East County Sports

Sultans’ first step comes with Cup

Santana players (L to R) Luke Simenek, Jayce Lynch, Adrian King, Andrew Golembiewski and Michael Richter following last week's win.




By Ramon Scott



SANTEE – The Santana Sultans have caught the attention of prep football fans throughout the county.

As one of four remaining unbeaten teams in the San Diego Section, the Sultans have captured their fair share of accolades and achievements thus far, but supposedly, the best is yet to come.

Santana may be the favorite to win the Grossmont Valley League and even the section Division IV title, but first things first.

The West Hills Wolf Pack still hold the first key to the Sultans’ ultimate success, holding possession of the Santee Mayor’s Cup for the last seven years.

West Hills has all but dismissed crosstown neighbor Santana as a football rival over the last several years.

Publicly and privately, previous members of the Wolf Pack over the last decade have talked about El Capitan as the school’s natural new rival, especially since expansion school West Hills, which opened in 1989, has dominated the Santee series all-time, 22-8.

While a team is never certain of a switch of power between rival programs until they meet on the field, the metrics will show that the scale will be decidedly tipped to the purple and gold side when the teams meet in a Grossmont Valley League game at Community Stadium this Friday night at 7.

And whether it be noise or the game’s actual storyline, the underdog role might be just what the Wolf Pack need in order to stun the 14th-ranked Sultans.

Santana dismissed the team expected to be the top challenger last Friday night, Mount Miguel, in decisive fashion, 56-21.

And now, the Pack’s GVL-opening 27-0 win at El Cajon Valley last week puts West Hills (4-2, 1-0 GVL) in a championship-impacting game against a team that it basically has dismissed as just another team for much of the three decades the schools have co-existed.

The Wolf Pack can draw on their confidence in dominating Santana over those last seven years, including last year’s 21-11 home win, but they will have to try to figure out what no other team has against Santana (7-0, 1-0 GVL).

Kole Klingerman caught two touchdown passes to lead West Hills over the Braves, who were hosting their Homecoming. Klingerman scored on a 67-yard touchdown reception in last year’s win over Santana.

In the win over the Matadors, senior Nathan Temple passed for 310 yards and accounted for seven touchdowns (four rushing).

Santana senior back Brooks Moutaw had 186 yards of total offense, while junior receiver Jared Forster had 4 receptions for 82 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown, and he also had an interception on defense. Senior Cameron La Riccia had two interceptions for Santana.

It is likely that the Sultans will have to turn to senior Dawud Saddler to handle the lead on the rushing role against West Hills on Friday night.

The way the Santana line of Luke Simanek, Jayce Lynch, Andrew “Gumby” Golembiewski, Adrian King and Jordan Ortiz has been moving opposing fronts aside, the No. 2 back is likely to have a breakout performance… SANTANA, 35-14.

No. 9 Grossmont (5-1, 1-0 GHL) at Granite Hills (4-2, 0-1 GHL) – Somewhere over the last year, the Foothillers surpassed the Eagles in both the media poll and the computer rankings.

Granite Hills, which defeated Grossmont last year on the road, 44-20, on the way to a three-way share of the Grossmont Hills League championship, will look to reverse that calculation on Friday night.

Granite Hills lost to visiting Steele Canyon, 28-13, last Friday night in the “first” Game of the Year in the Grossmont Conference.

Eagle sophomore Zach Burton caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Justus McComb, while senior receiver Carlos DeLeon caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter that closed the Cougar lead to 21-13 with 7:39 left in the game.

The Foothillers moved up to No. 9 county top ten poll after defeating host Valhalla, 49-14, last Friday.

Grossmont senior Jaime Odom had 378 yards of total offense yards and accounted for six touchdowns (four passing). Senior Brody Schicker caught six passes for 133 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown, while Robert Tucker, Max Cadwalader, and Chris Chrzan also had TDs.

Granite Hills leads the all-time series 26-21, although the Foothillers have won seven of the last nine meetings. Last season’s renewal was the first time the teams had met since 2013 – a 63-49 Grossmont win… GRANITE HILLS, 29-28.

No. 1 Helix (5-1, 1-0 GHL) at Valhalla (3-3, 0-1 GHL) – There are at least three things you don’t want to compete against the Noa family.

A Turkey Bowl football game probably being the first. A karaoke contest would likely be another. And now you can add the Family Feud as another success for one of the county’s favorite football families.

The show aired an episode last week where the Noas took down a cool $20,000 with a near-perfect performance in Fast Money. As if we’d expect anything less.

Highlander senior record-setting running back Elelyon Noa left last week’s 64-14 win over El Capitan in the second quarter with an ankle sprain. Noa rushed six times for 70 yards and scored on an 11-yard touchdown run before exiting. While the injury is not considered serious, Noa doesn’t need to rush a return this week.

Helix scored 16 points before its offense made it onto the field, scoring a pair of touchdowns and a safety.

A blocked punt by Sam Stewart was recovered by Marvin Locke in the end zone and then John Carroll had a 33-yard interception return. Carroll, a linebacker, also had eight tackles, including a pair of sacks.

Helix also scored when Domonick Schoop returned an onside kick 51 yards for a touchdown for his own version of a Schoop-and-score.

Senior placekicker Elijah Laing was named Homecoming King at halftime.

Valhalla junior Josh Meredith, a transfer from Helix, caught five passes, including a touchdown, against the Foothillers, while senior Kaleti Lindsay rushed for 100 yards, and sophomore quarterback Tommy Logan was 6-of-7 passing, including a touchdown.

Helix won last year, 56-6, as current Highlander quarterback Kamryn Brown caught a pair of touchdowns as a receiver. Brown passed for two scores last week to Timothy Christopher, including a 58-yarder.

With Noa possibly sidelined, look for a possible breakout performance from sophomore Christian Washington, who scored on a pair of touchdown runs this past Friday and rushed for 115 yards on just six carries.

Senior Kegan Baker, who scored a touchdown for the Norsemen last week against the Foothillers, had five receptions for 67 yards in the matchup last year.

The Scotties have won nine straight meetings and leads the series 38-5-2… HELIX 49-14.

El Capitan (0-6, 0-1 GHL) at No. 5 Steele Canyon (6-0, 1-0 GHL) – The Cougars improved to 6-0 for the first time in school history with the win over the Eagles last Friday.

Steele Canyon senior Viliamu-Ah-You “Rugby” Morse had three sacks while junior teammate Colton Guerrero had seven tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble, which senior James Bradle returned 20 yards for a game-clinching touchdown.

Cougar senior Jeremy Mendez-Gal passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, including a 70-yarder to senior Chris Carter to start the scoring early.

Vaqueros senior Wick Hauser passed for 161 yards and two touchdowns against Helix last Friday. Sophomore Savigon Yokley and senior Donny Green caught the scores. Yokley had three receptions for 78 yards.

Steele Canyon senior Wesley Neely rushed for 130 yards and scored two touchdowns in last year’s 48-20 Cougar win in Lakeside. Current seniors Antoine Walker and T-Max Nyumah had interceptions in that game, while Carter added an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Hauser passed for over 250 yards and three touchdowns in the contest, while Taylor Grasmick, currently a junior, was on the receiving end of one of the scores.

The Cougars have won the last four meetings and lead the all-time series, 6-4… STEELE CANYON, 42-14.

Mount Miguel (3-3, 0-1 GVL) at Monte Vista (2-4, 0-0 GVL) – Senior Isaiah Gardner rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Monarchs past winless Chula Vista, 34-17, last Friday.

Senior quarterback Ruben Silva had a 40-yard touchdown with one minute left in the first quarter. Junior wide receiver Dajon Shingleton had a touchdown reception to extend Monte Vista’s lead to 13-3.

In the Matadors’ loss to the Sultans, Mount Miguel junior quarterback J.D. Laverdiere passed for 228 yards, connecting with senior wide receiver Jahiem Allen-Pompey 11 times for 112 yards. Allen-Pompey is reportedly second in the nation in total receiving yards with over 1,100 through six games.

Laverdiere passed for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 35-14 home loss to Monte Vista last season.

The Monarchs have won four of the last five meetings, but still trail the Matadors in the series, 32-27.

Mount Miguel may be the slight favorite here but the home field edge for Monte Vista could make this one a toss-up… MOUNT MIGUEL, 34-27.

Christian (4-2, 1-0 Eastern) at Mira Mesa (1-5, 0-1 Eastern) – The Patriots won their Eastern League opener on Saturday against University City, 42-35, without a single completion beyond the line of scrimmate.

The game was anticipated to be a matchup between potential Division I quarterbacks in University City senior Gunnar Gray and Patriot junior Gabe Krug.

Krug didn’t use the same approach as the gunning Gray but used his legs to run for 192 yards and four touchdowns, while senior running back Nate Stine rushed for 165 yards and a pair of scores for Christian.

Senior Christian Salacup rushed for 99 yards, including a 54-yard run, and also had an interception in the end zone for the Patriots.

The Patriots have had to revamp their offense following a series of injuries in the receiving corps, hence the strategy last week.

The Marauders lost their league opener to La Jolla, 15-7, last Friday. Senior Elijah Thomas leads Mira Mesa with 675 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, while senior Faavae Leomiti leads the defense with seven tackles-for-loss.

Christian High beat the Marauders, 54-25, at Valley Stadium last season… CHRISTIAN, 35-24.

El Cajon Valley (3-3) at Castle Park (6-0) – The Braves’ Damarius Hyde rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns last season against the Trojans at Priest Field in a 40-21 Castle Park win.

Ke’Von While led El Cajon Valley with seven solo tackles against the Trojans.

Last week, Hyde, a junior led the Braves with 49 yards rushing against the Wolf Pack, while junior teammate Clarence Johnson caught a couple of passes for 22 yards. Hyde has rushed for 475 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Undefeated Castle Park is led by junior running back Erik Hernandez, who had 725 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. The Trojans have nearly 1,900 yards rushing in six games.

Before last season’s meeting, the Braves and Trojans had previously met in a 2005 CIF Division 2 quarterfinal after several Castle Park parents filed a lawsuit after the CIF ruled the team would forfeit six wins.

At the time, at least three forfeits made a team ineligible for postseason play.

A Superior Court Judge allowed the Trojans to play their playoff games but the Braves had the final verdict behind Abraham Muheize’s seven touchdown passes and 600-plus all-purpose yards in a 56-32 win.

The Braves fell at home to the No. 1 team in Division V, Vincent Memorial, and the Trojans are the No. 2 team in the CIF’s D5 power ratings… CASTLE PARK, 35-14.

O’FARRELL CHARTER (0-6) at MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (1-5) – The RedHawks are to be commended for their 21-point effort in a loss at Hilltop last week.

The performance surely points to a possible strong performance tonight against the county’s lowest-ranked team.

In the 49-21 loss to the Lancers, Mountain Empire’s Khaliel Whitehead threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Nick Rose, drawing the RedHawks to within 28-13 against one of the county’s most-suprising teams of the season.

Mountain Empire’s Jericho Brennan scored on a 35-yard run in the fourth quarter. Brennan finished with 58 yards.

“O’Farrell doesn’t do a whole lot of passing,” Mountain Empire assistant coach Ricky Prince said. “Just make the tackles and we’ll be fine.”

The only concern for the RedHawks might be the look-ahead to Holtville next week… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 40-12.


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