East County Sports


Santana senior Logan Jorden / Ken Todd




By Ramon Scott


LAKESIDE – Apparently, there is still a perpetual trophy for the winner of the old rivalry between the El Capitan Vaqueros and Santana Sultans.

Maybe the Sultans will bring the “Golden Whip” with them to Lakeside on Friday night for the big Grossmont Valley League showdown with the Vaqueros unless they either have lost it or have no plans to relinquish it.

Vaquero head coach Ron Burner is pretty sure it is in possession of the Sultans, maybe, following last spring’s 42-7 blitzing by the Sultans during a makeshift six-week season.

But if he didn’t hand it to the Sultans following that game last March, then El Capitan should still be in possession of it.

After all, it was the Vaqueros that registered back-to-back wins in 2012-13 before El Cap was jettisoned to the Grossmont Hills League until last season, which is exactly what might’ve happened to that award.

See, when El Capitan shutout Santana, 42-0, en route to a 10-2 season, our Bill Dickens wrote in the lede to the game story, “El Capitan grabbed a lead in the first quarter of Friday night’s (Oct. 25, 2013) Grossmont Valley League game and rode that momentum to a win over neighboring rival Santana and claimed rights to the mythical Golden Whip trophy.”

A year earlier, following El Cap’s 35-21 win over the Sultans, Dickens had already declared the thing lost in the lede to that game story, “There is word that neither coach could find the Golden Whip, which is the symbolic trophy that goes to the winner of this game. Not that either coach claims to care.”

Both Burner and current Santana head coach Tim Estes, who was in his first year in 2012, were in charge of the programs at the time.

Santana smashed El Capitan, however, 56-6, in 2011, so has anybody checked with Dave Gross? The win for the Sultans was only Gross’ second over El Cap in 12 seasons at the helm.

Of course, the Sultans played their home games at El Capitan from 1969-71, although the Santana campus opened with primarily former El Cap students in 1965 and played football home games at Cajon Speedway, Monte Vista High, and Helix High before that.

So, while the whip was contrived as a reference to the area’s equine history, it’s probably time for a new trophy.

Meanwhile, the battle for a more-coveted Grossmont Valley League championship banner, which also includes undefeated 15th-ranked West Hills,is ready for the start of the stretch drive.

All three teams know, beat the other two contenders and that team will likely finish on top.

The Sultans weren’t able to play their game last week against the Mount Miguel Matadors. The game remains postponed at this point but there seems to be no room in the schedule to make up the contest.

The Sultans have put together five straight wins and are undefeated coming into the contest, while the Vaqueros are 4-1, but common opponents could possibly help draw a conclusion in this closely-rated contest.

Santana beat Coronado, 10-7, in overtime on the road in the season opener. El Capitan lost to Coronado, 33-28, a few weeks ago in Lakeside.

El Capitan and Coronado are rated similarly by the computers.

This is also a big game in the Division III playoff picture.

El Capitan has a pair of wins over Division III clubs Hilltop and Canyon Hills, while Santana hasn’t matched up with a Division III club so far, facing only Division IV teams.

Santana has kept up its winning ways despite some pretty serious turnover from the spring.

Nick Leger, Tyler Anderson, Ethan Wright, Brayden Breshears, Logan Jorden, David Friedman, Jaxen Dolan, and kicker Jackson Scott have been carving out this team’s legacy quickly.

El Capitan has two key players with a lot of experience and they have no doubt been two of the biggest stars this season in the East County.

Brothers Savigon and Antwone Yokley are much talked about and deservedly so, but teammates Daisean Desinor, Xavier Peace, Angel Diaz, Dominic Denha, Austin Cordeiro, and John Rose have brought this team into championship contention.

The Sultans are coming off a 24-0 win at Valhalla two weeks ago, then had a bye.

Santana is currently rated third in Division III where some of the hottest teams in the section reside, such as fourth-ranked Mater Dei Catholic, and other undefeated teams Santa Fe Christian, Mt. Carmel, and West Hills, not to mention the one-loss Vaqueros.

Although West Hills is the higher-rated team of the three GVL contenders by the computers, the CIF power ratings and the local media poll both rate the Wolf Pack higher than Friday night’s combatants. The Wolf Pack have a bye this week, but host both Santana and El Capitan on its home field to close out the season in a few weeks.

El Capitan is coming off a bye after defeating El Cajon Valley, 48-7.

In the 21st Century, El Cap leads the series, 12-3 (32-17-2 all-time), but none of those last 15 meetings have been decided by less than 12 points. Surely, that changes here… EL CAPITAN, 23-22.

EL CAJON VALLEY (2-4, 1-1 GVL) at VALHALLA (1-5, 0-2 GVL) — The Braves are shooting for their second-straight league win on the road for the first time since 2005.

However, the Norsemen are favored by as many as two touchdowns in the computer ratings, so how good can those ratings be?

The eye test says this game should be much closer than that.

Both teams will get a realistic test to see where these two Grossmont Valley League teams stand.

Other than that, there isn’t much to measure. These teams haven’t met in 20 years.

Valhalla, despite its 1-5 record is seventh in the Division IV CIF playoff ratings, while the Braves are 10th in the Division V CIF power ratings so this game is important for the postseason chances of both squads.

The Braves won 41-22 over Monte Vista last Friday behind Kal-El Gordon and Daniel Jacobs, who combined to lead a historic performance by El Cajon Valley.

El Cajon’s receiving corps is looking sharp with Paris Dixon and Shane Hopson, while sophomore lineman Enrique Hernandez is undoubtedly going to be a top player over the next couple of years.

Valhalla hasn’t scored in three weeks but they’ve played a very tough schedule this season, including losses to locals Granite Hills, Santana, and West Hills.

We’re likely going to see the best of Valhalla, however, this week, as things will likely be at equal speed when meeting up with El Cajon Valley.

Valhalla’s Tommy Logan and A.J. Cornthwaite can connect through the air here, while Norsemen defenders Khalil Plummer, Randall Shamon, and Harmon Shamo can show more of the good play they have displayed, especially early on in games.

In 2001, Valhalla won, 49-13, in the only meeting this Century. Valhalla has won four straight in the series, with the last ECV win back in 1997 (28-20)… EL CAJON VALLEY, 32-29.

MONTE VISTA (0-5, 0-1 GVL) at MOUNT MIGUEL (1-2, 0-1 GVL) — The last Battle of Spring Valley was a wild one when the teams met two years, as the teams combined for the highest-scoring game in series history as the Matadors won, 55-34.

We haven’t seen the Matadors in action since Sept. 17, when they fell 35-6 to West Hills. Mount Miguel has a shutout win over Crawford after losing the opener at Henry.

The Monarchs have dropped five straight but certainly showed their potential last week, scoring 22 points against the Braves behind running back Aiden Robey, who had two touchdowns, including a 67-yard scoring run.

Monte Vista’s Jayden Richardson passed to Nathaniel Barragan for a touchdown as the Monarchs traded blows early with the favored Braves, and were down just a score at 21-14.

Mount Miguel is led by a true leader at quarterback Ruben Hernandez.

Sophomore back Davian McGowan is already showing much promise.

Hernandez and McGowan have combined for over 400 yards rushing in three games.

Matadors have won four straight in the series (the 2021 spring season final was canceled).

In the 21st Century, MVHS leads the series, 10-9, but MMHS leads all-time 32-27… MOUNT MIGUEL, 27-20.

STEELE CANYON (1-5) at ST. FRANCIS (LA CANADA) (3-1) – Despite their uncharacteristic record, the Cougars have moved up to the third-rated team in the computer rankings, ahead of all the Valley League teams, and Christian, trailing just Helix and Granite Hills.

However, those computer ratings are just cosmetic, and playing these tough games can only toughen the Cougars for the Grossmont Hills League race since Steele Canyon is automatically qualified for the postseason.

The difficulty of the Cougars’ schedule doesn’t appear to get any easier this week, traveling to La Canada to face St. Francis, of the Angelus League.

St. Francis is rated second in that league, behind Loyola, a team that defeated Mira Mesa, a couple of weeks back.

The Granite Hills Eagles will be paying attention to the Cougars’ fate as they make the same trip here next Friday night to face the Golden Knights.

Quarterbacking currently for SC is Eric King and Jacob Manzo.

Manzo rushed for two touchdowns against Cathedral Catholic in the second half, while King passed to junior running back Major Givens for the other Cougar score in a 48-21 loss.

The computers show the Golden Knights as a likely two-to-three touchdown favorite here… ST. FRANCIS, 34-24.

MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (2-3) at VINCENT MEMORIAL (3-2) (at El Centro-Southwest), 6:30 p.m.The RedHawks won 28-0 over Hoover in an impressive display in the second half.

The game was scoreless at halftime on Homecoming, but three Mountain Empire runners combined for 391 yards in the contest and all four touchdowns in the second half.

This is the Desert League opener for these clubs. The circuit was previously known as the Manzanita League.

The RedHawks have had to turn to a predominant running attack following an ankle injury to their promising sophomore quarterback.

This one is a contrast of styles, now, as Vincent throws more frequently than most of the teams in the section.

The Scots lead 13-12 all-time, including wins in six of the last seven meetings and a 14-0 shutout in last spring’s matchup.

Vincent Memorial has won three straight games including a 14-12 win at home against El Cajon Valley.

The computers rate this one practically a toss-up… VINCENT MEMORIAL, 22-21.

MARANATHA CHRISTIAN (1-4, 0-0 Pacific) at FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN (2-3, 1-1 Pacific) (at Seau Field) — The Knights were awarded a forfeit victory last week when opponent O’Farrell couldn’t field a full team for the second consecutive game.

The week prior, however, the Knights won their first 11-man football game in eight years by defeating Hoover, 18-8, despite being outgained by the Cardinals 238-119.

The Knights are a young club building for the future. Foothills Christian had success using the same multi-year development process for many of its players during its reign in the 8-man division.

Maranatha Christian lost to a visiting Mountain Empire club, 51-0, in the season opener.

These teams are matched pretty evenly in this one, according to the computers… FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN, 18-15.


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