East County Sports

Foothillers, Knights bring Fortnite-like firepower





EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – The Grossmont Foothillers and San Marcos Knights figure to light up the scoreboard Friday night at Lt. Adams Stadium.

But could it be another video game-like shootout?

The sixth-ranked Knights and UC Davis-bound quarterback Miles Hastings have one of the top offenses in the entire county.

The 14th-ranked Grossmont Foothillers, from all early indications, look to have the East County’s most explosive offensive unit behind junior quarterback JAMIE ODOM.

San Marcos is coming off a 24-21 over Otay Ranch in the opener. Hasting, a 3,000-yard passer last season, threw for 190 yards in the opener on 22-of-31 passes. Junior receiver Gavin Cherveny led the Knights with six receptions, while senior Dane Olson caught five.

The Knights were last seen in these parts putting up 41 points against Helix in a three-touchdown loss in the second round of the Open Division playoffs last fall.

Junior Maverick Martin led San Marcos with seven solo stops last week. The defense figures to be busy against these Foothillers.

Grossmont put away the Bishop’s School early, winning 28-10, as Odom found seven different receivers and passed for 143 yards after junior SKIP WALTOWER and senior DAMARI CRAWFORD emerged from the deep-looking unit and caught TD passes. ZAK FARRIS had three receptions.

The Hiller running game with sophomore ROBERT TUCKER and junior JAHMAL NEVELS combined for over 115 yards.

Defensively, junior CHRIS ALBA led the Hillers were seven solo stops, while senior MONRAY CANADY had three tackles for loss and senior WILL TURNER had four pass breakups.

Which defense will make enough stops? … SAN MARCOS, 29-28.


GRANITE HILLS at MT. CARMEL – The Eagles are one of the county’s fastest-rising teams.

Granite was 19th in the media poll, but 16th in the power ratings, climbing as one of the top contenders in Division II.

Granite Hills survived three Poway attempts at a Hail Mary last week as senior DYLAN RUTTER sealed the game with an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter as the Eagles defeated the Titans, 17-13.

Eagle senior quarterback CRIS OSTRENG threw for 150 yards and a pair of TDs rushed for 85 yards on eight carries in the opener to earn county Player of the Week honors.

In the third quarter, Ostreng found Rutter on a 5-yard score to put the Eagles on top 17-7.

Granite Hills’ JAMES JOHNSON three receptions, including a TD with three catches.

Eagle senior GIDEON ALABA forced and recovered a fumble in the game, while junior ETHEN BISHOP had double-digit tackles.

The Sundevils lost 57-3 to Valley Center last week. The Eagles beat the Jaguars on the road in the Division 2 quarterfinals last season, avenging a regular-season loss to that same team.

Mt. Carmel rushed for only 38 yards, and more than half of their total offense came on a 72-yard completion, but they still failed to get in the end zone.

The computer spit out a blowout… GRANITE HILLS 31-14.


UNIVERSITY CITY at MONTE VISTA – Two of the top teams in Division III meet for the third time in the last  two seasons, after Monte Vista disposed of the Centurions in the Division IV semifinals on the road last year after UC won the regular season game between the teams.

Now, University City is ranked 19th by the media, while the Monarchs are nowhere to be found. Let the record show that in the power ratings, however, its Monte Vista that comes in at No. 18, five spots higher than UC.

JAHMON MCCLENDON scored a pair of touchdowns before sitting down and TERREL KYLE scored on a 68-yard run as the Monarchs scored 30 points in the first quarter to beat Mar Vista, 44-0.

ISAIAH GARDNER and DARREN BARKENS had nearly-identical interception returns for touchdowns off of passes deflected at the line of scrimmage.

UC has several talented players and they were all on display in a win over Valhalla last week in the Golden Triangle.

Including quarterback GUNNAR GRAY, the Centurions feature CASEY GRANFORS, E’LONIE RICO and TARIQ JEFFERSON.

But the Monarchs remain experienced in the secondary from last season… MONTE VISTA, 35-31.


WEST HILLS at VALHALLA – The West Hills Wolf Pack went out to El Centro and knocked off the Southwest Eagles, 23-3, behind an awesome two-way effort led by senior running back/linebacker JAKE MAHEU.

By beating last year’s D3 champs on their home turf, that should signal that West Hills is a serious contender for a CIF championship, as well as, their Grossmont Valley League matchup with Monte Vista.

In the meantime, the Wolf Pack will go up against Grossmont Conference foe Valhalla in southeast El Cajon.

Last year when these two teams met, JORDIN YOUNG dinked and dunked his way to a 14-of-18 night passing and he even caught the decisive TD pass on a play where the officials waved off a holding call against West Hills as the Wolf Pack edged the Norsemen at home, 24-21, in a thriller in Santee last October.

HUNTER GAUTHIER caught a TD pass from Young in the win,.

Valhalla backs KEGAN BAKER and ELIJAWAN PHILLIPS both had some success running in that game against the Wolf Pack. Baker scored two touchdowns and both teams gained 230 yards apiece.

Explosive kick returner KIARE WORTHY had a 96-yard TD return last week in the loss to UC and also recorded an interception. Valhalla’s quarterback appears to be sophomore LUKE PILLSBURY.

The Norsemen had held over the Wolf Pack for many renewals until last season… WEST HILLS, 21-14.


ARROYO GRANDE at HELIX – Helix fell to fourth in the media poll following their 43-3 loss at state 11th-ranked Cajon, but the Highlanders are still at the top of the county’s power rankings.

Helix senior ELELYON NOA was injured late in the first quarter when the score was 8-3, and his departure completely changed the Highlanders’ approach against the talent-laden Cowboys.

Noa sustained a concussion, which means he likely would miss this week’s game with the Eagles from the Central Section.

That will give the Highlanders an opportunity to work on its offensive identity. Both DANIEL AMON and DELSHAWN TRAYLOR appeared a quarterback against the Cowboys.

Helix was playing an elite, elite opponent, and the same thing can be said for next week’s game against a top team from Arizona. 

This week, expect to see senior JOSHUA SHIELDS running the ball for Helix and the QBs try to get it into the hands of receiver CHRIS RIVERA. Helix still has a strong offensive front with CHRIS ALVARADO and Co.

Arroyo Grande beat San Luis Obispo, 56-21, in its season opener. The Eagles were led by senior running back James Gilmet, who had 124 yards and two touchdowns, QB Kadin Byrne, who had 106 yards rushing and two scores, and a sophomore Caleb Tomison, who had two TD runs of over 50 yards. 

They also had a kickoff for a TD by Gilmet and punt return for a score.

The circumstances would suggest this is no easy task, but the computers suggest otherwise… HELIX, 35-21.


BRAWLEY at STEELE CANYON – Division 3A state champion Steele Canyon may be only an after-thought by pollsters after a season-opening loss at tough Carlsbad, but the rankings suggest that these Cougars are one of the county’s top ten teams, one spot ahead of Grossmont.

Dropped from the poll after just one week, the county’s preseason No. 10 team closed back from an early 14-point deficit to pull to within a point but the Lancers pulled away despite sophomore speedster WES NEELY’s 97-yard kickoff return.

Neely’s explosiveness was as advertised, while quarterback NATHAN BARNETT, a transfer from New Jersey, had 152 yards of total offense, including a touchdown.

Despite falling out of the county poll entirely, it should be noted that the Cougars are still 10th in the county power rankings

Last year’s game was played in extreme heat conditions, but the result was a 24-20 Cougar win in Brawley.

The Wildcats struggled in the first half, then opened a three-TD lead before holding off Gila Ridge, 27-20, last Friday.  

Senior quarterback Casey Kline is back from injury last mid-season to lead the ‘Cats, who have a veteran offensive line.

Senior two-way man Nathan Godinez had a touchdown and an interception last week.

Brawley is always great opponent, but the Cougars just rate much higher… STEELE CANYON 38-17.


MATER DEI CATHOLIC at EL CAPITAN – Last season’s Week 2 matchup was a 26-24 Mater Dei win at home, but WICK HAUSER on that day was 22-of-37 for 217 yards and YAPHET YOKLEY had a huge game with eight catches and 122 total yards, including a touchdown and an 88-yard kickoff return.

These teams combined for just six points last week, as El Capitan lost to visiting Christian 41-6, while Mater Dei was shutout at Ramona, 28-0.

Hauser, a junior, connected with senior Yokley for a 57-yard TD hook-up for their only score. The Vaqueros had 148 yards through in the air, in all.

Crusaders sophomore quarterback Trevor Appleman showed promised in his first start against a very good Ramona defense and junior running back Aiden Calvert had 91 rushing yards. 

The Crusaders’ defense forced four Ramona turnovers, including an interception by senior corner JAYDEN FLORES.

This game rates as a toss-up, but the Vaqueros have to expect to win at home despite Mater Dei’s higher D2 status… EL CAPITAN, 22-20.


SERRA at SANTANA – The Conquistadors come down the 52 to face a sharp-looking Sultans outfit.

The Sultans’ NATHAN TEMPLE and RANDY SMITH were certainly in sync with three touchdown connections in the first half in their 42-7 win over visiting Mountain Empire last week.

Temple passed for 146 yards and BROOKS MOUTAW had a 26-yard touchdown run in the first half. Later, IAN LITTEN scored a touchdown, as well

Juniors JACOB PETERSON and LINCOLN SUMNER combined for nine tackles for Santana. Litten also led the team in tackles.

Serra was leading Scripps Ranch behind junior quarterback Timmy Zebroski, but the Falcons scored 21 unanswered points in a 28-22 loss.

Zebroski teamed up with Mark Genevich for a 63-yard touchdown and running back DUSTIN ELLISON had two scores, including a 60-yard run, so the Sultans will need to key on that big-play ability.

These teams are rated very closely in Division 4 with the Sultans currently rated seventh and the Conquistadors ninth, but Santana currently passes the eye test a little stronger… SANTANA, 35-21.


CHULA VISTA at MOUNT MIGUEL – The Matadors defeated the Spartans, 15-6, last year in Week 2 in Spring Valley.

Senior LARRY YZAGUIRRE had three receptions for 47 yards in that one, but it was ULICES MONJE and the Matador defense that earned the headline.

Last week, that duo combined on high-low strip tackle that resulted in a fumble recovery, but the Matadors dropped their opener, 39-0, to neighbor rival Morse.

Sophomore quarterback J.D. LAVERDIERE and junior receiver JAHEIM ALLEN connected on a 25-yard pass early in the game,  and with ERIC GRAHAM a couple of times, including a 29-yard completion in the second half, as Laverdiere finished with 141 yards throwing.

Yzaguirre was also a target in the fourth quarter, hauling in a 14-yarder, as the young signal caller stood strong in the pocket against the Tiger pressure to make his throws.”

Chula Vista Spartans rallied to defeat La Jolla Country Day, 27-14, in their opener.

Senior running back Angel Jimenez scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for Chula Vista.

The ratings have these sectional rivals at the opposite ends of the D3 ranks, but this could rate much closer… CHULA VISTA, 20-17.


CHRISTIAN at KING’S ACADEMY (Sunnyvale) – The Patriots are going to travel to the Bay Area to face the Knights, of the Central Section, who will be playing their their season opener.

The Knights finished 4-6 last season, but won four of their last five games under a veteran head coach PETE LAVARATO, who came to the school just last year.

Christian senior quarterback OWEN EASLEY passed for over 150 yards on 12-of-22 and rushed for two touchdowns, while senior ALEXANDER GONZALEZ had six catches, including one for 61 yards and an 88-yard kickoff return.

Senior JAVIER JIMENEZ rushed for 81 yards and caught four passes for Christian, while senior BRYCE RIEPL had an interception and a rushing touchdown.

Senior back Bralyn Lux had over 900 yards of total offense and 13 touchdowns last season for TKA, which last year had a 2-to-1 run-to-pass ratio.

Christian scored 60 against a team from Utah in its long road trip last season, but this one could be closer… CHRISTIAN, 35-26.


EL CAJON VALLEY at CORONADO – El Cajon Valley sophomore quarterback JOE MALONE rushed for a 40-yard touchdown and completed a 46-yard pass to BRANDON ROBINSON, as he stepped in and played with confidence, according to NICK OSBORN, who was making his varsity football head coaching debut.

The Braves, however, ran into Ryan Sanborn and the Francis Parker Lancers, as the star accounted for six touchdowns – three passing and three rushing – in the 42-13 win.

Sophomore quarterback JOE MALONE connected with BRANDON ROBINSON on a 46-yard reception.

The Braves ‘ DAMARIUS HYDE scored a rushing touchdown as the Braves rushed for 165 yards.

El Cajon Valley players noted that this was a game on the schedule that they were very much looking forward to, and that could be because of their close standing in Division 4. This is a pivotable game in the playoff picture already.

The Islanders, coached by KURT HINES, won their home opener last week 21-13 over Maranatha Christian.

Junior quarterback Colter Maldonado had 181 yards of total offense, rushing for a score, and passing for another, with a 64-yard hook-up with junior James Witthoft.

Senior BRYCE ALEXANDER leads the Coronado defense, he had 9 tackles and a sack last week. Witthoft also picked off a pass.

These two aren’t separated by much on paper, but the Braves will have something to prove… CORONADO, 28-14.


SAN YSIDRO at MOUNTAIN EMPIRE – The RedHawks got off the bus last year and stunned the Cougars early in a 21-0 halftime lead in Week 2 but MEHS wore down in the second half, dropping a 28-21 contest. This time they get San Ysidro in Pine Valley.

The RedHawks have two-way senior DALLAS PRINCE, who caught six passes last week in the loss to the Sultans, along with seven tackles and two defended passes. MARKUS SMITH debuted with five receptions, as quarterback GABRIEL HYDORN passed for 183 yards.

Senior CAMERON WILL had nine tackles, including six solo against Santana. The RedHawks’ defense, which got to the Santana QB three times last week, is a heavy veteran unit.

Hydorn passed for 240 yards and had three touchdown passes. Prince caught seven balls for 97 yards and a score.

SYHS rushed 59 times last week and completed just one pass. That should bode well for the gang-tackling RedHawks. Senior Josue Juarez had over 100 yards on the ground.

The RedHawks are the higher-rated team and should get their revenge on the visitors… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 20-17.


VICTORY CHRISTIAN at FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN – The 8-man season opener as the coach JOE MACKEY’s Joe Knights host Chula Vista-based Victory Christian at Seau Field when 

Junior TONY MROZ takes over at quarterback for FCHS, while JADEN BANKHEAD and brothers LEYOKI – DANIEL and ANDREW lead the returnees, but everything likely comes down to Foothills and championship rival Calvin Christian later in the season.

Victory Christian was 3-5 last year but return nearly the entire team.

Senior Adam White was the team MVP last season, rushing for over 750 yards and eight touchdowns, as well as, being a tackling machine. Larry Oldham passed and rushed for over 600 yards of total offense.

But for now, the Knights get this one… FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN, 42-21.

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