East County Sports


Santana's Brooks Moutaw runs behind Luke Simanek (51) and Brandon Johnson on Friday night. / photo by Melissa Honick




By Ramon Scott



SAN DIEGO – The Helix Highlanders aren’t fond of the thought of being 1-2 just three games into the 2018 season.

But that isn’t a scar against the Scotties’ chances late Saturday afternoon against Arizona third-ranked power Saguaro, of Scottsdale, at The Honor Bowl at Cathedral Catholic High. 

Kickoff is at 4. The game can be seen on FACEBOOK LIVE! and the NFHS Network at 4 p.m. on Saturday from Cathedral Catholic High School.

The five-time state champions and current Arizona 4A title-holders present Helix with its second underdog task to start the year.

Fourth-ranked Helix evened its record with a 34-3 win over Arroyo Grande behind four touchdowns by Highlanders junior quarterback DELSHAWN TRAYLOR.

But the Highlanders give two looks on offense, with senior quarterback DANIEL AMON, who passed for 173 yards last week.

In the win over the out-of-town Eagles, Helix played without ELELYON NOA, who was sidelined but has been cleared to play this week.

Helix has had Noa on the field for less than one quarter in the two games thus far.

Saguaro is coming off a home loss to Liberty High, of Las Vegas, in a matchup of accomplished programs.

The Sabrecats were intercepted a couple of times and were shutout in the second half by Liberty. It was the second-straight year that Liberty knocked off the Arizona champs.

Saguaro has nearly a whole field of players with at least one Division I offer, including seven three-star prospects. The ratings simply say the Sabrecats should win… SAGUARO, 28-21.


SANTANA (2-0) at CHRISTIAN (2-0) – A pair of unbeaten East County teams square off at Valley Stadium on Friday night.

The Patriots current stand in the top 25 of the county’s teams after wins over El Capitan and last week in Sunnyvale, 29-27, over The Kings’ Academy.

Senior quarterback OWEN EASLEY is averaging over 200 yards passing in the first two games with no interceptions in 42 attempts. He also rushed for five touchdowns in just 16 carries.

Christian High senior ALEX GONZALEZ has 13 receptions for 163 yards in those wins.

CHS senior linebacker BRYCE RIEPL has 25 tackles, including four for loss, while gaining 148 yards of total offense. He’s also recorded an interception.

The Patriots are expected to handle the hot-start of the Sultans, but this good-looking offense makes Santana a bit more of a wild card.

The Sultans have put up 66 points, including a 24-22 win over visiting Serra last week.

Senior RANDY SMITH has 11 catches and four touchdowns, including a long hookup with junior quarterback NATHAN TEMPLE last week, but also watch for sophomore JARED FORSTER, who has 10 receptions.

Santana junior back BROOKS MOUTAW may be slightly overlooked thus far. He has 113 yards rushing. 

Santana has 7 1/2 sacks in the first two games, including three by senior CAM WILSON. Seniors IAN LITTEN and COLTON SNIPES also lead the big-play Sultan defense. 

Litten had a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown last week.

The Patriots are expected to win here according to the power rankings, but the Sultans can be excited about their chances in this game and beyond… CHRISTIAN, 38-21.


MOUNT MIGUEL (0-2) at VALHALLA (0-2) – A pair of Grossmont Conference squads certainly can think they have the opportunity to get into the win column against their closely-matched conference foe.

The Norsemen have won the last four in the series to close the all-time gap to 26-16-1 in favor of the Matadors.

The last victory Valhalla registered on the field was against Mount Miguel, 24-14, in Week Three of last season. 

Valhalla’s ETHEN FERKICH, a current senior, played the role of run-stuffer in the game, as the Matadors couldn’t get their ground game moving.

Then-junior KIARE WORTHY had a big 41-yard reception for the Norsemen, while ERIC GRAHAM, now a senior, caught a two-point conversion for the Matadors.

The Matadors registered 268 yards of passing offense.

Mount Miguel’s JAHEIM ALLEN, now a junior, kept Valhalla out of the end zone with a pass breakup inside the 5, which led to a field goal.

Despite the losses so far, both teams were considered underdogs in their first two matchups. 

Friday’s game is closely-rated, but the Norsemen have the edge even without their home field, according to the computer ratings.

Valhalla senior ZACH LARSON recorded a sack last week against West Hills, while Ferkich had an interception.

Worthy, whose highlight speed was on display with a kickoff return for a touchdown in Week One, had a 1-yard rushing score last week against West Hills.

Mount Miguel sophomore quarterback J.D. LAVERDIERE has stood confidently in the pocket so far. He completed a pass to senior wide receiver JADD MALLARD for a 66-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter last week against Chula Vista.

Mallard recovered a fumble on the next series.

Matador juniors MIKE MEDINA and ULICES MONJE registered some good hits on Spartan ball carriers in the loss.

Which team will hit the mark? … VALHALLA, 21-13.


PATRICK HENRY (0-2) at MONTE VISTA (2-0) – The 14th-ranked Monte Vista Monarchs not only proved many doubters wrong last week against University City, they did so in near-resounding fashion.

Against a very formidable new rival, the Monarchs took away their opponents’ very strength, slowing the Centurions’ touted passing attack en route to a 48-20 playoff-rematch victory.

Senior running back JAHMON MCCLENDON racked up another six touchdowns in the contest, as he continued to torment UC High. 

The brothers’ SCHMIDT – BLAKE and LOGAN – applied the pressure for the Monte Vista defense, giving Monte Vista’s underrated secondary a smaller window against the Centurions’ bevy of targets.

“Our goal was to close the pocket (against UC QB Gunnar Gray) and get as many sacks as we could,” Blake Schmidt said. “As the games go on and we continue to make more stops, our confidence will increase.

“We really stress taking the season one week at a time. We’re focused on Patrick Henry and we treat every week like we’re 0-0.”

In years past, Patrick Henry (0-2) has been a good test for this program, including last year when quarterback Ethan Gomez, now a senior, put up 333 yards of total offense, most of it in the second half, in a 7-point Monarch win, but the Patriots have been outscored 85-0 in a pair of losses so far… MONTE VISTA, 42-7.


MADISON (2-0) at EL CAPITAN (1-1)- The Vaqueros continue their treacherous non-league schedule when they host the No. 3-ranked Warhawks.

El Capitan can take pride in its terrific effort last week in a 37-35 home loss to Mater Dei Catholic, a game that was eventually decided by a safety.

Junior running back DONNY GREEN rushed for 182 yards and senior YAPHET YOKLEY had a 75-yard touchdown run as the team rushed for over 350 yards.

Quarterback WICK HAUSER passed for two scores, including a late TD to senior ETHAN BERLESON.

But the loss didn’t sit well with the players, especially the seniors, who called a players’ only meeting early in the week.

Madison has wins over Rancho Bernardo and Bonita Vista, putting up 62 points last week against the Barons.

The Warhawks have a super trio of stars and more.

Senior running back Kenon Kriston is an early favorite as the county’s player of the year. He had touchdown runs of 59 and 30 yards last week in the first quarter.

Senior Daniel Stokes and junior Keonte Springs make up one of the section’s elite triumvirate of players.

Quarterback Mario Alves, a junior, is the returning starter for Madison. 

Those players combined for 470 yards of total offense to defeat the Vaqueros in the season opener here last year.

Hauser threw for nearly 150 yards in that one, but El Cap ran for just 57 yards. 

With El Capitan’s resurgent running game this time around, they can try to extend possessions against this established defense… MADISON, 42-21.


SANTA FE (0-2) at WEST HILLS (2-0) – The Wolf Pack are off to a 2-0 start after holding both Southwest (El Centro) and Valhalla to single digits.

West Hills senior JORDIN YOUNG passed for a touchdown and ran 54 yards for another in a 24-7 road win against the Norsemen. He had 206 yards of total offense.

Senior two-way star JAKE MAHEU is really a three-way threat, as the linebacker and running back is developing as a receiving option, as well.

The Chiefs from Santa Fe High in Santa Fe Springs were the undefeated champions of the Del Rio league in the Southern Section last season, but are off to an 0-2 non-league start in 2018.

Computers suggest a good night for the Wolf Pack but these type of opponents – poor record, strong section, quality history –  have been tricky for local conference teams in the past… WEST HILLS, 28-21.


MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (1-1) at HOOVER (0-2) – The RedHawks showed how far they’ve come in a year with a 35-0 shutout over San Ysidro last week. 

It was the largest-enrollment school MEHS has ever defeated in football.

Mountain Empire had 350 yards of total offense, as senior quarterback GABE HYDORN was 8-for-9 for 159 yards and two touchdowns to RYAN SAWYER, and Hydorn also ran for two scores.

The Redhawks’ NATHAN ROSE had 10 carries for 104 yards, including a touchdown.

Defensive linemen TONY ARCE and CHARLIE SALLEE led the charge, while middle linebacker CAMERON WILL had 15 tackles.

RedHawks beat the Cards last year in Pine Valley, 21-7, behind 200 yards of total offense from Hydorn, who passed for two TDs and ran for the other, so this group should be able to accomplish a win on the road, as well… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 28-21.


KEARNY (1-0) at EL CAJON VALLEY (0-2) – The Braves could find themselves competitively matched with the Komets on Friday night.

The Komets defeated visiting El Cajon Valley, 38-28, last year in a game in which the Braves jumped out to a reasonable lead.

Kearny quarterback Kenyon Williams had nearly 200 yards passing in the contest, including three touchdown passes to Devon Jones, who had seven catches for 95 yards in the game.


Several of the players had to change positions or play extra duty after four regulars were out with injuries… KEARNY, 42-14.


FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN (1-0), ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY (0-1) – The Knights look really strong following a 50-8 opening win over Victory Christian at Seau Field last Friday.

FCHS rushed for nearly 200 yards and when they got close, senior quarterback TONY MROZ threw two tochdown passes.

The Knights defense racked up six sacks, including 2 1/2 by junior HUNTER NICKELL.

Foothills Christian shut out the Crusaders, 44-0, last year in La Mesa with nearly over 175 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns… FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN, 35-14.

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