Scotties retain Musket trophy with 57-8 rivalry win

Photo by Phillip Brents The Musket rivalry trophy remains at Helix Charter High School.

The Helix Highlanders and the Grossmont Foothillers vie each year for possession of the Musket. It’s the La Mesa schools’ big
crosstown rivalry game. The first game was played in 1951.

The Civil War-era musket is mounted on a plaque and kept in the winning school’s library. It’s more or less taken up permanent residence at Helix.

The Highlanders won this year’s game by a runaway score of 57-8 last Friday to extend their current winning streak in the series to 29 games. The last time the Foothillers won the rivalry trophy was in 1991.

This year’s game was decided very early in the first quarter. The host Highlanders broke out to a quick 15-0 lead and led 23-8 with 5:49 to play in the opening period. The score ballooned to 30-8 with 4:12 left and suddenly to 37-8 less than a minute later.

The Highlanders boosted their lead to 44-8 on a breakaway touchdown just 11 seconds into the second quarter and led 51-8 with 10:57 to play in the first half.

The Scotties finished scoring 3:24 before halftime to lead by 49 points. The entire second half was played with a running clock.

It was like a tornado or hurricane had landed on the field, so powerful was the performance by the host team. It simply took one’s breath away.

“It was the most dominant performance that we’ve ever had in a first half, much less the first quarter,” Helix head coach Damaja Jones said.

The Highlanders reeled off eight touchdowns in the opening half – five in the first quarter.

The Scotties scored 37 points in the first quarter and 20 points in the second quarter.

Nine players — count ’em — scored points in last Friday’s victory for the host team.

Senior Kevin Allen III racked up 18 points on three rushing touchdowns while senior Jason Sisneros scored 12 points on two rushing touchdowns.

Seniors Jirah Savaiinaea and Jordan Gash each scored six points on interception returns while senior Jackson Daniels scored six points on a receiving touchdown.

Senior Joshua Hossman Lees collected four kicking points in as many PAT conversions, while senior Kyzza Matovu (receiving) and sophomore Lee Norman-Lester (rushing) both notched two-point conversions. Junior Aubrey Laue earned the spotlight with one extra-point kick conversion.

Ryland Jessee completed nine passing attempts for 133 yards while rushing once for eight yards.

Allen carried the ball five times for 79 yards while Sisneros was the short-yardage buster with two carries for seven yards.

Daniels had two catches for 47 yards while Matovu had three catches for 31 yards.

Helix generated 257 offensive yards but with four interceptions and four sacks didn’t really need to key on offensive fortunes to record the runaway victory.

Savaiinaea, Gash and seniors Kairo Kahananui and Zen Austin each recorded picks while senior Anthony Gash had two sacks and Jordan Gash and junior Joshua Richardson each had one sack.

Despite the blowout, Jones admitted there was pressure on his team. “You don’t want to be the first ones to lose it after all the tradition that has been established by the previous teams that have won it,” he said.

“I’m really proud of everyone on our team,” Jessee said. “They played hard. They kept their foot on the gas. I think our offensive line is fantastic, one of the best in San Diego. They (the Foothillers) gave us the short passing game and we took advantage of that.”

Jessee has thrown for 959 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while Allen has rushed for 875 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Daniels leads the team’s receivers with 22 catches for 277 yards and six touchdowns.

Allen tops the team with 1,049 all-purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns. Defensively, Anthony Gash has six sacks while Daniels has two interceptions.

The Highlanders’ kick specialists also have produced. In six games, senior Josh Hossman Lees had successfully converted all 20 PATs he had attempted while making five of seven field goal attempts for 35 points to rank third in team scoring.

Laue has made four of five PATs in three game appearances. She was successful on the PAT on the Scotties’ seventh touchdown of the game and the deed did not go unnoticed by the fans.

However, Grossmont blocked her second attempt after Helix’s final TD in the game.

Senior Charlie Carlson is the team’s punter. He has collected eight kicking points on five PAT conversions and one field goal this season.

Helix entered Thursday’s homecoming game against Santana ranked third among the section’s Division I teams — trailing No. 1 Lincoln (8-0) and No. 2 Carlsbad (7-0). Grossmont Hills League co-leader Granite Hills (7-0) is ranked fourth, followed by No. 5 Mission Hills (3-3), No. 6 Torrey Pines (5-2), No. 7 El Camino (5-2), No. 8 La Costa Canyon (5-2), No. 9 Cathedral Catholic (2-6) and No. 10 St. Augustine (4-3).

The Oct. 20 GHL encounter at Granite Hills looms large. The top four Division I teams advance to the Open Division playoffs.

“We knew we had to contain two of their players who had the potential to do damage,” the Helix coach said. “We’ve got to keep our composure in every moment. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Grossmont junior Amari Riley scored on a short pass to cut the early deficit to 15-8 but the Highlanders responded with 42 unanswered points. Senior Elias Burlaza scored on a two-point conversion pass.

Junior quarterback Thomas Donovan took over relief duties from senior starter Hudson Herber just before halftime.

Foothiller pride

Despite the lopsided loss to Helix, Grossmont continues to enjoy a turnaround season under new head coach Anthony Lawrence, 27, a Foothiller alumnus, who has the distinction of being the youngest head coach in the section.

“My goals are to develop these young players and provide some life-long memories,” explained Lawrence, a 2013 GHS graduate who went on to rewrite the record book at the University of San Diego. “We’re creating a good environment and providing lots of life lessons, but you can’t win it all (every game).”

Lawrence, who passed for 3,300 yards and 41 touchdowns as a high school senior before playing five seasons at the University of San Diego (2014-18), entered his head coaching debut holding virtually all of the Foothillers’ passing records.

However, one fell in Grossmont’s 39-36 GHL win at Steele Canyon on Sept. 29 as Herber passed for 552 yards to set a new single-game mark.

“He leads the section in passing yards and touchdowns,” Lawrence said in regard to Herber. “I got a real easy job. Hudson goes out and plays. He’s really a special kid. I’m actually learning things from him.”

Herber has passed for1,933 yards and 24 touchdowns through seven games but was limited to 120 yards on nine-of-24 passing with one TD and four picks against Helix.

Grossmont entered this week ranked 10th among Division III teams, though Lawrence said he can see his team playing for the division championship.

“Of our 22 starters, 11 have never played football or never played since middle school,” the Grossmont coach said. “We’re growing, we’re learning, just getting better each week. I wouldn’t want to play us in the playoffs.”

Soaring Eagles

Granite Hills remained on a collision course with Helix after rolling past the visiting West Hills Wolf Pack, 52-0, last Friday for homecoming.

Junior Max Turner carried the ball seven times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard score, while junior Vance Weider had seven carries for 64 yards, including a 32-yard score.

Senior Maddox Peterson scored on a three-yard run to put a running clock in motion late in the first half.

Freshman quarterback Zachary Benitez completed four passes in six passing attempts for 74 yards and one touchdown while also scoring one rushing touchdown.

Benitez passed 30 yards to sophomore Tristin Diaz for a touchdown while senior Josh Zander had three catches for 43 yards.

The Eagles didn’t need too much offense as the team’s defense limited the Wolf Pack to 21 total offensive yards — 34 passing yards and negative 13 rushing yards.

Junior Jerzel Ramirez racked up 38 yards on an interception return for a touchdown.

Other scores:

El Capitan 35, Valhalla 9
Steele Canyon 40, Santana 6
Monte Vista 24, El Cajon Valley 14