East County Sports


Members of the Christian High Patriots following a win.




By Ramon Scott



SAN DIEGO – The Christian High football program has won ten San Diego Section football championships rising through the ranks in the multi-division era.

Still, Friday night’s anticipated showdown with the Cathedral Catholic Dons is a milestone game for the Patriots and their veteran coaching staff.

Christian, which has never been rated higher in the power-ranking era, has never faced an opponent ranked as high as the Dons.

While Cathedral (6-1)  is unlikely to take the undefeated Patriots lightly, the Christian High team represents another tough test in a schedule lined with top-notch opponents, including several from its very own Western League.

The Patriots are ranked 11th in the polls and tenth in the section power ratings, while the Dons are rated 17th in the state, second in the local poll and No. 1 in the section in the official computer rankings.

This will be the first-ever meeting between these Christians and Catholics. The teams have one loss combined – Cathedral’s season-opening defeat at now-fourth-ranked La Costa Canyon.

The Dons are outscoring opponents by at least 23 points-per-game, while the Patriots have been beating their foes by more than 16 points-per-outing, but computers would have you believe that Cathedral, especially at Manchester Stadium, will beat Christian by three touchdowns or more.

Could the Dons overlook the Pats?

Christian High senior quarterback OWEN EASLEY has thrown for 11 touchdowns and rushed for 11 touchdowns and senior ALEX GONZALEZ gets the ball from him in several different ways.

But Christian also has a workhorse running back in senior JAVIER JIMENEZ, who has 600 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

It will be up to the Patriots’ senior-laden defense to make sure the offense isn’t in a scoring match. It will be a tall, or rather, large order, going up against Cathedral Catholic’s mammoth offensive line.

Patriot senior defenders GARRETT ROSENTHAL, CODY BOSTIAN, BRYCE RIEPL, and JUSTIN ROEHL are not short of experience.

No matter the result, this is a bit of a culmination for the Christian High football program… CATHEDRAL CATHOLIC, 38-24.


GROSSMONT (2-5, 1-1 GHL) at HELIX (4-3, 2-0 GHL) – The last time these two teams had this many losses combined when they’ve faced one another was in 1974 when Grossmont was 4-3-1 and Helix was 3-5 heading into the season finale.

While Helix has owned the series for the last two decades (21-straight wins overall), in some seasons, the Foothillers have come in with an aura of contention against the favored Highlanders, but the anticipation for this year’s renewal has dropped somewhat.

Third-ranked Helix is fourth in the Open Division playoff picture, but the Highlanders still have league business at hand.

The Highlanders had three defensive touchdowns last week against Valhalla as JADEN BROWN returned fumble on a backward pass for a touchdown, while JOHN CARROLL and XAVIER HAMLETT had pick-six TDs It was the second in as many weeks for Hamlett.

The Homecoming gathering also got a glimpse of the future when freshman CHRIS WASHINGTON touched the ball for the first time in a varsity game and returned a kickoff 93 yards.

The Foothillers are experiencing some big-time variance in the turnover department right now. One of the county’s best in the turnover ratio category over the last two seasons, Grossmont is losing the takeaway battle this season considerably.

There is little need for frustration on the Hiller side. They need to continue to work against their tough, tough schedule in order to have a competitive fire for the long road of the Division I playoffs.

SKIP WALTOWER and DESMOND CARTER combined for 11 catches and a pair of touchdowns last week from junior quarterback JAIME ODOM against Granite Hills.

Grossmont’s latest weapon on defense is no secret. Junior JAMES BOND had two sacks and nine tackles last week and was definitely noticed by the Eagles. Junior CHRIS ALBA had 11 total tackles for Grossmont.

Grossmont last beat Helix in 1991, a now-infamous 28-14 win guided by Foothiller skipper TOM KARLO at quarterback. The Foothillers, under coach JUDD HULBERT, were considered to be no less than a favorite on that night… HELIX, 42-14.


EL CAPITAN (2-5, 0-2 GHL) at No. 10 GRANITE HILLS (7-0, 2-0 GHL) – Undefeated Granite Hills won a huge road game for the second-straight week but somehow dropped a spot in the county media poll.

Carlsbad defeated 13th-ranked Oceanside last week, 23-21, while the Eagles beat Grossmont, 44-20, but pollsters swapped the teams in the rankings.

The Eagles from CIF Division II, much like Christian in Division III, has a ranking among the top teams in the county.

Granite Hills senior CRIS OSTRENG is officially having a phenomenal season after he passed for 235 yards and three touchdowns and ran for three more scores against the Foothillers on Friday night. 

Ostreng has over 1,600 yards of total offense now with 11 TD passes and nine rushing touchdowns.

The Granite Hills defense has 21 takeaways this season, including five last week against Grossmont.

Eagle linebacker NOAH MEDEIROS blew up a Hiller reverse play in the backfield and won the ball as a back tried to get rid of it. The senior grabbed the ball in mid-air and almost ran it in for a touchdown.

Sophomore MATTHEW KEELEY was the latest to join the Eagle sack parade with a pair of tackles on the quarterback in the win.

Granite Hills won the matchup last season with El Capitan, 28-7, at Valley Stadium, rushing for nearly 400 yards.

The Eagles’ secondary had three interceptions on that night, and all three players – GIDEON ALABA, JACK SIEGFRIED and ETHEN BISHOP – will be roaming the secondary on Friday night.

The Vaqueros put up 21 points on the board against Steele Canyon last week behind 222 yards and three touchdowns by WICK HAUSER. 

Two of the scores were to YAPHET YOKLEY, who had eight catches for 160 yards and was strong again on his kick returns. Yokley has been a bit of a unheralded star in Lakeside this season.

Sophomore TAYLOR GRASMICK had a touchdown reception, as well.

Truly one of the closest series in all of the East County rivalries, Granite leads the series, 27-23.

Since the series resumed in 2011, El Cap leads, 4-3, but over the last 22, it’s 11-11 and over the last 28, it’s 14-14 (since 1982)… GRANITE HILLS 42-17.


MONTE VISTA (6-1, 1-0 GVL) at SANTANA (4-4, 0-2 GVL) – Senior JAHMON MCCLENDON moved into fourth all-time on the section rushing list last week in a 35-14 win against Mount Miguel.

McClendon, who had four touchdowns against the Matadors, needs more than 1,000 yards to move into third on the section list.

Monte Vista pulled away in the second half by slowing the Mount Miguel passing attack. Senior E.J. HENDERSON returned to the field for Monte Vista and recorded an interception in the second half.

The Monarchs were tied with their Spring Valley rival at halftime. Senior LEVI ELSHADDAI also scored for Monte Vista.

Last week, the Sultans won the yardage and time of possession battle against West Hills in an attempt to wrestle away the Dale Cup out of the Pack’s paws but kept ending up short of putting points on the board in a 21-11 loss.

Santana sophomore quarterback DREW TEMPLE was 11-for-12 for over 200 yards last week, but a return to action could be close for brother, NATHAN, who had a promising start to the season before being sidelined with a shoulder injury following a hit.

JARED FORSTER led the Sultans last week with five receptions for 74 yards.

The Sultans have played the Monarchs tough of late. Last year Monte Vista won just 24-17 and in 2016 Santana won twice, including a semifinal playoff game, 38-35.

Last season, the Monarchs led by just three late in the third quarter, but McClendon answered with his second TD run of the night, then sealed the game with an interception.

Monarch kicker JASON HERNANDEZ booted a 40-yarder in that one, while COLTON SNIPES caught a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Sultans. Snipes also booted a field goal last week.

Monte Vista leads this series all-time but has just a 6-5 edge in the 21st Century… MONTE VISTA, 38-24.

STEELE CANYON (5-2, 1-1) at VALHALLA (0-7, 0-2) – Last season, the Cougars snapped a three-game losing streak in the battle for the Jamacha Helmet with a 45-0 win on the road.

KENNETH WATSON, now a senior, scored a rushing touchdown in that one, while IAN MILLER, also now a senior, had an interception for the Cougars.

Steele Canyon quarterback NATHAN BARNETT continues to have observers talking after rushing for another pair of scores last week and throwing a 54-yard touchdown pass to VALON MARTINEZ.

The Cougars put up 55 points last week in the win and are averaging 37 points per game right now.

Watson and WESLEY NEELEY both scored two touchdowns in the win and CHRIS CARTER added a kickoff return for a touchdown for SC.

Steele Canyon got interceptions from juniors ANTOINE WALKER and THOMAS MAX NYUMAH and sacks from The Cougars seniors BILLY TELLOUS, and SPENCER O’GORMAN.

Junior LUIS ALVARADO led the Steele defense with nine tackles, including four solo stops.

For Valhalla,  EIJAHWAN PHILIPS scored against Helix last week, while sophomore quarterback LUKE PILLSBURY found a regular connection with KEGAN BAKER.

Senior KIARE WORTHY had another big kickoff return in the contest, racing 60 yards to the right sideline before getting taken down. He is making long returns part of his weekly routine.

The Norsemen lead the series 9-7-1 and have beaten Steele Canyon three-straight times at home… STEELE CANYON, 42-10.


ESCONDIDO (3-4) at WEST HILLS (6-1) – West Hills retained the Mayor’s Cup and it was an emotion-filled win as the Wolf Pack family thought about the late Jeff Armstrong a week after his sudden passing.

It wasn’t an upset, but the local TV prep show awarded the weekly “Upset of the Week” boat trip around the bay to the Pack to honor the victory after such a tough week.

Now, just days later, here comes Homecoming in West Santee against the non-league Cougars, who are better than their record suggests, according to the ratings. These teams are meeting for the first time.

And West Hills’ current standing in Division III means the team can’t afford a loss to a club sitting just outside the playoff cut line. Despite their 6-1 record, the Pack has played the least-challenging schedule in D3.

Senior JORDIN YOUNG passed for three touchdowns, as JACK BROWNING had a 26-yard catch and KOLE KLINGERMAN hauled in a 67-yarder early in the fourth quarter against the stubborn cross-town rival Sultans.

West Hills’ offensive line of JOSH ALAGATA, NATHAN JONES, ALEX LEGGATE, MARTIN DAILY, and GIANNI GRIMM had the push on the Santana defense, while defenders JAKE MAHEU and HUNTER GAUTHIER made the Pack feel relatively comfortable despite the close margin.

Escondido, from the Valley League, features quarterback Robert Ramos, along with receivers Tajae Brooks and Victor Seneres, and running back Matt Malone.

The Cougars are looking to surpass last year’s win total with a win… WEST HILLS, 27-20.

EL CAJON VALLEY (0-8, 0-1) at MOUNT MIGUEL (2-5, 1-1) – The Mount Miguel Matadors will be looking for their second Valley League win when they host the Braves.

Sophomore quarterback J.D. LAVERDIERE passed for two touchdowns in the first half last week as the Matadors were tied with Monte Vista at halftime.

Laverdiere finished with 251 yards passing and now has over 2,000 yards this season. Senior ERIK GRAHAM had nine receptions and two touchdowns.

Last Friday, the Braves had some young talent on display during Homecoming night in sophomores DAMARIUS HYDE and CLARENCE JOHNSON.

Hyde has power and speed when rushing with the football, while Johnson has breakaway talent, including as a dangerous kickoff return man.

Johnson, an elementary school buddy of Laverdiere’s, also has two interceptions this season.

El Cajon senior DARREL DAVIS  had an interception and also caught a pass on a final scoring drive last week against Castle Park. Senior BRANDON ROBINSON scored on a screen pass from senior quarterback ATLANTAS EIDEJUS.

The Matadors have won seven straight and 24-of-25 in the series to take an all-time lead of 36-5-1.

Mount Miguel could fight its way into the playoffs by winning its last three games… MOUNT MIGUEL 48-7.

HOLTVILLE (6-1) at MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (4-3) – It’s Holtville-week at Mountain Empire High School.

Last year, Holtville won, 14-10, by dominating the time of possession, but GABE HYDORN passed for 187 yards in the game and DALLAS PRINCE had six receptions.

The RedHawks had five sacks and two interceptions even though Holtville is primarily a running team.

This year, the Vikings feature Jose Devous who has nearly 700 yards and 12 touchdowns

The teams have split the last ten meetings, but since World War 2, Holtville leads 36-21-1 (since 1946)… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 18-17.

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