catches this season. Seniors AIDEN RASMUSSEN and BROCK ELLIS have combined for 17 receptions to spread the Sultans’ passing attack.

Senior workhorse back BOBBY WALLACE is fourth in the East County with 192 yards rushing (4.2 yards per carry). He had just 45 yards on 18 carries in last year’s meeting.

Seniors ONI SABANDIT, SPENCER GULIHUR, NOAH JACKSON, DOMENIC DEHOYOS and JUSTIN GEE, along with junior JOSE CHAIREZ have led the Santana defense so far.

The Sultans lost the season opener at a pretty stout Bishop’s squad, while the Trojans have been outscored 75-20 in a pair of road losses at Hilltop and Mar Vista.

The Trojans had won the first two meetings in ’14 and ’13 by the score of 41-10, so expect the Sultans to close the gap this time around… SANTANA, 21-20.


PATRICK HENRY (1-1) at MONTE VISTA (1-1) – These two meet for the third-straight year, as the Patriots have won the last two meetings, including a 48-7 shellacking of the Monarchs last season.

The Monarchs rolled out of the gate by crushing Hoover on the road, 51-0, before toughening out a 20-10 loss at home last week against Christian.



Patrick Henry had no answer for Bishop’s last Friday, losing 63-0, after opening the season with a win, 25-7, over Mira Mesa.

RASHAUN WILLIS-BROWN has been terrific so far for Monte Vista. After scoring four touchdowns in the opener, he got the Monarchs back in the game against the Patriots with a 99-yard kickoff return to start the second half.

JONATHAN GULLEY and AMIR CONLEY scored touchdowns for the Monarchs against the Cards in the season-opener.

The Monarchs’ wing-T look has resulted in just eight pass attempts so far this season.

Brothers JAHMON MCCLENDON and JAMEZ MCCLENDON are the heart of the Monte Vista defense.

The Patriots’ go-to man has been receiver Ryan Savage, who has 10 catches for 10 catches for 95 yards, while Dominick Silvels is more the deep threat, averaging 18.0 yards per catch. Henry has just two touchdown completions, while throwing five picks this year.

Senior defensive star JOSE GONAZLEZ and the rest of the veteran Monarchs may have revenge on their minds… MONTE VISTA, 16-14.


MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (1-1) at TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN (1-0) – On Saturday, the Red Hawks make one of their North County trips, this time to Vista, following last Friday’s 20-0 shutout of Army-Navy.


JONATHAN PENUELAS tackles a Crawford player in the Red Hawks’ season-opener two weeks ago.

Mountain Empire’s defense also looked good in a season-opening loss at Crawford.

The stoppers are led by GABRIEL HYDORN, CAMERON WILL, JONATHAN PENUELAS and BLAKE JARRELL. Hydord forced three fumbles last week, recording three of them, while SAWYER ENBARGER has two sacks so far this season.

The offense has been a bit enigmatic, as veteran quarterback VICTOR PARRA has completed just 28 percent of his passes, but is fifth in the East County with 265 yards. Receivers DALLAS PRINCE and WYATT MANN are both big-play threats. Mann has the highest yards-per-catch average in the East County with a 23.4 average, including two TDs.

Tri-City senior Anthony Madden rushed for 189 yards on 17 carries in a 45-6 season-opening win versus Capistrano Valley Christian. Meanwhile, quarterback Zach Reitmeyer was just 9-for-15, but for a 22.2 yard average.

These teams have met for the last seven years (Mtn. Empire leads, 5-2), including a memorable 66-58 Red Hawks’ win two seasons ago, but things may be getting more defensive for these two this year… TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN, 19-13.


Fearless got his own focus back last week after an unpredictable opening weekend, putting together his first undefeated week since the print days.

Fearless Forcaster’s Record
Last week:  9-0 (1.000)
Season:      15-8 (.652)








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