East County Sports

Even Warhawks in awe of Scotties’ prowess

Helix senior RASHAD SCOTT is pursued by Madison Friday night in La Mesa. / photo by Chris Parks - scenesofyourlife.com




By Jim Lindgren



LA MESA – Moments after a half-dozen Helix High players celebrated the Highlanders’ 19-11 victory over Madison with a Samoan traditional cultural chant/prayer near midfield, Madison’s Devin Padua approached ELELYON NOA with a congratulatory salute.

Helix sophomore FATO NOA rushes through the line Friday night. / photo by Chris Parks scenesofyourlife.com

“Dude, you’re only a sophomore?” Padua asked. “You are awesome. Dude, you’re going places.”

Noa, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound tailback who goes by the unfitting nickname of “Fato”, had just carried Helix into the San Diego Section Open Division semifinals with a 160-yard rushing performance to beat the defending State Division 2-AA champion Warhawks at Jim Arnaiz Field.

No. 2-seeded Helix (10-1) advances to play San Marcos in the semifinals, while No. 7 Madison finished 8-3.

Noa carried eight times for 40 yards as Helix ran out the clock over 5:32 on its final possession to seal the win. Fato’s biggest gain was a 54-yard pickup after which he was stripped of the ball, and Madison recovered at the 4-yard line late in the second quarter.

Oddly, that would lead to the Scotties’ two biggest plays.

On the next play, JAGGER GILES swarmed Madison’s Kenan Christon in the end zone for a safety.

On the ensuing free punt, ISAIAH WOODEN fielded the ball at the 36-yard line and darted up the middle right into Madison’s coverage. Somehow, Wooden broke several tackles, remained on his feet and raced 64 yards for his fourth touchdown return of the season to give Helix a 12-0 lead.

“I actually caught the ball, and it gave me more time to find a hole and actually run with it,” Wooden said. “That’s what our coaches talk about. It’s all about motivation and momentum.”

The Scotties would score again late in the third quarter on a 12-yard fastball strike from CARSON BAKER to Wooden to make it 19-0.

Madison’s David Lantz booted a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Daniel Stokes hit Ke’ontae Springs with a 31-yard touchdown pass with 5:32 to play.

After a pass interception penalty on the 2-point conversion try, Stokes again hit Springs for the 2-pointer and suddenly it was a one-score game at 19-11.

Helix senior CARSON BAKER throws Friday night. / photo by Chris Parks scenesofyourlife.com

Fresh in the minds’ of the Helix coaching staff was the incredible run Madison made in winning their second state championship bowl game in the last five seasons.

Madison reeled off three remarkably stunning come-from-behind victories over St. Augustine (35-31), Calabasas (60-53, OT) and San Jose Valley Christian (21-17) to win the State 2-AA championship last year.

“They had magic in the playoffs (last year),” Helix coach ROBBIE OWENS said. “It was an astounding thing to witness.

“We knew what they were capable of, but our last drive put that to rest.”

Noa gained 40 tough yards on that last drive, sandwiched around a 27-yard pass from Baker to MICHAEL SHAWCROFT to give Helix the comfort of leaving the field with the ball on the Warhawks’ 10-yard line as time ran out.

“We decided we needed to run the ball,” Owens said. “Passing was tough. Their defense is really good.

“(Noa) ran the ball really well. He was just a workhorse for us, making some big yards and key plays.

“He also came through for us on defense.”

Baker scrambles Friday night against Madison. / photo by Chris Parks scenesofyourlife.com

Because of the Madison “aura” and penchant for miraculous wins, Owens said, “This week was probably the strangest I have felt in 22 years of coaching. They have this magic about them. We knew it was going to be a tough game, and we never felt safe.”

The Highlanders defense offered some safety until the fourth quarter. The unit held Madison to 21 yards and two first downs in the first quarter. They yielded only 120 yards until Stokes’ 31-yard TD pass made it a close game.

“When you get in the playoffs, it’s all about winning,” Owens said. “It doesn’t matter how you do it.”

After a tough first half, Baker completed his first seven passes of the second half and wound up with 131 passing yards on 12-of-20 attempts with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Noa carried 30 times for 160 yards to give him 923 yards in nine games.

“He ran the ball well,” Wooden said. “He had great vision as always, and the blocking schemes were great.”

Helix senior RASHAD SCOTT runs against Madison Friday night. / photo by Chris Parks scenesofyourlife.com


Alvarado also had a huge night on defense with two sacks and several gang pile tackles on Madison’s Kenan Christon, who came into the game with 1,233 yards and left with 1,251. Christon (with 18 yards on 11 carries) was a spectator most of the second half.

Helix has a way of changing the opponent’s game plan. The Highlanders entered the game having yielded only 47 points, including 23 in a loss to defending state champion Paracletes on September 2.

Stokes was merely 1-for-3 for 8 yards in the first half and finished 5 of 11 for 89 yards.

Payne, Avi’i, ROBERT HUNTER, and ARTURO TORRES were outstanding up front for the Scotties. Linebackers TYREECE TARRANT PATANE and JACOB RAY filled the box and helped stuff the Warhawks for only 82 rushing yards.

Keep in mind, Madison was averaging 38.7 points and nearly 400 yards per game.

The Scotties’ secondary, per normal, was stifling. ISAAC TAYLOR-STUART nearly had a Pick-6 but just missed the interception. RASHAD SCOTT broke up a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Scott makes a tackle of a Madison ball carrier Friday night. / photo by Chris Parks scenesofyourlife.com

JAYDEN TAUANU’U made some huge stops from his safety position.

KEATON CHASE opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal and Giles’ safety made it 5-0 Helix with 2:43 left in the first half.

Wooden’s free kick return turned it into a 12-0 game at halftime with Helix seemingly in complete control.

“Our defense really came through for us in the first half,” Owens said. “And other than a play or two, they played well in the second half as well.

“You can’t say enough about our defense.”



Open Division – Quarterfinals


Madison 0 0  0 11 – 11

Helix   0 12 7  0 – 19 

H – FG Keaton Chase 27

H – Safety, Christon tackled in end zone

H – Isaiah Wooden 55 free kick return (Keaton Chase kick)

H – Isaiah Wooden 12 pass from Carson Baker (Keaton Chase kick)

M – FG David Lantz 22

M – Ke’ontae Springs 31 pass from Daniel Stokes (Ke’ontae Springs pass from Daniel Stokes)

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