East County Sports


Helix senior quarterback DANIEL AMON. / photo by Country Boi Photography




By Ramon Scott 



CHULA VISTA – One way or another, or with one team or the other, DANIEL AMON was going to end up on the football field Friday night at Eastlake High School

Amon, a senior quarterback for the Highlanders, will face his old team, the Eastlake Titans, in the San Diego CIF Division I semifinals tonight at 7.

Helix (7-4), the No. 3 seed will travel to face the one-loss Titans with a berth to the division championship game on the line.

Amon passed for over 1,500 yards and had 16 touchdown passes last year before coming over to the La Mesa charter school.

This season, sharing time at quarterback as the primary passer with junior DELSHAWN TRAYLOR, Amon has passed for a little more than half that total from last season in the Scotties’ run-heavy offense, but he averages over 18 yards per completion.

Meanwhile, over at Eastlake (10-1), sophomore quarterback Richard Colmenero was able to get a jump start on his promising prep career, passing for nearly 2,000 yards and throwing 21 touchdowns.

Helix junior running back FATTO NOA has grown up before our eyes this season.

While looking more like the younger brother that he was during his first two seasons on the varsity, Noa looks more like “the man” now.

Last week, the back had 325 yards and four touchdowns… in the first quarter, as the Highlanders scored on their first nine possessions to brush off their own older brother, the Grossmont Foothillers, 68-7. Noa had scores of 75 and 69 yards.

Traylor, meanwhile, added two touchdown runs, as well. The duo has combined to account for 35 touchdowns this season, including three TD passes by Traylor, who has a high passer rating in his limited attempts.

Helix has to look to keep Eastlake star linebacker Josh McCurty occupied. This could mean some action for Highlanders tight end MICHAEL SHAWCROFT.

Shawcroft only has five receptions on the season, but taking McCurty away from the play could extend Noa’s runs into the Titans’ reputable defense.

The Titans have a top receiver in Darius De Los Reyes but the Highlanders may have the secondary to combat Eastlake’s aerial game.

Traylor has four of Helix’s 16 interceptions this season, while senior JACOB RAY has three picks.

In their first three losses, the Highlanders were underdogs, but that narrative changed when they lost the season finale at home to Steele Canyon, creating a three-way championship in the Grossmont Hills League.

Eastlake, winners of ten straight games, played a Grossmont Conference schedule of its own this campaign, defeating Grossmont, El Capitan and Valhalla in impressive fashion.

The winner will face the winner of the other semifinal between Mission Hills and St. Augustine.

Nothing short of Helix’s top game will be required to win this tough road game… HELIX, 28-27.



(5) LINCOLN (8-4) at (1) GRANITE HILLS (10-1) – The Granite Hills Eagles don’t want to lose this opportunity to bring home their first CIF football championship.

Just two wins away from a section division title, head coach KELLAN COBBS doesn’t mind the matchup with the Hornets, who have lost just twice on the field this season.

“We’ve got the home field advantage and hopefully we’re able to feed off our crowd,” Granite Hills coach KELLEN COBBS said following last week’s 27-14 San Diego Section Division II quarterfinal win over Ramona. “I think we match up better with Lincoln than we did with (Ramona).”

The Eagles were without their top two running backs in last week’s win over the Bulldogs, but a quick 13-0 start proved to be the difference. Granite Hills got off to an early 13-0 lead and senior quarterback CRIS OSTRENG finished with 375 yards of total offense.

Granite Hills junior ANTHONY NEELY had a rushing touchdown on his first carry of the season and JAMES JOHNSON, who had seven receptions in the contest, caught a 50-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs in an early hold.

Now, Lincoln, which made a lot of noise early in passing league season and was an early entry in the media poll come into Valley Stadium getting plenty of support for its chances from the local prep football media.

The Hornets certainly have the top recruit on the field in senior Don Chapman.

The University of Colorado-bound star is one of the county’s top defensive backs and a major threat in the kick return game, taking a kickoff back for a 90-yard score last week in a revenge quarterfinal win over Point Loma, 35-21, which spoiled the Hornets’ homecoming back on Oct. 12.

However, Raymond Spriggs Jr. and unheralded 1,000-yard back Carlito Nolthalf are top offensive threats. That pair has accounted for 30 touchdowns, passing and rushing combined.

The Hornets also have a pair of receivers with at least ten touchdowns this season in Peanut Monroe and Keyshawn Smith.

Lincoln’s three-game winning streak over Madison, Westview and the Pointers has the team brimming with confidence.

“They’ve got some great athletes but don’t think they are more athletic than Steele Canyon, Helix or Grossmont,” Cobbs said. “I don’t know if they are as polished offensively as the teams in our league.”

Granite Hills’ JUWAN DENNIS and ZOSEPH CUERO had sacks last week, while seniors BRYCE CHRISTIAN and AARON MACHADO came up with interceptions.

Junior ETHEN BISHOP led the Eagles with 10 tackles against the ‘Dawgs.

One player who stepped up against Ramona was junior JUNI HARRIS, who may be the Eagles’ most talented football player. Harris played both ways in the contest, moving into the injury-riddled offensive backfield.

The winner will clash with the Valley Center-Mira Mesa survivor on  Nov. 23 at 7 at Southwestern College’s DeVore Stadium. Will the Eagles get their title chance? … GRANITE HILLS, 34-32.



(5) MORSE (7-4) vs. (1) CHRISTIAN (10-1) (at El Cajon Valley High)The Patriots can make fond memories of their stay at the Braves’ stadium if they can defeat the visiting Morse Tigers in the San Diego CIF Division III semifinals.

Christian High is having to call Priest Field home for a second-straight week but the Patriots don’t mind following the good karma off of last week’s last-minute win over University City in one of the games-of-the-year for sure.

Patriot senior BRYCE RIEPL will never forget his career moment, catching a touchdown pass from senior teammate OWEN EASLEY while falling on his backside in the back of the end zone with 35 seconds remaining, tying the game.

Senior GARRETT ROSENTHAL, known for his standout work on the defensive line, got a second chance at the PAT following a running into the kicker penalty and booted home the g0-ahead point setting up an interesting Eastern League rematch with the visitors.

The Patriots were having are sorts of difficulties on offense with penalties and turnovers during the regular season meeting at Morse, but thankfully, the defense played one of its best games of the season.

Morse scored a touchdown on the game’s first possession after a line-drive kick off a Christian up-man was recovered by the Tigers.

The score remained 8-0 until seven minutes remained in the contest.

The Patriots’ JUSTIN ROEHL got the ball rolling with an interception to set up a 2-yard touchdown run from Easley.

After a defensive stop, senior JAVIER JIMENEZ broke off a run from midfield down to the 5 with under four minutes to go in the game.

Easley soon scored his second touchdown with another keeper to take a six-point lead.

The defense, led that night by ALEX MARKOWICZ, NATHAN MATTAZARO and CODY BOSTIAN, capped it off with a sack on the Tigers’ last-ditch drive.

The Tigers also had three interceptions on the night against the Pats.

“We can’t turn the ball over against a good team,” Grossmont offensive coordinator DAVID BEEZER said following that game.

Seniors ALEX GONZALEZ and Jimenez both scored a pair of touchdowns last week against UC.

Morse senior Shamar Martin is a two-way star headed for UCLA as a defensive back.

Martin and Isaiah Thompson make up a potent backfield combination.

The Tigers have playoff wins over Hilltop, 42-14, and Brawley, 22-14, last week. The winner will face the victor of the Santa Fe Christian at Central contest.

The Patriots have won seven straight games over Morse… CHRISTIAN, 21-14.


(5) SANTANA (7-5) at (1) SAN DIEGO (8-2) – Talk about adaptability.

Two weeks ago, the Sultans won in the San Diego Section Division IV playoffs with a section-record setting score of 76-55 over La Jolla Country Day.

Then they turned around last week in the quarterfinals and gutted out a 23-6 road win at Mar Vista for a three-game winning streak.

Santana quarterback NATHAN TEMPLE returned from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a majority of the regular season and guided the Sultans to those playoff wins.

Last week, Santana junior RANDY SMITH had five catches for 120 yards and senior SEAN IVERSON is back outside where he belongs, as he added four receptions from Temple.

Mar Vista took an early 6-0 lead, but the Sultans’ defense got a chance to stand out against the Mariners as LUKE SIMINEK, NATHAN HUGHES and AUSTIN SLAFF paced the ‘D’.

Santana sophomore JARED FORSTER added an interception and COLTON SNIPES led the defense with six solo tackles whie also booting a 34-yard field goal.

Senior CHAZ BAKER had a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown with 3:51 to go in the second quarter for a 14-6 lead.

The Cavers’ have won eight-straight games and are favored to advance to the championship game.

San Diego High senior Raiden Hunter has 15 touchdowns on the ground this season, while sophomore Mo Jackson has reached the end zone 11 times.

Cavers quarterback Quinn O’Connor has thrown for 14 touchdowns and teammate Jayden Wickware is a highly-recognized talent.

San Diego or Santana will meet the Serra-Kearny winner in the division title game at Southwestern College.

The Sultans played for the section Division IV title just two years ago. Santana defeated the Cavers during that year, 42-0, during the regular season.

The winner gets the SERRA-KEARNY winner in the CIF Division IV championship game.

The Cavers are ready for their time in the spotlight and are considerable favorites over the Sultans… SAN DIEGO, 38-31.

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