East County Sports

Owens to meet with Scotties on Monday

Robbie Owens went 53-20 as head coach of Helix from 2016-2021. / P.J. Panebianco

2021-22 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

LA MESA – Another probable major coaching move caught many local prep football observers by surprise on Sunday night.

Reports are that Robbie Owens, who coached the Helix Highlanders to a state championship appearance and three San Diego Section CIF championship titles, will meet with current team members on Monday, likely to announce that he has resigned as the team’s head coach.

Reports were that defensive coordinator Damaja Jones, the well-respected and highly-regarded Highlander assistant, will be the team’s new headman.

Jones

Whether the move is permanent or on an interim basis wasn’t clear on Sunday night but it appears that Jones, who is also a track coach at the school, would be the permanent replacement for Owens, who was hired in 2016 after eight years as the head coach at Grand Junction (Colo.) High, where he had lived in the community for 20 years before heading to La Mesa with his family.

The timing of the news comes just two days after another local football power, St. Augustine, announced it would be searching for a new head football coach, ending the four-year stint of veteran coach Joe Kremer, who was the Saints’ skipper for the last four season.

Saints, however, are coming off an uncharacteristic two-win season, while the Scotties went 9-4 and won the San Diego Section Division I championship this past season defeating the Lincoln Hornets, 28-21, before losing to Chula Vista Mater Dei Catholic, 24-21, in a CIF State regional bowl game in Dec.

Owens is reportedly off to Keiser University, an NAIA school in West Palm Beach, Fla., to be the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, who are coming off a 9-3 season.

While Owens served just six years at Helix, guiding the team to a 53-20 record, he can certainly take his seat at the table among the Highlander coaching greats, alongside Jim Arnaiz (213-77-1), Gordon Wood (45-6), Donnie Van Hook (30-14-3),  and Troy Starr (83-18-1).

The Scotties won two section Open Division championships and a section Division I title under Owens. The Highlanders reached a CIF State division championship game in 2017.

Owens has a career prep head coaching record of 100-58-1 between his two stints combined.

Jones, meanwhile, is once a Scottie, always a Scottie through-and-through, starring at free safety for the Highlanders in 2000. It would seem unlikely that Jones would overhaul the tight-knit staff, other than naming his own replacement.

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