East County Sports

Highlanders add to the Highlights

Helix's Jeremiah Savaiinaea


By Nick Pellegrino
ECS Senior staff writer

LA MESA — An unbeaten, unblemished record with placement in the state rankings is impressive, however, it took the Helix Highlanders a full eight ballgames to achieve a particular feat to demonstrate they truly are for real.

On Thursday (Oct. 12), The Scotties, while setting a new Grossmont Conference record for offense, posted their initial shutout of the season to romp over visiting Santana, 58-0, at Benton Hart Stadium.

The triumph allowed Helix (8-0 overall, 3-0 GHL) to set the stage for next week’s showdown against another unbeaten squad in Granite Hills (7-0, 2-0 GHL) to decide the Grossmont Hills League championship.

Similar to last week’s 57-8 annual pasting of Grossmont, the Highlanders were in full control in the opening 12 minutes, rolling up 30 unanswered points, then adding three additional second-quarter touchdowns for a 51-0 lead at the intermission.

Thus, Helix has out-scored a trio of GHL opponents by a composite count of 156-15 — the largest margin in East County history following three starts.

However, while there is much pride for an improving defense, the next goal is to accomplish a better job in slowing down Granite Hills, which survived a 4-overtime classic last season, 46-44, in a contest which, frankly, should’ve continued into a fifth extra session (or beyond).

The Eagles, now owners of a school-record 16-game winning streak, went on to win league, section, and state crowns.

However, that was at lower levels of CIF San Diego Section (Division II) and CIF State (Division 2-AA) levels. Now situated with the big boys in Division I competition, this will be Granite Hills’ first chance to prove the success is anything but a fluke.

The contest is slated for Valley Stadium on Fri., Oct. 20, starting at 7 p.m.

Santana (4-4, 0-3 GHL) was elevated from the Grossmont Valley League to GHL status since the 2022 season concluded, finding the new surroundings much more difficult to maneuver at a scoring count of 140-12.

The Helix defense made its point early.

While the Helix offense posted 4 TDs in both of the first two quarters, the defense registered a first-quarter safety for a 16-0 cushion, then later added an 18-yard fumble and recovery/return for a second-quarter score.

In addition, the only other player in the Santana backfield– besides the quarterback — seemed to be Helix’s linebackers to thwart the Sultans.

Helix quarterbacks Ryland Jessee and Lee Norman-Lester combined for five touchdown passes.

Jackson Daniels had a pair of touchdown receptions.

Kevin Allen III had two rushing touchdowns.

It’s no wonder why the contest was Santana’s first venture to La Mesa this century (the first since 1998 — a 44-12 setback). It’s also the school’s 10th straight loss at Helix (out-scored, 270-27, including six shutouts; the last road win came in 1975).