East County Sports

Top East teams exceed expectations

Mount Miguel senior Davian McGowan. / RK2 Photography






Sat., Aug. 19

No. 4 Granite Hills 27, No. 6 Mission Hills 17 – The State champs scored the first 17 points of the game in a tough Week 1 opener against the Grizzlies at home.

The Eagles moved pretty swiftly on the opening drive going 80 yards for a score, capped by a 1-yard run by Max Turner.

Granite Hills took a 14-0 lead on a touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Zach Benitez to receiver Tristan Diaz for a 22-yard play.

Robert Petrich added a 41-yard field goal.

Mission Hills got on the board with a touchdown with 3:08 left in the first half.

The Grizzlies closed to within 17-10 with a field goal with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

Turner rushed for a touchdown with 1:54 left in the third quarter to put the Eagles back up by two scores just 1:47 later.

Turner rushed 18 times for 126 yards in the contest.

Granite Hills added a 33-yard field goal by Petrich in the fourth quarter.

Mission Hills added a rushing touchdown with 3:45 left in the game to get back within 27-17.

The game was televised on KUSI.


Fri., Aug. 18


No. 10 Helix 38, Edison 34 – The Highlanders rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit and immediately put themselves back into serious Open Division contention by defeating the visiting Chargers.

The teams were playing on short notice after Helix agreed to a game following the Chargers’ trip to Hawai’i being canceled due to the fire disaster.

Ryland Jessee connected with Jackson Daniels on a touchdown pass with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter to give Helix a 38-24 lead.

Daniels had an interception with 3:55 left in the game and Helix held on to a 38-34 lead. He sealed the game with another interception as time expired.

Edison scored first with 8:34 left in the first quarter on a 22-yard touchdown pass by junior Save Niumata following a short field off a Highlander punt. The Chargers extended the lead to 10-0 with four-plus minutes left in the opening quarter.

Trailing 24-7 with eight minutes to go before halftime, Helix scored on a kickoff return by Kevin Allen III. Allen III rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns for Helix.

The Highlanders added a short TD run to close to within a field goal with 4:21 left before intermission.

Helix added a field goal as the score was tied, 24-all at halftime.

The Scotties took the lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass. Then the Scots took a two-score lead on an 11-yard touchdown completion.


West Hills 14, Imperial 7 – The Wolf Pack got a late touchdown from Diego Calderon on an 11-yard score with about a minute to go. The West Hills defense held after the Tigers drove to the 25 with a long completion with just under a minute left to play.

The Wolf Pack rolled with two quarterbacks on a scoring drive to open the second half which tied the game.

Alistair Ayersman completed a pair of deep passes to Kyler Oberg.

Then, Collin Dill capped the 80-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring run.

The Tigers had the only touchdown in the first half, scoring on an 80-yard, game-opening drive.

Nathan Stevens had a sack for West Hills that sealed the game.

West Hills’ big play to set up the go-ahead score came when their attempt at a 35-yard field goal was blocked. However, holder Joseph Hamilton picked up the ball and ran it down inside the 10, setting up a first-and-goal.

Dill rushed for 31 yards on six carries,

Oberg finished with four receptions for 50 yards.

Calderon had two receptions for 30 yards.

The Wolf Pack had three quarterbacks take snaps on the night and that was by design.

Ayresman was 6-for-9 for 66 yards, while Hamilton completed three of five passes for 33 yards.

Imperial rallied in the last minute thanks to a long pass from senior Jayden Ayala to sophomore Gio Robles that took the Tigers to the West Hills’ 25-yard line.


Mount Miguel 48, Sweetwater 14 – Verlain Betofe scored his first head coaching victory and it was everything it was cracked up to be.

Mount Miguel led 42-0 at halftime.

Delontay Williams, a freshman had two receiving touchdowns. A 25-yarder gave the Matadors the six-score lead. His 21-yard grab came just one minute into the second quarter and put the Matadors ahead 34-0.

Matthew Barton had three touchdown passes in the first half. He also rushed for a touchdown in the game from 59 yards out.

Caprece Pressley had a blocked punt recovery in the end zone for a touchdown. He also added a 5-yard TD run.

Jeremiah Castillo had an interception in the first half.

Hector Armenta was credited with the punt block. He also had a sack and a forced fumble on one play.

Davian McGowan has a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Matadors a 20-0 lead.


Grossmont 34, San Diego 14 – The Foothillers won going away and spirits were high with the Foothillers’ return to the skies under new head coach Anthony Lawrence.

Grossmont led 28-14 at halftime following a 15-yard touchdown connection later in the first half after the Cavers scored first on a 1-yard rushing touchdown.

Hudson Herber threw a 20-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter to give Grossmont a 22-14 lead. He had four touchdown passes on the night.

Senior Quentin Jones had a 4-yard touchdown for Grossmont, which helped give the hosts an 8-7 lead with five minutes to play in the first quarter. Stephen Tomala caught the conversion pass.

The Cavers regained the lead late in the first quarter on a 30-yard touchdown completion.

However, Herber hit Parker Vanderburgh, a junior, with a precise pass that the receiver leaped for in the back of the end zone and come down with his feet inbounds while falling to his back, as the game was tied at 14-all.

Grossmont extended the lead to 34-14 on a 10-yard pass completion for a touchdown with three minutes to play in the third quarter.

Joshua Ferrara had two interceptions for the Foothillers.

Senior Cody Bigley had a pair of touchdown receptions for Grossmont.


El Capitan 47, Valley Center 18 – El Capitan quarterback Brandt Barker threw six touchdown passes in the first half as El Capitan looked even better than anticipated.

Chance LaChappa had four touchdowns and an interception in the first half, which he returned 40 yards.

Barker threw a 37-yard TD to LaChappa for a 20-0 lead.

Barker had a 39-yard TD pass to Jonathan Biffle on the prior drive.

LaChappa opened the scoring with a diving catch on a 9-yard pass from Barker. The star had a 25-yard TD catch in the half, as well.

Barker finished with seven touchdown passes in the game and finished with more than 300 yards through the air.

El Capitan’s Shune Hayes had three sacks, while teammate Gavin Taylor recorded an interception.

Julian May had 82 yards of offense for El Cap.


Steele Canyon 42, Heritage 15 – The Cougars’ Nico Jara, a sophomore, had a 40-yard interception return in the first half for a touchdown. The breakout star also returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to give the Cougars a 35-7 lead.

Steele Canyon scored on runs on 12 and 96 yards in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.

The Cougars scored on a 26-yard pass in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.

Steele Canyon added a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter for a 42-7 advantage.

Jonathan Sablan had three touchdowns for SC, rushing for over 100 yards.

The Cougars forced four turnovers, including three interceptions. Heritage had 229 yards of offense and six first downs.


Hilltop 27, Valhalla 21 – Visiting Hilltop held off the Norsemen as the Lancer jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead.

Hilltop led 13-7 at halftime. The Lancers also held a 20-14 lead in the second half.

Valhalla’s Dominic Silva threw an option pass to senior Jaylen Cruz for an 8-yard score as Valhalla trailed by seven points.

Valhalla junior Evan Hanulak caught a touchdown pass.

Silva rushed for 173 yards.


Vincent Memorial 29, Monte Vista 13 – The Scots won over the Monarchs in Spring Valley. Monte Vista scored on a 59-yard touchdown reception by Rashawn Florence from quarterback Alex Villanueva.


Crawford 35, El Cajon Valley 6 – The Colts and Braves played to a good performance as advertised but the host Colts were just too much in the season opener.

Darick Dubose had a 5-yard rushing TD at the end of the third quarter for the Braves.


Hoover 52, Mountain Empire 14 – The RedHawks lost to the Cardinals in their home opener.

Sophomore Isaac Gonzales finished with 156 yards on 18 carries for MEHS.


St. Augustine 50, Patrick Henry 7 – The Saints will be moving rapidly up the charts to rightfully regain their usual presence in the top ten.

Zach Morales scored for the Patriots, who led 7-0.

Willie Flores had a rushing touchdown for the Saints.


Thurs., Aug. 17


Santana 40, Canyon Hills 21 – The Sultans, behind a 12-for-12 effort by quarterback Jayden Goldman, were impressive in their season debut over the Rattlers.

Goldman threw for 150 yards and a touchdown.

After a fumble recovery in Canyon Hills’ territory by the Santana’s Angel Borja on the first play from scrimmage, Trent Taylor caught a short pass and ran for a 30-yard score to give the Sultans a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Santana senior Dylan Borcher intercepted a Canyon Hills pass and returned in 39 yards for a touchdown to give the Sultans a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

Sultans senior Isaiah Lloyd forced a fumble on a punt attempt which was recovered by a Santana teammate in the end zone for the Sultans’ fourth touchdown of the first half.

Santana’s Taylor also had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Linden Benson scored a touchdown for the Sultans.


Mission Bay 31. Christian 19 – At Valley Stadium, the Bucs looked good in the win over the Patriots.

A pair of the top teams rated among the best at the Division II level of the CIF San Diego Section kicked off the 2023 season a day early, with Mission Bay skating to a 31-19 decision over the Christian Patriots at Valley Stadium.

The Buccaneers posted 24 unanswered points in the second quarter to grab a 24-7 lead by halftime, then fought off several Patriots challenges in the second half, maintaining ball possession by converting a series of third-down plays, especially in the third quarter.

Christian was able to come back in the second half, but Mission Bay was able to keep some drives going with some big plays on third down, which kept their offense off the field.

Bryce Vowles had a touchdown in the first quarter for Christian from five yards out on a run with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.



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