East County Sports


MICHAEL SHAWCROFT makes a tackle against Saguaro. / TopDawg Network




By Ramon Scott



EL CAJON – The Monte Vista Monarchs and Christian Patriots are expected to play a championship-caliber football game when the undefeated teams meet on Friday night at Granite Hills High.

Fifteenth-ranked Monte Vista (3-0) and host Christian (3-0) are the top two teams in the section’s Division III playoff rankings.

The Monarchs, currently 12th in the overall CIF section power ratings, have scored 40-plus points in three straight games for the first time ever, while the Patriots, who are 21st in the county table, look to match last season’s 4-0 start.

Senior running back JAHMON MCCLENDON has 12 touchdowns so far this season for Monte Vista. 

Senior linemen MARCO BARRAGAN and CHRISTIAN DE LA CRUZ lead the Monarchs’ unheralded offensive line.

Monarch senior BLAKE SCHMIDT is getting more and more attention as one of the county’s elite defensive players.

However, last week, his brother, junior LOGAN SCHMIDT, had three sacks and 11 tackles last week against Patrick Henry.

The Patriots will host Monte Vista for the first time ever, as Christian just won in Spring Valley in 2016, 20-10, as now-veterans ALEX GONZALEZ, GARRETT ROSENTHAL and BRYCE RIEPL all played in that game for Christian, while several Monarch underclassmen at the time, will be playing big-time roles in Friday’s showdown.

Christian High senior quarterback OWEN EASLEY is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes on a balanced offense. But he’s also run for seven scores on just 21 carries.

Gonzalez is one of the top receivers in the county so far, catching 21 passes from Easley for nearly 100 yards per game. The Pats try to get the senior the ball in different ways.

Riepl leads the team with 28 tackles and also has 10 receptions from his tight end spot.

Christian High senior running back JAVIER JIMENEZ has four touchdowns in three games.

The winner of this contest will remain atop the division’s seedings, while the loser isn’t likely to suffer much of a drop off.

The Monarchs won the first-ever of the two previous meetings back in 1980 (the game was played at Mount Miguel).

This game isn’t short on opinions – or reasons – for one side or the other… MONTE VISTA, 31-28.

No. 6 HELIX (1-2) at No. 4 CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC (2-1) – This contest is practically an Open Division playoff game.

Conjecture among the experts is that’s Helix’s full league slate will seriously deflate their strength of schedule, so the loser here would likely miss out of the Open Division four-team playoff.

Much of the Scotties’ chances of success revolves around the health of ELELYON NOA, who missed his second-straight game last week, though he may return to action tonight.

Helix lost to the third-ranked team in Arizona, Saguaro, but had a modest rally in losing 28-21.

MICHAEL SHAWCROFT had an interception that turned into an 80-yard score when he made like REGGIE BUSH against Oceanside at the Q, and tried to lateral the ball. It ended up in XAVIER HAMLETT’s mitts off a bounce, and he took it in for the score.

KEVIN OLSON and JACOB RAY both added interceptions, as well, for the Highlanders. Hamlett also rushed for a score and Shawcroft caught a TD pass.

DELSHAWN TRAYLOR has all kinds of heart, participating on both sides of the ball, but and now his contribution becomes more important after co-QB DANIEL AMON was knocked from the contest last week and is out for now.

Cathedral Catholic was so impressive on Saturday in its Honor Bowl game with Gardena Serra, 42-21, 

The Dons lost in Week 1 to now-No. 2 La Costa Canyon and feature Shawn Poma, who has 336 yards in his last two games, and quarterback DJ Ralph, the son of former Santana coach Jerry Ralph, who had two TD passes last week to dynamic Zion Sorani.

The Highlanders need an upset… HELIX, 22-21.

No. 17 GROSSMONT (1-1) at No. 8 EASTLAKE (2-1) – If there is one team that the Foothillers would like to get a win against, it would be these Eastlake Titans.

Grossmont is 0-6 against Eastlake, including a 32-19 loss last season and a 59-37 playoff loss in 2012.

The Hillers are coming off an unexpected bye last week after De Anza decided not to play the Foothillers but this task will be tough enough.

But the team reported on Thursday that it would be playing Rancho Verde, currently ranked 35th in the state power rankings, at home on September 14. 

Two weeks ago, Grossmont was stunned by San Marcos after leading 21-0.

Jaime Odom has over 450 yards in two games with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Sophomore running back Robert Tucker 133 yards in two contests. Wide out Zak Farris six catches so far.

Seniors James Bond and Connor Sanchez have looked strong on defense so far.

Eastlake, once again under the tutelage of head coach John McFadden, has one of the section’s top defenders in  linebacker Josh McCarty.

Quarterback Richard Colmenero is joined by running back Parker Merrifield and wide receiver Kevin Bateman.

The Titans have Vincent Santos and Lavonte Webb as a pair of 300-pounders in the trenches.

The Titans might have the Hillers’ number… EASTLAKE, 28-24.

No 17. GRANITE HILLS (2-0) at WESTVIEW (1-2) – Granite Hills seeks its first 3-0 start since going 5-0 to open the 2014 season.

When we last saw these Eagles two week ago, they were taking down Mt. Carmel on the road 35-17, with senior quarterback CRIS OSTRENG leading the way, but particularly exciting was the emergence of junior wide receiver JAMES JOHNSON, who had five receptions for 70 yards.

Junior JAYTEN VANLANDINGHAM had a team-high nine tackles, including two of Granite’s five sacks. ETHEN BISHOP and BRYCE CHRISTIAN had interceptions.

These teams played a home-and-home in 2007 and 2008, where the home sides prevailed in the only previous meetings.

Westview has lost two-straight and was shut out last week by San Pasqual, 20-0.

The Eagles are expected to win, but they’ll have to overcome one of the longest trips of the week… GRANITE HILLS, 21-17.

BONITA VISTA (0-3) at STEELE CANYON (1-1) – The Cougars won at home against Brawley two weeks ago behind newcomer NATHAN BARNETT, who has put together 300 yards over two games.

He’s still looking for that first TD pass as a Cougar but he had the critical rushing scores to beat the Wildcats in a thriller. 

Steele’s CHANCE JOHNSON has five catches in the two games, while back Kenneth Watson has a hundred yards rushing, so far.

Sophomore COLTON GUERRERO is a rising defensive star right now with 18 tackles.

Baron two-way lineman Anthony Antunez stands in the way of the Cougars’ success.

Steele is 2-0 all-time versus Bonita Vista (2010-11). Chalk up a third on Friday… STEELE CANYON, 27-13.

WEST HILLS (3-0) at CHULA VISTA (2-1) –  The Wolf Pack seek their first 4-0 start since 2013.

JORDAN YOUNG, West Hills senior signal caller, has over 550 yards of total offense this season, including four rushing touchdowns.  

Jordan rushed for almost 500 yards last year, but already has 333 yards on the ground this year after just three games.

His receivers may not be as experienced as last year, but his connections seem on the rise with KOLE KLINGERMAN (four catches), BRYCEN WILLIAMS and DYLAN SMITH. who all have TD receptions.

Running back / linebacker JAKE MAHEU, an emerging junior star, has 250 yards of total offense for the Pack.

JACK BROWNING is looking like one of the top kickers in the East County, and also has been stellar as a defensive back.

West Hills is 1-1 vs Chula Vista; lost in a CIF players game at Chula Vista in 2000, 32-22, then won at home next season, 15-10.

In CIF Division 3, the Wolf Pack are rated fifth, but easily in the mix with the top teams in the division.

The Spartans, who own a win over Mount Miguel, lost to Escondido last week.

Spartan senior defensive tackle Faleapa Toilolo is among the county leaders in sacks with six.

Juniors Dylan Sallee and Alex Guzman both have eight receptions for CVHS.

The Wolf Pack are expected to win, but the Spartans, who certainly seem as good as last year, lost to Monte Vista by just one point on the road in overtime last season…  WEST HILLS, 24-20.

SANTA FE CHRISTIAN (2-1) at MOUNT MIGUEL (1-2) – The Matadors are coming off a road win over Valhalla on the road behind J.D. LAVERDIERE’s 368 yards and four touchdowns.

It was the first win for new Matador coach TROY STARR.

All of a sudden, the Matadors have guys that have to be respected in the passing game in receivers DOMINIC MORALES and JADD MALLARD. Both caught long scores in the victory and combined for nine receptions.

Mount Miguel’s defense looked good, too, with ULICES MONJE and MANU MAOSI, limiting the Norsemen.

This will be the first-ever meeting against SFC for the Matadors.

This will be a good test for Mount Miguel against the Eagles, who have beaten Olympian and La Jolla, and were shutout by Saints. 

They are always strong up front and have a very good running game, averaging over 175 yards per game.

Junior Jack Miles had led the way so far with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Michael Linguadoca has 137 passing yards for SFC and is a top tackler from his free safety spot.

The Eagle defense is led by Carson Drake and Austin Rossetti.

Eagles are expected to win by a couple of scores, but they’ll probably have to earn it… SANTA FE CHRISTIAN, 28-18.

SANTANA (2-1) at CLAIREMONT (0-3) – The Sultans throttled the Chieftains, 31-0, last year, and despite key injuries to a pair of Santana stars, they should be able to begin work with their re-structured alignment.

The Sultans have lost quarterback NATHAN TEMPLE and running back/linebacker IAN LITTEN to injuries that will sideline them for the season.

Senior SEAN IVERSON is at quarterback now for Santana and he’ll benefit from some good talent around him in receivers JARED FORSTER and RANDY SMITH, and running back BROOKS MOUTAW.

Santana’s COLTON SNIPES returned a fumble 35 yards for a touchdown last week.

Clairemont is led by quarterback Ryan Christensen.

Santana should have enough for Clairemont, as this team will need to find new ways to keep the momentum going from the first two games of the season despite the untimely loss to Christian last week.

The Sultans are undefeated (4-0) versus the Chieftains and that should continue on Friday… SANTANA, 28-14.

PATRICK HENRY (0-3) at EL CAPITAN (0-3) – El Capitan at 0-3 will try to avoid its first 0-4 start since 2004, the year before head coach RON BURNER took over.

The Vaqueros changed their side of the ledger several times last Friday against one of the top teams in the county in the home loss to Madison.

WICK HAUSER and ETHAN BURLESON hooked up twice for touchdowns for the second-consecutive week.

The Patriots have tried to run, but are averaging just 1 1/2 yards-per-carry.

Senior Jacob Adelman is the threat on the outside for the Pats.

The Vaqueros wins the games they are expected to win… EL CAPITAN, 28-21.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (2-1) at SILVER VALLEY (1-2) – The RedHawks are coming off back-to-back shutouts after stuffing Hoover last week at Breitbard Stadium.

Silver Valley, out of Yermo, came down to Pine Valley and took a win last season.

But this RedHawks team continues to impress as NATHAN ROSE and ESTEBAN CASTILLO both rushed for over 100 yards against the Cards.

GABRIEL HYDORN connected with RYAN SAWYER on a 14-yard touchdown pass and sophomore MARCUS SMITH scored on a 37-yard reception from the quarterback.

DALLAS PRINCE had an interception, as the defense held the Hoover offense to 75 total yards .

Middle linebacker CAMERON WILL had 14 tackles, including five tackles-for-loss, while CHARLIE SALLEE and TONY ARCE combined for three sacks and two fumble recoveries.

The Trojans are coming off a 39-8 win.

On paper, the RedHawks appear to have the upper-hand, but this is no easy task… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 22-21.

SERRA (0-3) at EL CAJON VALLEY (0-3) – El Cajon Valley has played the Conquistadors three previous times over the last two years, including two playoff meetings.

Still, the Braves have not been able to conquer the Q’s in five all-time tries.

The teams played twice last year – in the season opener and the CIF game – in Tierrasanta.

El Cajon Valley cornerback CLARENCE JOHNSON had an interception in the fourth quarter last week.

“Serra runs a tough, but familiar 3-3 defense in which we have seen in Coronado and Francis Parker,” El Cajon Valley coach NICK OSBORN. “We will have a better idea on how to counter the defensive scheme, which will be key against Serra.”

El Cajon will try to use its familiarity as an equalizer against the favored Q-Dawgs… SERRA, 42-12.

WEST SHORES (1-1) at FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN (2-0) – The Knights received a late forfeit win last week over St. Joseph’s Academy.

Friday night will be Hero Night at Seau Sports Complex.

FCHS invites anyone who has served or is serving in the Armed Forces, Police Departments, Fire Departments, or as a First Responder, free admission, with special recognition at halftime.

The Knights are good and could be in for a special season. They had six sacks in their opening game and DANIEL LYYJOKI rushed for two touchdowns.

Although the school started 4-0 in its first season when known as Venture Christian in 2005, two were against JV squads.

West Shores, from Salton Sea,  has rushed for over 500 yards in two games and has over 700 yards overall. The Wildcats had five sacks last win in a 28-14 win.

The school almost had to cancel the program before last season, but rallied to its first winning season in 11 years, going 6-4 under now-second-year head coach Gustavo Sandoval.

That shouldn’t be taken lightly, but West Shores opened the season with a loss to Borrego Springs, a team Foothills beat, 54-0, last year. FCHS, 34-20.

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