East County Sports


Helix's Jackson Daniels. / Vanilla Gorilla






LA MESA — The Helix Highlanders and Granite Hills Eagles will be meeting for the 60th time on Friday night but this matchup between league title favorites might be the biggest such showdown since 1979.

The clubs will be meeting for the Grossmont Hills League championship when they take the field in the East County’s biggest game of the season at Hart Stadium.

Helix is ranked fifth in the county, while Granite Hills is ranked seventh. Both teams enter the contest 7-2.

The Highlanders have losses to Cathedral Catholic and Servite, while the Eagles’ defeats have come against Poway and Madison.

The Highlanders have won 11 of the last 12 meetings in the series with the Eagles’ only victory in that span coming in the 2020 spring season.

Granite Hills celebrated a mythical league championship that year, although the Grossmont Conference didn’t officially recognize a champion.

In 2018, Helix, Granite Hills, and Steele Canyon tied for the GHL title with all three teams finishing 2-1 in league play.

These two teams met in the 1979 season for what was surely the Grossmont Conference championship game, although it was on the penultimate night of the regular season.

The Eagles knocked off the Scotties, 17-15, at Valley Stadium en route to an 8-0 conference campaign in ’79. Imagine that. This year’s GHL title will require just three victories, or maybe just two.

No matter the outcome on Friday night, both teams are expected to be top contenders for a section championship in their respective divisions – Helix in Division I and Granite Hills in Division II.

Granite Hills finished 0-3 in the Grossmont Hills League last season.

However, the Eagles have smashed every opponent by at least four touchdowns that aren’t considered a top-five team this season.

The Highlanders have to be considered in that category but this game should be rated close to a toss-up.

Granite Hills has most of its offensive success on the ground, which could play into some of Helix’s strengths defensively.

However, the Highlanders’ good passing game will be facing one of the county’s top secondaries.

Despite the explosiveness shown by both teams in many contests this season, expect the defenses to rule in this one.

Helix has won 20 of the last 22 meetings… HELIX, 20-17.

West Hills at El Capitan — The El Capitan Vaqueros might be favored to clinch the Grossmont Valley League championship in Lakeside on Friday night but it’s still the West Hills Wolf Pack that are the defending champs.

And the Wolf Pack are the current holders of the Tony Burner Memorial Trophy, which they captured with a 27-21 victory exactly a year ago in a game that eventually live up to its billing with a wild and wooly fourth quarter.

If the Vaqueros win tonight, they are the outright league champions, however, if West Hills pulls off the minor upset, these two teams will share the GVL title with Santana.

The clubs have alternated wins in each of the last eight seasonal matchups.

Given the nature of the other games between the three contenders this season, this one figures to be a low-scoring affair.

El Capitan defeated Santana, 7-0, while Santana upset West Hills last week, 10-3.

West Hills leads the series, 18-14, all-time, but it’s 9-all in the last 18 meetings.

The first time the Burner Trophy was awarded was in 2018.

In addition to the hardware, which is named in honor of Tony Burner, the late son of El Capitan head coach Ron Burner, several athletes from both high schools are awarded scholarships thanks to the Tony Burner Memorial Scholarship fund. Tony Burner was a record-setting athlete at West Hills and an assistant coach at El Capitan.

Both teams have very strong defenses but the Vaqueros have the big play potential to decide the game… EL CAPITAN, 14-10.

El Cajon Valley at Santana — During El Cajon Valley’s successful progression in the Grossmont Valley League, the Braves have won three league games for the first time in 17 years.

As El Cajon Valley has defeated Mount Miguel, Monte Vista, and Valhalla this season, only Santana stands in the way of an elusive fourth win.

The Sultans, meanwhile, can’t afford a letdown against the Braves. After all, they will step on the field knowing they are still alive to possibly share in the Grossmont Valley League title.

Santana leads the all-time series, 39-15, including 15 straight wins over the Braves. (ECV won, 13-6, in 2005)… SANTANA, 20-13.

Monte Vista at Valhalla — Since these clubs will miss the postseason, this is the biggest game of the season for the Monarchs and Norsemen.

Both teams have to fancy their chances for their only Grossmont Valley League victory of the season.

Monte Vista won its season opener but has dropped eight straight. Valhalla is winless.

The Monarchs broke an 8-game series losing streak by winning in the 2020 spring matchup, 35-0, but then lost in 2021, 35-21, which handed Monte Vista an 0-10 final ledger.

The series is 9-9-1 since 1996, but Monte Vista leads, 24-14-2, all-time… MONTE VISTA, 20-19.

Christian at San Diego — A rematch of a 2021 CIF Division II playoff meeting won by the Patriots, 31-28, at Valley Stadium.

The Patriots figure to be one of the top four seeds in the Division II playoffs when the seedings are announced on Saturday.

Friday, Christian (5-4) is expected to finish the Eastern League season with an undefeated record.

Christian leads the series, 8-3-1 (tie in 1996, 20-20).

Since the tie, the series is 2-2, but Christian has not won at Glenn Broderick Field since ’88 (although that represents just two losses – 2000 and 2020)… CHRISTIAN, 31-16.

Orange Glen at Mountain Empire — The RedHawks are likely in the Division V playoffs, while the Patriots are searching for their first win.

This is the second-ever meeting between the teams. MEHS won at home, 24-0, in 2017… MOUNTAIN EMPIRE, 15-14.

Foothills Christian at CV-Victory Christian — This is the second meeting. FCHS won the 2018 season opener, 50-8, at Seau Field, in a season when the Knights eventually captured the Ocean League championship.

VCA is 8-0, while FCHS is 6-2.


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