Passing grade—high school football season is right around the corner

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WEBHelix quarterback Michael Austin drops back under the watchful guidance of head coach Troy Starr. .jpg

The 2013 high school football season must be right around the corner now that summer passing tournaments have wrapped up.

One of the largest events over the summer took place July 12-13 as 32 teams from around San Diego County—and elsewhere — gathered at Southwestern College to participate in the South County Passing Tournament. 

Six East County teams were present: Christian, Helix, Monte Vista, Mt. Miguel, Steele Canyon and Valhalla.

The 2013 high school football season must be right around the corner now that summer passing tournaments have wrapped up.

One of the largest events over the summer took place July 12-13 as 32 teams from around San Diego County—and elsewhere — gathered at Southwestern College to participate in the South County Passing Tournament. 

Six East County teams were present: Christian, Helix, Monte Vista, Mt. Miguel, Steele Canyon and Valhalla.

East County teams generated a great deal of success in the tournament. Monte Vista, Mt. Miguel and Helix each finished 3-0 in pool play on the first day of competition to advance to the winners bracket championship playoffs, joining Steele Canyon and Christian, which also advanced.

However, only Mt. Miguel, Helix and Steele Canyon won their opening playoff games to continue in the winners bracket. Second-seeded Helix defeated 18th-seeded Christian while fifth-seeded Mt. Miguel eliminated 12th-seeded Lincoln and 10th-seeded Steele Canyon upset seventh-seeded Hoover.

Meanwhile, third-seeded Monte Vista dropped an upset encounter to 14th-seeded Cathedral Catholic in the opening round.

Grossmont Hills League rivals Helix and Steele Canyon met in the quarterfinals, with Steele Canyon recording a stunning 22-20 upset win over the Highlanders.

Steele Canyon’s playoff run ended with an ensuing loss in the semifinals to Cathedral Catholic.

Parochial school rival St. Augustine (which had eliminated Mt. Miguel in the quarterfinals) then defeated Cathedral Catholic, 35-34, in the championship game. 

The fourth-seeded Saints, who were led by quarterback Jojo Hudson in the championship game, finished 4-0 in the playoffs.

“This was practice and doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, but whenever you meet your arch rival, it does have some meaning for the kids,” St. Augustine coach Richard Sanchez said. “It feels good to win.”

Valhalla, which finished 2-1 in pool play, participated in the consolation playoffs on the second day, finishing with a win over Southwest and a loss to eventual consolation champion Horizon Christian.

The Norsemen finished 3-3 over the course of the two days.

VHS coach Charles Bussey said summer passing tournaments help teams bond together as a unit.

“For us, it offers an opportunity to learn and get experience,” Bussey said. “We have a lot of young guys, six or seven sophomores who are fighting for spots on varsity. It’s been a learning experience.”

Airing it out

The South County Passing Tournament featured pool play on the opening day. Each team played three games in both the morning and afternoon sessions. Each game lasted 45 minutes; teams played back-to-back contests.

Playoff games took place on the second day of competition, which attracted a large fan base to the SWC campus.

“It was awesome,” Jaguars coach Ed Carberry said. “We had great fan participation — a mass of relatives and parents descended on the school. We had a lot of fun.”

High school practices begin for many teams on Aug. 5, and many teams will participate in scrimmage contests two weeks later.

The opening week of regular season play kicks off Aug. 30.

Extra points

Helix won the championship title of the 16-team La Costa Canyon Semper Fi Tournament on June 30 by defeating Mission Hills, 28-27, in the championship game.

Helix defenders snared eight interceptions in the team’s final two playoff games, with sophomore defensive back Jihad Woods earning honors as the tournament’s most valuable player.

El Capitan defeated San Marcos, 35-14, to win the consolation bracket title.

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