East County Sports

Washington moves when game on line

Christian Washington scores on a 70-yard run in the fourth quarter. / P.J. Panebianco




EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – When the Helix Highlanders need a big play, they seem to have an unstoppable weapon in senior Christian Washington.

Washington scored a touchdown on a short pass that covered 41 yards late in the fourth quarter to lift the Scotties to a 27-22 Homecoming victory over championship rival Steele Canyon in a Grossmont Hills League game on Friday night at Hart Stadium.

The Highlanders were already aware there was more to the Cougars than the one win they have to show for this season.

Steele Canyon’s season apparently got the reboot it needed in getting matched with Helix in the GHL opener.

The Highlanders proved ready for the challenge although the Cougars were fully prepared for their familiar foe.

Washington had already regained the Scots the lead earlier in the fourth quarter on a 70-yard touchdown run which made it 21-16.

However, Steele Canyon junior Major Givens, second among running backs in the East County only to Washington in “explosive productivity,” helped put the visitors right back in front with a 39-yard run down to the Helix 2 where quarterback Jacob Manzo pushed in for a sneak to put the Cougars ahead 22-21.

Washington had 162 yards of total offense, with much of it, obviously, coming in the final stanza.

Givens slightly out-gained his superstar rival, amassing 176 total yards.

Helix (4-3) took three points from the opening drive of the game, fueled by an 18-yard run from Washington to drive inside the Cougar 10, but the march fizzled.

Senior Noah Horvath kicked a field goal to get the Highlanders on the board with a 30-yard boot.

Steele Canyon had a matching drive to tie the game at 3-all at the end of one quarter as veteran David Martinez banged through a 22-yarder.

Helix grabbed two points on a safety to take a 5-3 lead when senior Cameron Faiai busted up the middle and got to the quarterback before he could make a decision on an escape plan.

On the ensuing free kick, Washington took the deliberately short boot and had a swift return that helped set up a score.

Senior Xavier Van scored a touchdown to give Helix a 12-3 lead when he took a short pitch directly in front from quarterback Ryland Jessee and swept around the left side for a score from 14 yards out.

Givens scored on a touchdown run in the second quarter to make the score 12-10. He caught a backward screen to the left side and split two defenders, then outraced one Highlander to the end zone for an easy-looking score.

Helix picked up a second field goal in the first half from the Horvath, as a 26-yarder put the Scottiesahead 15-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Washington fumbled in his own end as he tried to get away after keeping the ball on a possible halfback pass and the Cougs’ Temo Rangel picked it up on a bounce and ran in for a touchdown, putting Steele Canyon suddenly in the lead, 16-15.

The play became possible after Martinez’s 51-yard punt had Helix starting at its own 18.

Sophomore Jirah Savaiinaea had a sack for the Highlanders.

Junior Adrian Chargualaf had a big night for the Cougars, forcing the fumble on Washington, making eight tackles, including a sack, catching a team-high three passes, and returning kickoffs for 71 crucial yards.

Senior Spencer Campillo had two sacks for Steele Canyon. He had four tackles for loss overall.

Steele Canyon junior Joseph Haisch may have had his finest performance on the varsity, recording seven total tackles, including three for loss.

Helix moved up one notch in this week’s media poll to the No. 8 spot and are currently ranked fifth in the SDS-CIF Division I playoff power rankings.

A finish in that position would give the Highlanders the top-seed in the division playoffs, although leave the team short of its goal of reaching the four-team Open Division tournament.

The Highlanders will host Grossmont (3-5, 1-0 GHL) this Friday. The Foothillers defeated visiting Granite Hills last week.

Steele Canyon (1-7, 0-1 GHL) will host closely-matched Granite Hills (4-4, 0-1 GHL) this Friday.

The Cougars could still earn a first-round home game with a sweep of the other two Hills League teams and, of course, remain alive for a possible share of the league title should the Highlanders stumble.


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