East County Sports





By Ramon Scott



SPRING VALLEY – The Granite Hills Eagles and Steele Canyon Cougars currently make up East County’s hottest football rivalry.

The teams met twice last season, including the San Diego CIF Division II semifinals when the Cougars got revenge for a regular-season road loss to the Eagles, 28-27.

In the earlier matchup, Granite’s WILL BURTON caught the game-clinching touchdown pass for a 43-41 win, further adding to the new legacy.

Friday night, 12th-ranked Steele Canyon (4-1) hosts 15th-ranked Granite Hills (5-0)  in the Grossmont Hills League opener at 7. The teams are back in the same league for the first time since 2013.

The Eagles shut out Southwest (El Centro), 34-0, last Friday, as senior quarterback CRIS OSTRENG ran for two scores and passed for scores to NICO SNOW and CARLOS DELEON. Ostreng went over a thousand yards of total offense for the season.

Granite Hills’ defense forced three turnovers last week, including a fumble recovery by BRYCE CHRISTIAN.

A win over Poway is looking even better for the undefeated Eagles after the Titans dismantled Grossmont last Friday.

Meanwhile, the Cougars beat Mira Mesa again, this time by a 52-35 count, knocking off the Marauders for the third time in two seasons.

Steele Canyon cashed in on five first-half possessions as senior tailback KENNETH WATSON and senior quarterback NATHAN BARNETT combined for 500 yards of total offense.

The Cougars lead the series, 11-4, but if this game came down to the last play, it would surprise no one… STEELE CANYON, 28-21.


No. 14 MIRA MESA (4-1) at No. 16 CHRISTIAN (5-0) – The undefeated Christian Patriots are still reaching new heights of success.

The program that has won 10 section titles in three separate CIF divisions has never been rated among the county’s top ten teams in the power-rankings era.

Two weeks ago, Christian High raised their profile by knocking off then-fellow unbeaten Monte Vista to take over the top spot in the current Division III playoff picture. The Pats are currently ninth according to the computer’s formula.

Now, the Patriots enter Western League play against a top circuit challenger. And on Homecoming to boot.

Christian High senior ALEXANDER GONZALEZ had a 96-yard kickoff return and scored three more times after in last week’s revenge win at Santa Fe Christian.

Patriot senior GARRETT ROSENTHAL registered 12 tackles and a fumble recovery. He also knocked down a pair of passes at the line of scrimmage.

This Christian team appears to have the staying power in defense with additional stars CODY BOSTIAN and BRYCE RIEPL.

The Marauders are coming in off their loss to Steele Canyon. Mira Mesa has talented stars in quarterback Noah Tumblin, two-way star Marcus Dean and receiver Albert Lemon.

Since joining the City Conference, the Pats are 19-2 in league games… CHRISTIAN, 35-23.


No. 4 HELIX (2-3) at EL CAPITAN (1-4) – The three-time defending Grossmont Hills League champ Helix opens GHL play in Lakeside against the Vaqueros.

The Highlanders are coming off their bye week, but have moved back into the top four spots in the San Diego Section’s power rankings, placing them back in position to reach the Open Division playoffs for now.

The Vaqueros, meanwhile, are still riding tall in the saddle after their upset win at West Hills last Friday in the first Tony Burner Memorial Game.

El Capitan running back DONNY GREEN rushed for 175 yards, while junior quarterback WICK HAUSER ran for a touchdown and hit senior NATHAN SCHUNK for a pair of scores in the emotional win in Santee last Friday.

El Cap also got a scoop-n-score touchdown from senior defender BRYCE SMITH in the win over the Wolf Pack and a field goal from MARLON PINEDA.

Scottie senior ELELYON NOA had 177 yards and a touchdown two weeks in a 35-14 home win over St. Augustine, while junior DELSHAWN TRAYLOR rushed for a pair of scores and had a pair of interceptions on defense, as Helix picked off four passes.

The Highlanders lead the series, 38-12-1, including three straight, all by 31 points or more… HELIX, 42-14.


MONTE VISTA (4-1) at CHULA VISTA (2-4) – The Spartans nearly derailed the Monarchs’ thrilling championship season last November before Monte Vista prevailed, 29-28, in overtime at home to advance out of the quarterfinals.

UCLA-bound senior JAHMON MCCLENDON came off the bench last week to rush for 350 yards and four touchdowns in Monte Vista’ road win over Bishop’s.

The Monarchs, who trailed at halftime, got two interceptions in the contest from senior JEVON BROOKS.

The Spartans were run over by the Morse Tigers, 49-14 last week. Chula Vista faces its third East County team this season, owning a win over Mount Miguel, 20-7, while getting shut out by West Hills, 13-0.

This is the first regular season meeting ever these two clubs. The other meeting was also a playoff game in 1992, as Monte Vista won 21-14 in the 1992 quarterfinals.

The Spartans had the formula to slow the Monarchs last year… MONTE VISTA, 35-20.


MOUNT MIGUEL (1-4) at SANTANA (4-2) – The Matadors and Sultans will get an opportunity to start 1-0 in the Grossmont Valley League.

Last Friday, Santana was stunned at home by Mar Vista, 27-13, despite a pair of field goals from senior COLTON SNIPES.

Santana quarterback SEAN IVERSON is 20-of-27 with six touchdowns and no interceptions since moving into the quarterback position out of necessity.

He connected with JACOB PETERSON for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead against the Mariners.

However, Mar Vista outgained Santana by over 200 yards by the end of the evening.

Senior CAMERON WILSON leads the team with 4 1/2 of Santana’s 12 sacks.

The Matadors, who had a bye last week, were last seen getting tossed around by the Imperial Tigers, 51-19.

Mount Miguel’s J.D. LAVERDIERE is averaging over 300 yards passing per game. Senior ERIC GRAHAM leads the receiving corps with four touchdowns.

The Matadors lead the series 29-13-1, winning the last seven. However, the teams have split the last 18 meetings.

Mount Miguel won at home last year, but the Sultans are expected to turn it around… SANTANA, 31-28.


VALHALLA (0-5) at GROSSMONT (1-4) – The Grossmont Foothillers and Valhalla Norsemen have split the last 26 meetings in this series, although Grossmont has won 4-of-last-5 meetings.

The long-time combatants meet in a Grossmont Hills opener at Lt. Adams Field.

Since Valhalla opened, these teams have met every year except 2005-06. After early domination by the Foothillers, Grossmont now leads the series, 24-17-1,

The Foothillers are certain to get back on track here and try to get healthy in a game they are expected to win with ease.

Grossmont has taken on all comers and now begin the task of repairing its record after being challenged by the county’s sixth-toughest schedule to-date.

Powerful Poway upset the Hillers last Friday, although quarterback JAIME ODOM passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns.

Grossmont’s ROBERT TUCKER rushed for a touchdown in the loss.

Valhalla should look to try and replicate the Titan ground game with junior KEGAN BAKER. Grossmont was vulnerable versus the run last Friday.

The Foothillers have plenty of season left… GROSSMONT, 41-7. 


WEST HILLS (4-1) at EL CAJON VALLEY (0-5) – Wolf Pack senior quarterback JORDIN YOUNG certainly was able to perform well last Friday after recovering from an injured wrist, as he rushed for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss at home to El Capitan.

West Hills’ JACK BROWNING also scored last week, although it was on a touchdown run and not by his trusty boot.

El Cajon Valley senior BRANDON ROBINSON and sophomore CLARENCE JOHNSON recorded interceptions last week against Sweetwater.

This has been a one-sided series, with the Wolf Pack leading 20-2-1… WEST HILLS, 42-7.


HILLTOP (1-5) at MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (3-2)  The Hilltop Lancers will make the 50-plus mile drive to Pine Valley.

When they get there, they’ll want to be on the lookout for Mountain Empire sophomore MARCUS SMITH.

Smith returned an interception for a 68-yard touchdown two weeks ago, then later had a 31-yard touchdown reception, although the Coronado Islanders won the big Division V showdown with the RedHawks at RedHawk Stadium.

The game was tied in the fourth quarter at 14-all before Coronado assumed the lead.

The RedHawks have had an extra week to stew on the loss following their bye week.

Mountain Empire senior CHARLIE SALLEE has three sacks and three forced fumbles, including two recoveries, this season.

Hilltop goes to the air with quarterback JOEY CASTILLO, who has over 1,200 yards already this season.

The RedHawks are ranked higher than the Lancers, but this one could be close… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 24-23.

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