East County Sports

RedHawks give Scots strong struggle

Mountain Empire tackles Vincent Memorial on Friday. / MEHS Football



By Nick Pellegrino

ECS staff writer

CAMPO – If you live in San Diego County, you may have never heard of Vincent Memorial High School, which is a part of the local Catholic Diocese along with Cathedral Catholic (co-ed), Mater Dei Catholic (co-ed), St. Augustine (boys only), and Our Lady of Peace (girls only).

The school is located in Calexico, where the public high school — another little-known fact — boasts one of the largest enrollments of any CIF-San Diego Section school at more than 3,000 students.

So when David Wong came to Vincent Memorial to take over the Scots football program in 2015, he was able to encourage several top student-athletes from the “big brother” school to play for him.

So far the results continue to impress.

On Friday (Mar, 19), Vincent Memorial rolled into the San Diego backcountry to subdue host Mountain Empire, 14-0, in the Manzanita League opener for both schools.

It was the second straight blanking of an opponent for Vincent Memorial, which opened the season with a 37-0 trouncing of El Centro-Southwest.

Mountain Empire (0-2) can’t be ashamed of being blanked by the Scots, which has posted 13 shutouts since Wang took over. In fact, his career mark now stands at 46-16 (.742).

Should Wong complete the 6-game regular season undefeated, his 50 career victories would qualify him for career status on statistics kept by the San Diego Prep Sports History website, moving into the CIFSDS Top Five in winning percentage. That’s a list that includes high-profile programs including Helix.

Both Scots touchdowns came on short drives following interceptions.

In the second quarter, a pass theft led to a 20-yard drive, capped by a 5-yard TD run by senior standout Noe Saenz.

Early in the fourth quarter, a pick by senior Alejandro Cervantes was returned to the RedHawks 17. Two plays later, Max Diaz rushed around the left end from 9 yards out with 9:31 remaining.

The RedHawks finally found some offensive rhythm by handing the ball off to co-captain Larry Clark. The junior rushed six times for 59 yards in the final period. Clark took over at running back to start the second half, finishing with an impressive 89 yards in 13 carries.

“Larry shined on both sides of the ball,” Mountain Empire assistant coach Ricky Prince said. “He had several key tackles and forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter to stop Vincent from scoring.

“And the running game came alive with him in the fourth. We had two freshmen that had to step up and play O-line tonight due to injuries.”

Meanwhile, receiver Marcus Smith had five receptions for 34 yards on passes from freshman quarterback Corey Vann.

“I feel like we have been only a few mental mistakes away from being undefeated,” Smith said. “We are young right now. We have freshmen in starting roles going through some adversity on the field but they will learn and grow.

“We need to take more reps and focus on our assignments, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.”

One shining moment for the RedHawks defense came midway through the fourth period. With Vincent Memorial driving for a third touchdown, Clark forced a fumble at the 1-yard line, then made the recovery at the 5 to keep the ballclub in the contest.

Next week, Mountain Empire caps a 3-game homestand by hosting La Jolla Country Day.


Vincent memorial (2-0,1-0)   0  7  0  7 — 14
Mountain Empire (0-2,0-1)    0  0  0  0 —  0


VM – Saenz 5 run (Ayala kick)
VM – Diaz 9 run (Ayala kick)


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