East County Sports

Sultans, Patriots get Thursday kickoffs

Santana junior lineman Ayden Dolan. / Vanilla Gorilla




MISSION BAY at No. 19 CHRISTIAN — The Patriots may not be as advanced offensively early given their recent rich history at quarterback. Still, their program should be strong enough to power past the Buccaneers in the opener.

Senior Dylan Eads had four receiving touchdowns last season, while junior Brady Eads leads all returnees with 14 receptions in 2022.

Defensive lineman Ryder Jennings, a senior, had 27 tackles last season. Junior Forrest Brunetto had two sacks last campaign.

The Patriots, currently in Division II, were 6-5 last season but were undefeated Eastern League champs at 4-0.

Mission Bay, a Division III entrant, was 8-5 last season but finished 1-3 in the City League. They opened last season with a 27-13 win over El Cajon Valley en route to a 4-0 start. The Bucs were eliminated in the Division IV semifinals by Fallbrook, 21-3.

The Bucs may have to refine their aerial game but the team has plenty of defense to compete right away.

Linebackers Caden Taffe, Jacob Morgan, and Orlando Castillo get to the ball before the play gets going.

This game may be more of a defensive game than we are used to from these clubs… CHRISTIAN, 31-14.


CANYON HILLS at SANTANA — The Sultans won five of their last six regular season games last season. With the move to the Grossmont Hills League, Santana will need to excel in their non-league games to help their final playoff standing in Division IV where they are placed with teams like Canyon Hills and Coronado.

The Sultans have some strong returning talent, including senior Linden Benson, who carried the ball 41 times for nearly 200 yards in the city rivalry win over West Hills last Oct.

Jayden Goodman is an emerging talent at quarterback. His late arrival last season has kept him off the radar a bit but the sophomore already looked the part in his action during the second half of the season.

Senior Michael Valenzuela is a touchdown-maker. When the Sultans needed the big play last season, he arrived in the end zone in critical moments.

Junior Ayden Dolan is already one of the East County’s best interior linemen.

The Rattlers are destined for improvement under a well-respected new head coach but the Sultans will likely be perceived as an underrated team this season… SANTANA, 28-17.


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