East County Sports


GROSSMONT's NATE TIAPULA tackles a Morse ball carrier earlier this season. / photo by Christopher Smith - MBA Sports



By Bill Dickens
© East CountySports.com


LA MESA (10-27-16) — It’s time for Helix to break out the shotgun, as in lay claim to the symbolic Musket that is awarded to the annual winner of the Grossmont-Helix series.


This is called a rivalry between the two teams. However, Helix owns a commanding 40-18-2 lead. At present, the Highlanders are 19-0 against Grossmont since 1991, with an average score of 41-12, including 68-16 last season – a game in which the Scotties piled up 662 yards.



Helix’s senior Jonathan Milsap chases down an Eastlake player. / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

The teams will meet once again on Friday night (Oct. 28) at 7 p.m. on the Highlanders’ field with more than just an old rifle on the line. The winner could likely be the stand alone champ in the Grossmont Hills League.


“I don’t think our kids circled this date on the calendar at the beginning of the season,” said Helix coach ROBBIE OWENS. “We talk about the Musket, but it’s not our primary focus.”


The key for Helix will be pass defense led by SS SCOTTIE YOUNG and CB EVAN PERKINS. Running back/linebacker DUCE REYNOLDS will help carry the running game.


Grossmont must deal with the Highlanders’ hard-nosed ZEKE NOA, who has taken over the ground game with 235 yards on 29 carries and 4 touchdowns.


On the offensive side, quarterback CARSON BAKER has completed 116 passes out of 171 for 1792 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Highlanders.


The Highlanders have stumbled in big games this season. Games they should have won, they have won. When they’ve lined up against elite competition, they have struggled.



Grossmont senior linebacker NOAH SANDERS / photo by Christopher Smith – MBA Sports

Although the Grossmont Foothillers are ranked No. 8 compared to Helix’s No. 5, an upset is not out of the realm of possibility. Even though the Musket is securely fastened in the Helix Library, the Foothillers like to think they can dislodge it from its longtime post.


“We’ve been working hard but nothing fancy,” said Grossmont coach TOM KARLO, who quarterbacked the last Hiller team to knock off the Scotties. “The Musket is something we haven’t been able to get our hands on. But this could be the year. We play hard all week long, hopefully we can keep our record (8-0) intact.


“There are great players on both sides of the ball and we hope that ours will perform better.”


Grossmont counts on quarterback HUNTER GAINES, who has completed 140 passes out of 249 attempts for 1,910 yards and 24 touchdowns.



The Grossmont-Helix Musket perpetual trophy.

Wide receiver DOMONIQUE GUEVARA has made 58 receptions for 844 yards and 12 touchdowns.


On the defensive side SHEVELL STERLING has carried the ball 84 times for 607 yards and 4 touchdowns. CHRISTOPHER LAETHEM has 64 tackles to his credit along with a sack and 3 fumble recoveries.


Will that be enough to capture the Musket? . . . Grossmont 20-17.


GRANITE HILLS (2-0 Grossmont Valley League, 4-4) at MONTE VISTA (2-1 GVL, 6-2), 7 – In a game suddenly of championship caliber, the winner of this title tilt clinches at least a tie for a Grossmont Valley League patch.

The Eagles have the upper-hand thanks to their undefeated record, but the Monarchs should be favored to hold serve in what has turned out to be a rough-and-tumble circuit.


Monte Vista senior EDUARDO GONZALEZ / photo by Andrew Eskanian

Monte Vista’s sophomore running back JAHMON MCCLENDON has stepped into the spotlight this season.

McClendon has proven to be strong and durable for a team that relies nearly 100 percent on the run, toting the ball 153 times to lead all East County running backs. Meanwhile, he ranks second in the East County in rushing yards and has scored 13 touchdowns.

It also helps to run behind the area’s oldest offensive front.

CURTIS STEVENS, VICTOR ICU, EDUARDO GONZALEZ, DAVID YBARRA and BRIAN SHELL have made the Monarchs’ wing-based ground game difficult to slow.

The Eagles have a wing-man of their own in resurgent junior quarterback JAKE SIEGFRIED.

Granite Hills has won three-straight thanks to an improved aerial attack, which has led to 111 points in that span.

Senior GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ has become a sure-handed target, catching touchdowns in each of the last three games.


Granite Hills junior WILLIAM BURTON

If anything, it has been the Monarchs’ defense, which has gone unheralded this season, allowing less than 14 points per game.

With senior linebackers JOSE GONZALEZ and JAMEZ MCCLENDON, along with sophomore star DE BLAKE SCHMIDT, the Monarchs allowed just 16 points over their first five games, but have allowed 75 points to the other three league opponents, including 40 at offensively-potent Santana.

Granite Hills’ TYLER GONZALEZ is coming off a 4 1/2 sack effort in the big home win over Mount Miguel last week. He finished with 12 total tackles as part of an unbelievable performance.

The Eagles have other top-notch defenders in linemen NOAH JOUBERT, KYLE TINNEY and WILLIAM BURTON, senior LB MATT FAUBEL, and DB BRENDAN QUILL.

Touchdowns should be hard to come by… MONTE VISTA 15, GRANITE HILLS 13.


SANTANA (1-1 GVL, 5-3) at EL CAJON VALLEY (0-2 GVL, 5-3), 7 – The Sultans look to keep their hopes alive for a share of the Valley crown, but they must get past the hungry Braves.

Things haven’t gone as intended for El Cajon Valley, which has been reduced to spoiler role. However, the Braves still need to finish out strong to maintain their holding in the Division 3 playoff picture.


Santana junior LB LANDON WOOD / photo by TRyan Photography

The Sultans and their high-powered offense are coming off their bye week. Wins over El Cajon Valley and Mount Miguel could gain them a piece of the championship pie.

Santana junior quarterback JOSH OEDEWALDT is third in the East County with 1,629 passing yards and second with 23 touchdown passes.

His top receiving tandem of ANDERS TOLHURST and AIDEN RASMUSSEN is the east’s most formidable duo with a combined 75 receptions.

That makes life good for veteran tailback BOBBY WALLACE, Santana’s all-time rushing leader. He’s found the end zone 14 times this season.

The Braves will have to match scores with senior quarterback TYSON SMITH, the East’s leading rusher with 1,305 yards. He has accounted for 21 touchdowns on the ground and through the air.

ECV is not a one-man show, however, as LUIS MORALES and MAQUEL GARNER offset the Braves from running just a straight QB draw.

The Braves rely on senior linebackers FAAMAMA LAUIFI and OMAR GARCIA to try and commandeer the Sultans’ attack, while Santana seniors DOMENIC DEHOYOS, STEPHEN ROE and NOAH JACKSON  have to key on El Cajon’s mostly one-dimensional attack.

The Sultans have won six-straight in the series, including 49-0 at home last season… SANTANA 38-32.


STEELE CANYON (0-3 GROSSMONT HILLS LEAGUE, 2-6) at No. 13 VALHALLA (2-1 GHL, 7-1), 7 – The Norsemen are in the uncomfortable position of currently sitting in eighth position in the CIF Division I power rankings.

That would put them as the eighth and last seed in the Open Division.



But first the task at hand is Steele Canyon in the Battle for the Jamacha Helmet.

The Norsemen looked to be still stinging from their loss at Grossmont two weeks ago when they stumbled out of the gate against El Capitan last Friday. Valhalla easily recovered, however, for a 31-7 win in Lakeside.

Sophomore DENNIS DAHLIN proved a capable backup and will start for the second-straight week for BRYAN MADRIZ, who could see a return to game action this week after getting knocked out of the game against the Foothillers.

The Norsemen have won four-straight meetings, including a 28-10 road win last season.

Steele Canyon relies on its passing game behind junior quarterback THOMAS FISHBURNE and senior wideout BRENDEN WILLIS. Star senior safety COLTON LARCEVAL returned to action two weeks ago following an early-season shoulder injury.

Valhalla’s defense led by JACE MANNING, BRENT BURNETT, BRANDON LEFFEW and ROLAND GLOVER could prove part of an immovable force against the Cougars… VALHALLA 42, STEELE CANYON 7.


No. 11 CHRISTAN (8-0) at POINT LOMA (4-4), 6:30 – The Patriots are the opponent as the Pointers host Homecoming on Friday night in a late-season nonleague contest.

Enjoy the fireworks.

Because that’s what Christian seems to bring every week these days, especially with offensive game-changers JOEY MORONES and THEO GOODWIN. A newfangled thunder and lightning combo, if you will.

By now, everyone is familiar with big No. 44 Morones.


Christian’s GARRETT ROSENTHAL, ALEX GONZALEZ, JON STINE and DAVID MORENO (L to R) / EastCountySports.com photo

If they hadn’t already seen or heard of the running back’s pounding running style, everyone got a taste of his underrated speed last week in a 61-7 thrashing of Scripps Ranch, when he returned a blocked field goal 97 yards for a touchdown.

There is no truth to the rumor that he and long-distance touchdown specialist Goodwin had any match races at practice this week.

Morones is tied for the county lead with 23 touchdowns this season.

Senior JON STINE and sophomore GARRETT ROSENTHAL both had a pair of sacks against the Falcons last Saturday, while senior safety TSHOMBRE CARTER made a sweet interception in the first half.

Certainly, the Pointers have played one of the county’s toughest schedules, but also have a common opponent with Christian. Point Loma lost at Lincoln, 40-27, while the Pats exterminated the Hornets, also at Player Stadium, 35-17.

The Pointers are a primarily rush-oriented offense with junior Josh Ball and senior Antonio Quintanilla in the backfield.

Senior defensive end Patrick Rutledge is a threat at pass rusher.

The Patriots could get caught napping here and still have enough, however, to tame the Pointers… CHRISTIAN 34-17.


MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (0-2 Manzanita League, 3-5) at LUTHERAN (0-3 Manzanita, 1-6) (at Mount Miguel High, 7)  – A Red Hawks’ team with high hopes heading into league play has turned into a team hungry for a win in order to earn a playoff position in Division 5.


Mountain Empire’s JONATHAN PENUELAS (55) and VICTOR PARRA.

Currently, Mountain Empire is on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason, but Lutheran is ranked last in the league and in the division.

Still, the game should prove no cakewalk for the Hawks.

Mountain Empire was in the game for more than three quarters last week at a good Calipatria squad. Senior VICTOR PARRA threw for nearly 200 yards against the Hornets. However, the Red Hawks have struggled to move the ball on the ground.

Junior SAWYER ERNSBARGER has five sacks for the Red Hawks this season and eight tackles for loss. The gang-tackling unit teamed up for 107 total tackles last week.

The Knights take to the air twice as often as they keep it on the ground behind senior quarterback Christian Dufrense, but he has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 6-to-12.

The Red Hawks won at home last season, 33-26, and still should get the nod here… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 33-30.



Fearless Forcaster’s Record
Last week:  7-0 (1.000)
Season:      68-16 (.809)





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