East County Sports

Cougars can’t hide elite county talent

Steele Canyon practices under the eye of head coach Scott Longerbone on Wednesday.




Head Coach: Scott Longerbone (8th year, 47-36)


Last Season: 9-3 (Lost to eventual section champ St. Augustine in SDS-CIF Division I semifinals) / 4-1 (T-1st Grossmont Hills League)


2018: The Cougars won at Helix, 22-21, in the regular-season finale to earn their share of the league championship, for their first at Steele Canyon in 13 years. A loss at Granite Hills prevented SC from an outright title. After a season-opening wakeup call loss at Carlsbad, the Cougars won four straight, then put together a five-game winning streak after the loss to the Eagles. Four players who were named to the All-Grossmont Hills first team return in 2019, including All-East County first teamers CHANCE JOHNSON, a strong safety, and small division recruit CAMERON EWERT, a linebacker.

OUTLOOK: Steele Canyon is a certain top ten team to open the season and can be considered a contender for the Open Division playoffs. The Cougars have top defensive standouts in linebackers Ewert and COLTON GUERRERO, and defensive backs Johnson and ANTOINE WALKER lead possibly the county’s best secondary. Despite losing two of the league’s best defenders to graduation, most of the team’s defense returns from last season. The Cougars have a pair of quarterbacks with little to no varsity experience, but both have a different set of positive intangibles. However, the Cougs are going to be tough to stop on the ground, anyway, with explosive junior WESLEY NEELY III, who was second team All-East County, along with slotback Johnson. Add two-way senior JUNIOR AKINTUNDE, who is starting to receive small division offers, along with senior receiver CHRIS CARTER, and this team may have more returning talent in terms of the number of players than any team in the East County. DARRIN ROLDAN is a returning all-leaguer on the offensive line who is moving over from center, and is joined by senior ULOLO SAMUATA.

SCHEDULE: The Cougars play several familiar opponents but open with a new test at home against Eastlake, a team which likely rates very closely with Steele. Three-straight road contests against Madison (home opponent from 2017), and 2018 rematches Bonita Vista and Otay Ranch and broken up with the bye week in Week 3. Facing Mira Mesa at home is the final non-league game. The Cougars face GHL contenders Granite Hills and Grossmont on the road, but get the Highlanders at home.  The Jamacha Helmet game against Valhalla will be at home on Oct. 18.

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