East County Sports


Granite Hills' Gideon Alaba (1) and Chris Ostreng. / photo by Scott Barnhill - CS Pro Photo




By Ramon Scott 



EL CAJON – East County’s prep football teams and fans made it through last Friday night’s unprecedented mid-game thunderstorms without incident.

No one was struck by lightning and the teams weren’t too disrespected by the outcome of the games, most of which, had to be decided after just one half of play.

Monte Vista coach RON HAMAMOTO said he had never experienced a weather-shortened result in 33 years of Friday Night Lights.

For the record, all games were declared finals, including Granite Hills’ 28-14 win over El Capitan, which was probably the most debated result. A few local games were played to a conclusion.

A handful of county games played to a conclusion on Saturday or Monday, but Grossmont Conference athletics president BRIAN WILBUR said that the Eagles and Vaqueros couldn’t logistically complete the game with the schedule ahead.

El Capitan is scheduled to have Homecoming this Saturday while the Eagles’ stadium is rented out to Christian High on Saturday night. The Grossmont Conference was going to require the teams to play on Saturday and not an evening earlier.

Meanwhile, it was also Granite Hills’ mission to get ready for the local Game of the Year on Friday night.

No. 3 HELIX (5-3, 3-0) at No. 8 GRANITE HILLS (8-0, 3-0) – Two of the county’s top teams will meet to likely decide the outright Grossmont Hills League championship on Friday night and for sure no less than a share of the banner.

Undefeated Granite Hills, at home, winners of the Grossmont Valley League each of the last three seasons, against the immovable Grossmont Conference object in the third-ranked Helix Highlanders, who come in on a four-game win streak.

The game can be heard on 97.3 FM The Fan.

Granite Hills’ KEYVON MARTIN was instrumental in the first half for the Eagles in the rain-shortened victory.

On a team where several players have made big plays in this special season, Martin finally got his turn, turning in a 69-yard run and a pair of touchdowns in the first half against El Capitan.

The Eagles’ program, with an already robust history, is seemingly at an all-time peak, on the brink of its biggest season in more than 30 years. And they’ve arrived on a championship stage when several intangible and emotional factors could swing the dial to the home side for a night.

Granite Hills senior quarterback CRIS OSTRENG is a man in a hurry to get his team into the end zone. His quick decision making is allowing for several offensive players to stand out in crucial moments.

Standing in Granite’s way to history is senior all-everything linebacker MICHAEL SHAWCROFT and the Helix Highlanders.

Helix has actually slipped into fifth place in the power rankings, as predicted, behind Eastlake, and out of the Open Division playoff setting for now.

And given a major upset elsewhere in the dwindling mix, the Highlanders are unlikely to find a formula to get back in. The Scotties are playing under the assumption that nothing less than dominating victories can move them back into the Final Four.

FATTO NOA, Helix’s great junior back, is the top offensive threat on the field, but watch out for Scottie receivers CHRIS RIVERA and KAMRYN BROWN, who have been overlooked because of the one-sided nature of a few of the team’s wins.

The Eagles looked to be trying to keep the parts moving heading into this season on what has been one of the area’s top defensive units for many years.

But the group has turned out to be every bit as good, if not better, than previous editions with stars NOAH MEDEIROS and ETHAN BISHOP, but the complete unit has 17 total sacks shared by 13 different defenders and has 24 takeaways in the eight games.

These guys are not some overnight sensation. The Eagle program is having a dominant season as all three levels. Granite ended a decades-long losing streak to Helix in freshman ball on Thursday night and the undefeated junior varsity faces the Highlanders in the big game of the season before the main bout of the evening.

Granite Hills will still be looking to buck the trend of a dominant series (Helix leads 43-11-2) in favor of the Highlanders, who have won six straight meetings, including 12-of-13 this century and 23-of-25 since a tie in 1988… HELIX, 24-20.


GROSSMONT (2-6, 1-2) at STEELE CANYON (6-2, 2-1) – The Cougars and Foothillers have played some wild and memorable games over the last several years, but Grossmont has won the last two meetings by a combined score of 92-28.

The Foothillers rushed for over 200 yards and passed for over 200 yards in last year’s game as Grossmont rushed for six touchdowns and intercepted three passes.

However, this season, the Hillers are expected to need to have to find a formula to make a game of it Friday night at Steele Canyon.

The Cougars are 2-1 in the Grossmont Hills League and remain alive for a share of the league title, while the Foothillers are still looking for a signature win this season.

Cougar quarterback NATHAN BARNETT, known for running the ball into the end zone, completed a pair of touchdown passes in the Cougars shortened win over Valhalla last Friday night.

MATTHEW MCGRANE found the scoresheet for Steele, catching a 5-yard score and CHRIS CARTER, who’s been hot, had a 55-yarder.

SKIP WALTOWER stood out for the Foothillers against Helix with four catches before halftime.

This has been a pretty tight series, as the Cougars lead 9-8. Some would say those last two years of Grossmont beat downs were in revenge for the two come-from-way-behind wins, including once in the playoffs, back in 2015.

Despite opposite records, these two teams are only separated by three spots in the Division I playoff standings… STEELE CANYON, 34-21.

MOUNT MIGUEL (3-5, 2-1) at WEST HILLS (7-1, 2-0) – The Wolf Pack can’t afford a letdown in advance of the anticipated season-finale to decide the Grossmont Valley League title next week, after all, this is nothing less than a championship-impacting football game on Friday night.

Beyond that, West Hills also can’t afford to lose to the Matadors in the Division III playoff rankings.

Meanwhile, this game and next week’s finale against Del Norte are big games if Mount Miguel wants to fight its way into the postseason. Not to mention, a win here keeps the Matadors’ alive for a share of the banner.

Senior JORDIN YOUNG accounted for nearly 200 yards last week and junior JAKE MAHEU rushed for a touchdown as the Wolf Pack won on Homecoming over Escondido, which resumed after a 50-minute delay at the end of the third quarter.

The Matadors finished a complete game against visiting El Cajon Valley last Friday.

J.D. LAVERDIERE passed for four touchdowns to four different receivers, including senior JADD MALLARD, who caught a 35-yard touchdown reception and also had a 65-yard pick-six.

Matador sophomore MIKEY AVANT had six receptions and a score.

The Wolf Pack, over the last two seasons, have won a pair of close games with the Matadors, 23-20 last year, and 29-28, in 2016.

Young passed for two touchdowns and ran for another in last year’s game and Maheu ran for over 50 yards as the Wolf Pack won at Mount Miguel for the first time since 2005 with a last-second field goal

JAHEIM ALLEN-POMPEY caught three passes, including a touchdown in the tight game that came down to the wire. LARRY YZAGUIRRE, ULICES MONJE and ERIK GRAHAM had nice games defensively in that one for the experienced Matadors.

West Hills leads the all-time series 13-7, including 7 of the last 10 meetings… WEST HILLS, 28-14.

VALHALLA (0-8, 0-3) at EL CAPITAN (2-6, 0-3) – These teams are looking for their first Grossmont Hills League win of the season.

The game between the Vaqueros and the Eagles was one of the most competitive of the shortened games last Friday and it’s understandable why the teams went to great lengths to discuss the possibility of resuming the contest.

Despite trailing host Granite by two scores, El Capitan had some big plays and was in the game.

El Capitan got on the scoreboard first with an 88-yard interception return by AUSTIN BARKER late in the first quarter, then junior quarterback WICK HAUSER hit YAPHET YOKLEY on a 76-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-14 in favor of the visitors.

Hauser had 180 yards in the first half, including four catches and 120 yards by Yokley.

El Capitan is certainly in contention for a playoff spot, in fact, the Vaqueros could host a first-round game.

Valhalla’s KIARE WORTHY was on the highlight reel again last week, this time for a forcing and recovering a fumble as a Cougar was nearing the goal line. The Norsemen trailed, 21-0, against Steele Canyon, and the game was called after the weather delay.

El Cap leads the all-time series, 22-17-1, but Valhalla leads this century, 8-6… EL CAPITAN, 42-20.

EL CAJON VALLEY (0-9, 0-2) at MONTE VISTA (7-1, 2-0) – Monte Vista senior running back JAHMON MCCLENDON had one of his typical nights on Friday – except all of his five touchdowns and 329 yards rushing came in just the first half – before a thunderstorm ended the Monarchs’ 35-0 win over Santana after the first half.

Sophomore defensive back DARREN BARKINS had an interception and seniors JACK WALKER and BLAKE SCHMIDT recorded sacks. Then, LOGAN SCHMIDT had a quarterback hit, forcing a fumble and a recovery, which resulted in another McClendon touchdown run.

Sophomore CLARENCE JOHNSON led the El Cajon Valley offense last week with a couple of nice catches from senior quarterback ATLANTAS EIDEJUS. Johnson had over 75 yards of all-purpose yards.

Sophomore DAMARIUS HYDE had five tackles and a sack, while senior DARREL DAVIS had an interception for the Braves.

Monte Vista leads the all-time series, 27-16-1, but these teams know the score… MONTE VISTA, 49-0.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (5-3, 1-0) at CALIPATRIA (4-5, 0-1) – Mountain Empire sophomore MARCUS SMITH had a long scoop-on-score touchdown on a botched field goal attempt, then caught the game-winning 30-yard touchdown pass with under 30 seconds remaining from GABRIEL HYDORN, lifting the RedHawks to a dramatic 21-14 win over rival Holtville in the biggest game of the season last Friday night.

Hydorn also threw a TD pass to Marquis Davis as the game was tied 7-all at halftime.

The big play was a 40-yard pass to DALLAS PRINCE to take the RedHawks to the Viking 30. Then Hydorn hit Smith what a moment.

The win gives RedHawks the inside track to the league championship, but despite the win, the Vikings remained ahead of Mountain Empire in the Division V rankings.

Calipatria came to Pine Valley late last season and was handed a 31-0 loss, as Prince had six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown reception, as well as, a 77-yard interception return.

The RedHawks can’t afford a road letdown after the huge win over H-town… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 28-21.


LA JOLLA (3-5, 1-1) at CHRISTIAN (7-1, 2-0) – The Patriots will host the Vikings on Saturday night at Valley Stadium in an important Eastern League contest.

La Jolla was awarded an upset victory over University City last Friday after leading 17-0 when the game was called off due to the storm. The win put them back into the title picture for the time being.

The Patriots, meanwhile, were handed an awkward 21-0 defeat in the anticipated matchup at Cathedral Catholic last Friday night.

The teams only played a quarter and a half, which the Christian brass figured would go down as a no-contest, but the Patriots later accepted a defeat, which turned out to be their first of the season.

La Jolla averages less than 2.5 yards per rush. The Patriots’ JAVIER JIMENEZ averages more than three times that per attempt.

The Patriots shouldn’t feel pressured into rushing down the field. Their senior-laden defense should rule against these Vikes.

The Vikings lead the series 7-2, but the Patriots won the game that really counted, taking a 42-28 decision in the 2014 CIF quarterfinals.

La Jolla won the series debut in 1984, but the Pats won in 1985… CHRISTIAN, 34-7.

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