East County Sports

Scotties are abuzz after championship

2021 San Diego Section Division I champion Helix Highlanders.




EastCountySports.com staff report


ESCONDIDO – Despite being the top-seed in the San Diego CIF Division I playoffs, the Helix Highlanders were far from favorites against the third-seeded Lincoln Hornets in Saturday night’s championship game at Escondido High.

But as it turned out, the section’s seeding formula proved correct in this case.

The seventh-ranked Highlanders, considered two-touchdown underdogs by computer models previously used for seeding, rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit to defeat the eighth-ranked Hornets, 28-21, in front of a capacity crowd at Bob Wilson Stadium.

The Highlanders had superior conditioning and organization down the stretch while Helix senior Christian Washington still had all the gas in the tank late.

Washington rushed 45 times for 181 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter after Helix trailed 21-14 at halftime.

Helix captured its 11th San Diego Section football championship, as head coach Robbie Owens won his third section title with the Highlanders (’17, ’19, ’21).

After Helix punted on the game’s opening drive, the Hornets made the first drive look ominous for the Highlanders.

Lincoln made quick work of the Highlanders’ early defensive holes and scored a touchdown on a run by Roderick Robsinson with 6:44 left in the first quarter. The PAT was blocked by Josh Carroll.

CIF Sportsmanship Award winners Ezriel Noa, of Helix, and Elmo Barnes, of Lincoln.

The Highlanders capitalized to take the lead following an interception by James Johnson, who took the ball 24 yards down to the Lincoln 14.

Washington scored on a 4-yard run on fourth down, as Helix took a 7-6 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.

The Hornets attempted a field goal with 1:15 left in the first quarter but Carroll got a piece of the ball for his second kick block of the period.

Carroll made his third kick block of the first half on a field goal attempt by Lincoln with 10:23 left in the second quarter.

Lincoln’s Jalil Tucker caught a wide-open 54- yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Daniels after the Helix secondary suffered a breakdown in coverage, and the Hornets led 14-7.

However, Helix was able to answer behind a touchdown from Washington from 10 yards out, as the Highlanders were beginning to establish control on the line of scrimmage after the Hornets’ good start.

Helix committed a pair of crucial mental mistakes that allowed Lincoln to capitalize with a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half.

A scoreless third quarter saw Helix fail on a fourth-and-short when Washington was thrown for a loss, and later, the Scotties missed a field goal with 10:23 left in the game.

Junior speed man Adren Parker, of the Highlanders, had a 40-yard punt return to the Lincoln 16 with 8:19 left.

Washington scored on a 1-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game.

Helix sophomore Kairo Kahananui recovered a fumble at the Lincoln 27 with 5:46 left.

Washington capped a deliberate drive with a 1-yard run with just 1:13 remaining in regulation.

Helix junior linebacker Ezriel Noa caught a desperate floater near midfield to seal the win.


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