After a 0-2 start, the Helix Highlanders appear to have straightened out the course, possibly to another Grossmont Hills League championship.
The Highlanders — fresh off their opening two wins of the season — will find out if they remain in contention for this year’s league banner when they take on undefeated Granite Hills this Friday. The Eagles (4-0) are riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak to start the shortened spring season.
Helix (2-2) has won its last two games, including last Friday’s 49-35 comeback win over the visiting Grossmont Foothillers.
The Scotties appeared to finally find their passing game after freshman Ryland Jessee completed eight of 19 attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Jessee completed some monster plays in guiding his team to a 2-0 start in league play, including 70-and 40-yard touchdown strikes to junior Xavier Van and a 26-yard scoring pass to junior Darias James.
Van caught three touchdown passes in the game totaling 160 yards. James finished the game with three catches for 61 yards.
Junior running back Christian Washington completed one of the TD passes to Van, that coming on a successful 28-yard halfback option.
Besides throwing a touchdown pass, Washington rushed 25 times for 138 yards with two touchdowns. Senior Alenadro Van Hoten had 16 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown.
Washington paced the Highlanders with 220 all-purpose yards by adding 68 kick return yards and 14 receiving yards.
Still, Helix had to overcome 14-7 and 21-14 deficits to post its first home field victory of the season.
Van’s TD catch on the halfback pass pushed the Scotties in front 42-35. Helix scored its final touchdown on the night as Jessee hit James for the insurance score.
Grossmont senior quarterback Justin Brown lit up the airwaves with 482 passing yards and four touchdowns. He dropped back for 49 attempts, hitting 30 with one interception.
Junior Nathan Acevedo (eight catches, 250 yards) notched three touchdown catches while junior Ryan Rodieck (two catches, 85 yards) caught one touchdown.
Brown, who scored on a six-yard run in the first quarter, connected with Rodieck on a 69-yard score to tie the game midway through the third quarter.
Acevedo finished the exciting contest with 321 all-purpose yards after tacking on 71 kick return yards.
The game featured 84 points, 1,059 total offensive yards and 1,305 all-purpose yards between the teams. Grossmont amassed 566 offensive yards and 637 all-purpose yards while Helix chalked up 493 offensive yards and 668 all-purpose yards.
The big difference in the game came on the ground as Helix piled up 241 rushing yards to Grossmont’s 84 rushing yards.
Junior Ryan Odom led the Foothillers with 13 tackles and added a sack. Senior Blake Keeling contributed one sack while junior Jacob Benavente intercepted one pass. Junior Cristian Espino had one fumble recovery.
Junior Quincy Herron had one interception for the winners while senior Blaze Zito, freshman Kairo Kahananui and senior Tyler Reed all had fumble recoveries.
Senior Isaac Laing was successful on all seven extra-point attempts while averaging 52.6 yards on eight kickoffs.
Junior Joseph Garcia had five kicking points for Grossmont.
Monte Vista 42, El Cajon Valley 8
In a game played on April 1, the host Monarchs improved to 3-0 in Grossmont Valley League play with the win over the winless Braves (0-3). Monte Vista out-gained El Cajon Valley 334-122 in total yards, including 334-71 in rushing yards.
Senior running back Lamonta Jenkins had 10 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Monarchs in the ground game while senior Deron Whitley rushed 16 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Monte Vista scored a total of six rushing touchdowns, with junior Aiden Robey (nine carries, 68 yards) and senior Victor Meza (three carries, 38 yards) both adding scores.
Senior Brandon Deacy supplied six extra-point conversions, recovered a fumble on a kick-off return, had a 14-yard punt return and recorded one sack. JuniorJayden Richardson had one interception.
The Monarchs led 21-0 at halftime.
Senior Clarence Johnson paced the Braves with 181 all-purpose yards — 84 rushing, 78 on kick returns and 19 receiving. He also led the team defensively with 10 tackles.
Senior Joe Malone completed six of 13 passing attempts for 51 yards with one interception.
Santana 33, Mount Miguel 23
The Sultans improved to 2-0 in Grossmont Valley League play, 3-0 overall, behind four touchdowns on offense and 16 tackles and one sack on defense from senior Michael Richter.
The loss was the first of the season for the Matadors (1-2).
“This was a fun game coach in,” Santana coach Tim Estes said. “Both teams played hard and kept it close the whole time.”
Senior Jacob Laverdiere was Mr. Offense for Mount Miguel as he was involved in all of the team’s 57 plays, completing six of 26 passing attempts for 157 yards and rushing 31 times for 158 yards. He finished the night with 315 total yards and three touchdowns— two rushing and one passing.
Junior Julianna Laverdiere, Jacob’s sister, supplied the extra-point conversion following senior Daelen Hayden’s 73-yard touchdown catch-and-carry in the opening minute of the third quarter.
Sophomore Saul Salgado kicked a 24-yard field goal while senior Joseph Castillo had two interceptions.
Richter proved to be Mr. Everything, it seemed, for Santana. He rushed for 70 yards and scored three rushing touchdowns while making two pass receptions for 86 yards, including one for a 49-yard touchdown. He scored his team’s opening two touchdowns to make the score 13-7 in the second quarter; his final touchdown put his team out in front 33-17.
Richter, who recorded a school record 19.5 sacks as a junior in helping lead the Sultans to a runner-up finish in the Division IV championship game, credited the play of his offensive line for the key to his success on the night.
Senior quarterback Drew Temple completed 12 of 26 passes for 202 yards while senior receiver James Beeson had seven catches for 105 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown that allowed the Sultans to regain the lead at 20-17.
Santana lost, 37-7, to Serra to end the 2019 season; the Sultans have not lost a game since then.
Santana will host Valhalla (0-3 in league, 0-4 overall) this Friday in another league contest and conclude the season with an April 16 Mayor’s Cup matchup at crosstown rival West Hills.
Valhalla is coming off a 46-7 non-league loss at Serra last Friday. Junior Tommy Logan passed 57 yards to sophomore A.J. Cornthwaite for the Norsemen’s lone touchdown in the game.