East County Sports

Military appreciation waves true at El Cap




By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

LAKESIDE —- Ron Burner isn’t just the head football coach at El Capitan High School, he is also a small business owner. Thus, he possesses more than a few ideas about marketing.

One trait Burner likes to utilize is swapping the logo decal on the Vaqueros’ football helmets every few years. Fans often enjoy the new look, but it also drives needed revenue to operate the football program through the sale of shirts, hats and jerseys, and other merchandise.

Last season, the team’s logos were adorned with a 60th-anniversary logo celebrating the program’s history.

This season, Burner went a patriotic look with a helmet — now white in place of the traditional black — with a waving American flag.

Burner selected the current incarnation of “Old Glory” — there have been more than 40 versions of the flag since the original “Grand Old Flag” design from 1775-77  Plus, there are official American flags for ships, embassies, U.S. Government departments, and Executive branch flags for the president and other political leaders.

The unincorporated area of Lakeside was recently embroiled in its own flag controversy of sorts just a couple of long touchdowns away from where the Vaqueros play.

Residents of the area placed dozens of U.S. flags on some temporary fencing owned by CalTrans.

CalTrans employees subsequently removed the flags, labeling them a distraction to drivers.

However, the residents were undaunted, and quickly had replacement flags to put back on the same fencing.

Finally, after the removal of the second batch of flags, residents found a new location to place a new series of larger flags near the highway, although the flags are posted and not waving.

The new helmets decals were ordered well before the recent local hub-bub, however one Vaquero player told EastCountySports that while he likes and appreciates what the red, white, and blue helmet decal stands for, he didn’t think it looked that great with the Vaqueros’ famous black and gold colors.

The flag changes at the end of a year when a new state joins the Union. For example, when Alaska and Hawai’i changed from territories to states in 1959, the flag increased from 48 to 50 stars — one state for each state.

Should one of the six current U.S. territories — Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and (the one people forget the most) the District of Columbia — become a state, future flag designs for up to five additional stars have already been approved by Congress.

Now let’s play some football!

Schedule changes

Burner’s Vaqueros will make their home debut with the new helmet logo this Thursday, hosting visiting Hilltop at 7 p.m. The game is also Military Appreciation Night.

The date was switched from Friday because the annual Lakeside Rodeo — traditionally held in the spring — will now be held this weekend at the Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, located adjacent to the stadium.

The Lakeside Western Day Parade is slated for Saturday morning.

According to the official Lakeside Rodeo website, the parade route is “will begin at 9:35 AM and will come over the Hwy 67 Wintergardens Blvd. bridge, turn left onto Woodside Ave. and proceed East. From Woodside Ave. going East, the parade will turn left onto Maine Ave, headed North. After completing Maine Ave, the parade will exit the route at Maine Ave at Lakeshore Dr. and return to the main staging areas.”

Norsemen-Eagles on Thur.; Matadors-Spartans canceled

Meanwhile, members of the administration and coaching staff at Valhalla and Granite Hills high schools moved their matchup to a Thursday night contest, as well. The ballgame is slated for Valley Stadium at 7 p.m.

The other late change finds the Mount Miguel home game with Chula Vista now canceled due to COVID-19 problems with the visiting Spartans.

The Matadors are attempting to schedule a replacement game, with Bonita Vista being a possibility. The Barons game with San Ysidro was canceled because of COVID concerns with the Cougar program.

South Bay precautions

The Sweetwater Unified School District ruled on Monday that all athletes must utilize a mask in practice and competition to prevent players from contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Interestingly, figures released by the San Diego County Health Department show just two COVID-related deaths among those under the age of 20 years during the 20 months of the pandemic.



VALHALLA (1-0) at No. 11 GRANITE HILLS (1-0)


HILLTOP (0-1) at EL CAPITAN (1-0)



No. 12 HELIX (1-0) at No. 13 OTAY RANCH (1-0)


MADISON (0-1) at No. 16 STEELE CANYON (0-1)


No. 5 EL CAMINO (1-0) at GROSSMONT (1-0)




IMPERIAL (0-0) at WEST HILLS (1-0)










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