San Diego Blog
Defending state soccer champions face challenges, overcome adversity
By Mary York
It is dark on the sidelines of El Cajon Valley’s soccer field, even with the lights on, but the broad smile of Abraham Canales is still clearly visible.
The Braves had just tied their conference opener against Open Division team Granite Hills, 2-2, after leading for most of the game. For a Division IV team with only five returning players, of which Canales is one, that feels like a good way to begin league.
Last year, the Braves took home the state title, giving them quite the name to live up to this season. Unfortunately, the players who won that title are noticeably absent from the field, with only two seniors in starting positions and 11 returners unable to join the team this season.
To compound circumstances, last season’s successes promoted the proud Braves from the Grossmont Valley league to the Grossmont Hills league, where their competition will be DI, DII and DIII teams. They will be a little fish a very competitive pond.
But none of these factors are what make the Braves an interesting team to follow as they head into conference.
El Cajon Valley’s soccer program is comprised almost completely of immigrants and refugees from all corners of the world.
“That’s going to be a constant here,” head coach Antonio Lavenant said of the program.
The school rises up in the middle of downtown El Cajon, a huge immigrant community in San Diego. Ninety percent of the players on last year’s championship team were refugees, Lavenant said, some who had been living in the U.S. for less than a year and many whose families had had to flee because of the violence and instability near their homes.
“Now we have different kids from different parts of the world,” said Lavenant. “We have a kid from the Congo, our goalkeeper, and it’s a different language and a different culture.”
Communication, especially, is an interesting facet of the multinational team, who are currently 0-1-3 in league.
“It’s hard when some of them have barely learned the language,” said Lavenant. “We had an incident early in the season where one of my center backs got his nose broken because of a miscommunication. My goalkeeper didn’t speak up because his language management isn’t strong in English.”
The center is now healthy and back in the game, and Congolese sophomore goalie Adile Basimise is holding his own in the box, but the language dynamic continues to play out its own narrative on the field.
Mostly, it is Arabic that is spoken during games and practices as boys from Jordan and Iraq guide the ball along the field, but Canales, who is from El Salvador, said everyone adapts.
“I know how to call the ball [in Arabic],” he said, and adds with a laugh, “And I am teaching them Spanish.”
But more than that, Canales said soccer operates as a universal language for the team.
“It’s hard understanding, but when we’re playing the game, everything is the same,” he said. “We know what we’re doing, even if we don’t understand them.”
Lavenant said a big part of his job as coach has become helping players understand and reconcile their cultural differences.
“You’re trying to get the kids not to be oil and water,” he said. “To be a team, you’ve got to do that.”
Senior starter Liyon Kalyana, the team captain, originally from Baghdad, Iraq, said he is doing his best to take on a leadership role that will bring everyone together.
“We have to make sure that everyone shows up to practice and trains hard so that when we show up to the game we play our best,” he said.
Despite the odds, Kalyana said he is determined to have another great season.
“We’ve got young players, but we’re still coming out with the same heart,” he said. “We are going to win league, CIF and State, same as last year.”
Canales, though similarly-minded, has already found a victory to celebrate in: a diversity of friendships -- and both players agree their experience on this team has been more impactful than the hope of winning another title that brought them together.
“[This team] made me more friendly and got me to know more people,” said Canales. “I never thought of being close to anyone from another country in this school, and yet here we are together with everyone.”
Parent coaches make all the difference for girl's tennis team
By Mary York
In East County, Steele Canyon is the girl’s tennis team to beat. The long-standing program has
had a successful run these last few years with winning seasons, league and CIF titles, and
phenomenal standout players. But for many of the girls who participate, the unusually large
program is more than just a winning tennis team. It is a second chance.
Steele Canyon is one of only a few tennis programs that has a ‘no cut’ policy -- any girl who tries
out is welcome to play for the team.
“If a kid comes out, they can participate,” said Cougar head coach Jerry Segawa. “This year we
have about 52 girls.”
A necessary side-effect of the ‘no cut’ policy is a very large roster. It is here that the Cougar’s
tradition of including parent volunteers in the coaching staff has made a huge difference.
Segawa calls parents “the secret to Steele Canyon’s success.”
The marriage between the ‘no cut’ policy and Steele Canyon’s willing parent coaches has
created not only a winning program, but an opportunity for many girls to pursue athletics when it
would have otherwise been impossible.
Segawa said Steele Canyon cultivates players at every level.
“Students who are not yet at the competitive level can be on the team and work to get better,”
he said. “Athletes who get cut from another sport can then join tennis, and students who
probably would never be good enough athletes to compete get the experience of competitive
high school athletics, the team experience and of course the ‘bus rides.’”
But when the practice courts are full, supplying good instruction to everyone who comes out can
be a challenge. Parent coach Scott Spurgeon said this is why the parent volunteers have
become so important to the team.
“It’s a lot of babysitting when you have fifty kids,” said Spurgeon. “But I’d rather have kids out
playing tennis than on their phones, doing something actually athletic. And some kids who have
never played end up becoming really good players.”
Spurgeon’s oldest daughter, Holly, is one such player. She had just made varsity cheer as a
freshman when a kick in the face during a cheer routine helped her make the decision to switch
to tennis. She has taken the whole Spurgeon family with her. Her first year in tennis, she won
the Junior Varsity tournament and is now the top-ranked singles player at Steele Canyon,
placing third in league this, her senior year.
Cat Spurgeon, the family’s youngest, had intended to be a gymnast, but a hamstring injury
knocked her from competition. Tennis at Steele Canyon seemed like the best hope for
continuing in athletics.
“I was like, I’m not going to get cut so I might as well,” said Cat. “Turns out, I liked tennis better
But Segawa believes that parent coaches do not just serve as “extra hands.” In the nine years
that Segawa has been with the Cougars, he said the parent volunteers have been an integral
part of the team. Many have stayed on with the program several years after their own child has
graduated. Parent coaches have ranged in ability, from being ranked community players, like
volunteer coach Michael Espinosa, to just having their own high school experiences to glean
from, like Spurgeon.
“Most of the time, it’s not just somebody saying, ‘I want to coach, I want to help,’” said Segawa.
“Most of the time it’s been a parent whose child’s been in the program at least one year and
they see what we’re working with and I’ve been able to see that they’re not one of those parents
on the outside of the fence yelling and screaming and waving their hands.”
In spite of negative stereotypes that exist of parents getting involved in their kid’s sports
activities, Segawa said having parents on the coaching staff has brought dimension to the team.
“I think the coaches who are parents or that have their child in the high school program or level
can relate a little bit better than say a coach who has no children,” he said. “They may be more
aware of how high school students are.”
Sometimes, Spurgeon said, his most useful capacity at a tennis meet is picking players up after
a poor set.
“When kids get down, they get rattled, I just go out there for moral support and say, ‘hey, how’d
school go today’ and try to take their mind off it,” said Spurgeon.
There may be something to say for the parental presence on the court. Cat Spurgeon said she
likes having the parent volunteers around during practice, especially her own, despite being a
self-proclaimed “bit of a sass.”
“It’s more practice time getting our stroke right or serving,” she said. “It’s easier to play with
them there. They’re friendlier, they ask about our day.”
Ultimately, Segawa said, Steele Canyon’s legacy of parent coaching has further endeared the
program and the sport to its athletes, creating a family heritage.
“It definitely helps, and not only because of having extra bodies to help coach,” said Segawa. “It
shows the girls that their parent cares for the program and is there to help.”
Rivalry week is a special thing. Teams across the country get the chance to play their most
historic or hated rival for a winner take all match-up. The winners get a year of heckling and
pride, while the losers take a year wondering and working on how to get back next year. Here’s a
preview of three major rivalry games in San Diego County tonight, with a unique perspective
from a player on six different teams. Tonight decides how the energy and school pride will be for
the next 365 days. Here’s to the regular season, and the best night of the year for prep sports.
“Everyone knows how important this game is for not just the team, but for the community”
— Cole Mihalinec, Torrey Pines senior cabinet member and linebacker
The Torrey Pines Falcons and La Costa Canyon Mavericks do not like each other. The meetings
between the two teams always bring out the rowdiest crowds, hungriest players, and highest of
stakes. The winner of the emotion-filled matchup gets an entire year to live up the win and use
every opportunity to let their rival know about it. The winning team brings their school great
pride as everyone on both campus’ are itching for a win over their arch-rival.
The 2017 ‘Beach Bowl’ will take place at Torrey Pines this year. TP and LCC hold the same
record (6-3), and have split the series taking three games a-piece in the past six years.
The Falcons and Mavericks’ seasons and roster are a direct reflection of each other. Both holding
the same record, they have excelled offensively with incredibly athletic quarterbacks and
powerful running backs. Jason Heine and Mac Bingham have brought in a new essence of speed
to the falcons Wing-T offensive force. Not to mention senior tailback Sully O’Brien who scored
five touchdowns in the falcons 41-9 victory last season. Jake Neufeld and Karson Lippert have
shocked the county with their consistency and big play potential.
Defensively, each team highlights a hard hitting outside linebacker that has been with the
program for years. Beau Morgans of TP has been starting on the Falcons defense for three
seasons now and is a proven force to be reckoned with. Cade Madeira, standing at 6’3 225
pounds, combines his size and high football IQ to torture opposing offenses. The matchup
between the high-powered offenses and tough defenses will be one that comes down to a few
pivotal moments in the game.
Speaking with Madeira, the message was clear for tonight. “I think we have a fantastic game
plan that will lead us to a victory” he said.
After a big loss to the falcons last season as they won the avocado league championship, the
Mavs are entering with a chip on their shoulder. “My teammates and I have been looking
forward to this game for a while, it’s always an exciting game with lots of energy.”
Speaking with senior cabinet member Cole Mihalinec, he described the team’s confidence in
coach Ron Gladnick and his staff’s game plan. “They always prepare us so well, they put so
much work into what they do to make us better and have been working nonstop all week long for
For both teams, the game is a community affair, Ed Burke Field will be packed with fans from
the TP LCC areas. For all the players, a win in the ‘Beach Bowl’ is more than lights on a
scoreboard, it’s bringing pride to the school and everyone in the area. “everyone knows how
important this game is not just for the team, but for the community” Mihalinec said.
The Falcons will be in their all black uniforms, the Mavericks in their all whites, with their
student sections following suit.
Ed Burke Field will be loud, packed and proud tonight; and for whoever comes on top can
always and forever say they are a winner.
The Holy Bowl: Cathedral vs. St. Augustine
“This game is truly the biggest and most anticipated game of the season” – Kai Brown,
Cathedral Catholic Quarterback
The Holy Bowl. Dons versus Saints. Since 1966 the Holy Bowl has been the gem of San Diego
high school football. The famed rivalry is far more than just a football game on a given Friday
night. It is a tradition, a select club, and a chance to forever be in the record books etched as a
Tonight, we will see the 4-5 Cathedral Catholic Dons (Uni) and the 6-3 St. Augustine Saints
square-off in Carmel Valley at Cathedral’s home field.
A loss for Cathedral tonight would give them their first losing season since 2012. But the loss to
Saints would a much tougher one to swallow. To catch a glimpse at how important the game is, I
reached out to Dons QB Kai Brown.
Asking Kai what the week of practice leading up to the game has been like, the full feel for the
rivalry started to come out. “The energy has been incredible...knowing the importance of this
game and the history behind the greatest rivalry in San Diego Football just builds the excitement
and passion in our team,” he said.
The Holy Bowl is much more than just a one day a year rivalry however. Brown described how
former players and coaches have given their insight into the tradition and sanctity of the game.
“The thing they have stressed the most is how much this game means long-term, how the Holy
Bowl is a game you will discuss with people 30 years after you’ve played ball. Whether you win
or lose the Holy Bowl will be the subject of conversation in the future.”
There’s no doubt that in the past and future the Holy Bowl has and will shape high school
football careers, but for tonight, the focus for Brown and the rest of the Dons is to out every
piece together. “We’re ready to execute…we’ve been taking care of the little things and now we
have an opportunity to show what our team can do.”
For the Saints, it’s a mission to avenge their tough 35-0 pummeling last season at home. Saints
may be the favorite this year, as they have won four games straight.
Interviewing senior LB Isaac ‘Ike’ Hall, the Saints are bringing everything they have tonight.
“We have all been very focused in what we have been doing this week…We just want to go out
and play to the best of our ability tomorrow.”
For Hall and his teammates, tonight is much more than just a game. They even had every player
who has been a part of a Holy Bowl win stand up and share the experience in a team meeting this
week. “It’s definitely a special game, and a very special one to win. We won my sophomore year
and lost my junior year, and I don’t want that feeling again.”
Tonight’s game will get the best effort from each team and will also host proud alumni from the
epic rivalry. Kickoff at 7pm.
La Jolla Battle-Bish Bowl-Bishops vs. La Jolla Country Day
The Battle of La Jolla is always a special game. Two private schools in the same area. Tonight at
6:30 The Bishops School will host La Jolla Country Day in chase of their second straight
undefeated regular season.
‘The Bish Bowl’ as the game is referred to by the Knights, will be heavily in favor of Bishops.
The Knights are undefeated and have outscored their opponents by 340 total points. Not to
mention, they have arguably the best wide receiver in San Diego County, Mozes Mooney.
Mooney averages over 100 yards receiving a game, and has grabbed 16 touchdowns.
Speaking with Mozes, there was far more to this game—and the season—than just himself. “For
me and all of us seniors, this week has been all about helping the younger guys. We know we are
going to need them this week and in the playoffs, and I want to help them improve.”
Tonight’s game is a rivalry game, meaning said: anything can happen. Mooney emphasized the
amount of focus the Knights have had this week. “Everyone just has a different mindset this
week…our coaches are setting us up with a great game plan…and we are just ready to go out and
The week of work in Mooney’s eyes have been a combination of both focus as well as energy.
“The energy this week has been special, everyone’s on the same page and really wants it” he told
Mooney and the rest of the Knights have put together one of the best seasons in the county, as
they are ranked at number 6 in the latest SDPI Top 10.
On the other side of the ball, is the La Jolla Country Day Torreys. The Torreys are even at a 4-4
record, but have shown great signs of life this season.
Coming off a tough loss to Santa Fe Christian last week and now being thrown into another huge
rivalry week against an even tougher opponent is a hard thing to do. But in talking with senior
wide receiver Alex Cho, the Torreys have no plan on backing down, and have a few topics of
When asked what he thought about the termed ‘Bish Bowl,’ Cho responded with a chuckling
“no…nobody calls it that over here…that must be a Bishop’s thing.”
As for the game, Cho spoke on their approach this week. “We have just been treating it like
every other week, we know it’s a big game, but we are taking it one day at a time.” Cho and the
Torreys have a very strong coaching staff, led by head coach Tyler Hales. “We are always
confident in our coaches’ scheme and they work very hard to set us up to be ready for every
Not only are the coaches leading the Torreys, but the captains have been pushing them to be their
best each and every week. “Carson [Greene], Spencer [Alligood], Chase [Mangini] and Michael
[Chandler] have been awesome this year. They really bring out the best of us and get more out of
us each and every week.”
“As a team, we are excited for the big rivalry game, and feel prepared and excited to go out and
The Battle of La Jolla, The Bish Bowl, The Battle by the Beach, whatever you may call it:
Bishops vs. La Country Day will be a fight for not only league and playoff seeding, but most
importantly: bragging rights for the next 365 days. Out.
The Madison Warhawks are coming off one of their most successful seasons in program
history. Winning the CIF Division 1 title and California Division 2-AA Championship. Coming
back after such a great season, the question was how they could repeat their greatness after
losing so many seniors. With several under classmen stepping up, the Warhawks are flying high
with an undefeated 6-0 record. Sophomore RB Ke’ontae Springs and Junior RB Kenan Christon
have exploded on the ground this season, both averaging over 100 rushing yards a game. Their
combination of quickness and strength has given coach Rick Jackson a lot to smile about so far.
The strongest unit at Madison, and arguably in San Diego, is their defensive front. Led by Chris
Fatilua, Demanuel Talauti and Cesar Nillaga, the experienced group has been torturing opposing
running backs and quarterbacks each and every game.
The Warhawks have blown out every team in their way this year, on both sides of the
ball. Looking ahead, the Warhawks toughest game of the season should be this week’s matchup
against Point Loma, but I don’t see them coming close to losing any game in the regular season
and will be very surprised if they don’t breeze through the next month and finish with a 10-0
With their offensive capability and defensive prominence, the Madison Warhawks are my
number one ranked team in San Diego.
#2 Mission Hills:
My number two ranked team in San Diego, are the Mission Hills Grizzlies. The Grizzlies
are one of the strongest and most talented teams in San Diego. They are standing tall at 6-0, and
have all the momentum in the world. Their 41-3 win over former powerhouse Oceanside and 42-
point victory over Rancho Bernardo have become average. Already, they have had a season to
remember, outscoring their six opponents 257-38. Everyone knew Tuttle, Dixon and Olave
would be an impressive unit. But the numbers and sheer dominance these three-along with the
rest of the offense-have displayed so far is out of proportion. Senior running back Damon
Wigand’s talent has proven to make the Mission Hills offense a serious force to be reckoned
MHHS has showed up every Friday night and controlled the game leaving no doubt.
However, they are now in the thick of their schedule, and will have arguably the hardest four
game stretch in the city with LCC, El Camino, Torrey Pines and San Marcos upcoming. Every
week will get harder as the season progresses and the only thing that’s in their way is fatigue,
playing four top 10 teams in the next four weeks, then jumping into (most likely) the Open
Division playoffs. Despite their upcoming mountain to climb, the Grizzlies have shown San
Diego County that they are the team to beat.
The Helix Scotties lost to Paraclete high school 23-6 on September 2 nd . The Honor Bowl
loss against a very talented Paraclete team was one of the worst performances Helix has
displayed in recent history. Take away that one loss, and they are the best team in San Diego.
They undoubtedly have the most talent, speed and depth in the county. And after losing in CIF
championship last season, they are playing with a chip on their shoulder. In their five wins this
year, their defense has given up just 14 points, and that’s not a typo.
Unfortunately, the loss to Paraclete cannot be overlooked. Holding them at #3 in the
county rather than #1. The trio of Rashad Scott, Isaac Taylor-Stuart, and Carson Baker have been
absolutely rolling all season long and have shown no sign of stopping in the past month.
The Helix Scotties could very well find themselves returning to the Open Division
Championship, and are somehow finding a way to improve every week. With that, they are a
ScottyG top 6 team in San Diego County.
#4 La Costa Canyon:
The Mavericks are having their best season since the days of Kenny Stills and Darrin
Brown. Their 6-0 start is the best in the Sovacool era (2010-present). After a poor 2016 season,
the Mavs have come to play in 2017. Their undefeated reign has been highlighted by returning
QB Jake Neufeld, who is able to throw the ball down the field with accuracy and lead the fast
Maverick offensive attack. Track star Karson Lippert has effectively shown that he is the perfect
back for La Costa, solidifying their paired dual-threat attack.
With two big league wins over Carlsbad and El Camino, LCC is a serious team to fight
for the avocado league championship and even a CIF championship. Their matchup against
Mission Hills this week should show a lot about both squads.
With that, the La Costa Canyon Mavericks are on pace to have one of their most
successful seasons in program history and are a Scotty G top 6 team in San Diego County.
The Ramona Bulldogs have been steamrolling their opponents all season long. Their now
6-0 record and overpowering wins to get there has them in my top five. The Bulldogs have been
climbing up the rankings every week and may be one of the most respected teams in the county.
The Bulldogs all around offensive attack has been highlighted by Senior Tristan Stacy
and Junior Sean McDonald. The Stacy-McDonald duo in Ramona has been unstoppable to date.
The Bulldog defense has been an absolute wall to date, not giving any team a chance to
come close to a win. The strength of the Ramona defense and the talented offense has made
every game a blowout, as they are one of the few undefeated teams in San Diego. With that, they
are the next Scotty G top 6 team in San Diego
#6 Torrey Pines:
Rounding out my Top 6, are the Torrey Pines Falcons. TP is coming off their
biggest win of the season, beating the previously unbeaten San Marcos 38-21. Coming into the
season, it was known that LB Louis Bickett, RB Sully O’Brien, and RB/LB Beau Morgans
would be big players for the falcons. But, with Senior defensive backs Peter Nelson and Gaston
Schenk playing at such a high level, Torrey Pines has become a complete team with no apparent
weaknesses. Last week, Schenk grabbed a huge INT and Nelson delivered with an 80-yard TD
reception and a 4 th quarter pick.
The real difference makers for TP this year however, are Junior RB Mac Bingham and
QB Jason Heine. Last week, Heine racked up 176 rushing yards and 120 passing yards to lead
the Falcons. Bingham, a USC baseball commit, found his way into the endzone twice, including
a 52-yard touchdown run late in the 4 th to ice the game.
Torrey Pines has two losses on the season, but have shown that they are a very tough
team to beat.
With lots of momentum heading into the homestretch of the Avocado-West League,
don’t be too surprised to see head coach Ron Gladnick and the falcons on top again. And with
that, they are a ScottyG top 6 team in San Diego County. Out.
San Ysidro water polo’s underdog quest for a CIF championship
San Diego Prep Insider
By Mary York
In the shadow of a season promising to be filled with the clash of aged rivalries and performances from established programs around the county, San Ysidro’s water polo team stands as a reminder that great athletes can come from anywhere.
On paper, San Ysidro does not stand a chance. The program, barely seven years old, plays in the Metro South Bay league, an underwhelming force in the world of San Diego water polo. The Cougars’ roster is down by half from last year -- just nine boys, and only two of those are seniors. They also do not have their own pool, meaning they have to travel for practice every day. And this year, they have a new coach.
Even facing such circumstances, Edgard Espinosa, the man who stepped up to coach the Division III team, said the squad remains undaunted.
“These guys are ready to play to win a league championship which got taken from them last year,” he said. “They are pretty experienced for being young. We don’t have the size, but these guys can play.”
Espinosa, a long-time water polo coach and former referee, said he has seen his share of water polo programs and players, but nothing quite compares to the nine boys who have come out to practice for him every day for the last nine months.
“This group is the tightest and most motivated group I’ve ever had,” he said. “I don’t know what they did, whether they talked it over or whether I beat them up for so long that it finally clicked, but these guys want to get better.”
Last season, San Ysidro was knocked from CIF in the first round by Monte Vista. This year, the Cougars are aiming not just for the second round, but possibly for a Division Championship.
The plan: a rigorous off-season.
For the first time since its founding, the Cougar water polo program has played year-round. Espinosa said getting thrown into the pool with the seasoned North County teams was just what his boys needed.
“North county schools are more experienced in water polo,” he said. “These guys have just been around water polo since they were ten or eleven years old and that’s something to respect. That’s something that I want to bring to our guys. Now [San Ysidro] has not just last year, but they also have off-season experience. They got to play with the big boys.”
San Ysidro was 7-5 going into their first conference match in September.
But setting up matches and putting in practice hours is more complicated for San Ysidro than is typical. The Cougars do not have enough players to create a junior varsity team -- they barely have enough to fill their varsity roster.
Espinosa said when he took over the program as head coach he wanted to create a new culture, one that would build credibility and respect among the players.
“I happen to be pretty strict,” he said. “So the [players] who just kind of hung out and came to practice whenever they wanted, they found their way out.”
Although he has no regrets about the cuts and losses to the team, Espinosa said the inability to give opposing schools both a varsity and JV game has made it more difficult to schedule meets. And with only nine players, if someone has to miss practice for studies, even a team scrimmage becomes impossible.
Missing practice to study is sometimes a necessity for the Cougars, seven of whom are AP students. Co-captains Jakob Balderas and Enrique Balvaneda said they understand the importance of setting the tone in practice and in academics.
“We’re the role models,” said Balderas “If they see us slacking off outside the pool, so will they. We try our best to stay well-rounded.”
Balvaneda said taking care of the team is a huge priority for him and Balderas.
“It’s number one because we have very few numbers and we can’t afford to lose anyone,” he said. “If they see I’m trying my best, they’ll try their best.”
Getting to practice is another whole issue. Because San Ysidro does not have a pool, the Cougars practice at Mar Vista High School, a 20 minute drive towards the coast. Their time at the pool is limited.
“I think a lot of teams are doing more,” said Espinosa. “We don’t have the luxury of having a pool. Some teams go four hours a day. They swim in the morning so they don’t need to waste their time in the afternoon, so they get right into polo.”
A half hour run to the beach and back precedes a thirty-minute swim warm-up for the Cougars. They work on passing and shooting drills, followed by a theory lesson and a scrimmage. Sometimes, Espinosa said, he will reverse the workout so they practice shooting when they are good and tired.
Overall, it comes to about two and a half hours of practice, five days a week. Time will tell if it is enough.
Despite the inherent setbacks, San Ysidro’s pod of polo players refuses to be discouraged.
“We don’t see it as a disadvantage,” said Espinosa. “I can’t explain it, I have never seen a group more motivated. There is not one of them that doesn’t want to do it. Even the slowest one gets pulled and pushed. Even the slowest one is trying hard. Everyday I get three or four of them who will tell me, ‘I want to do this,’ or ‘this is my goal for today.’”
It is a strength of mind, Espinosa said, that keeps the team going.
“We don’t quit,” he said. “We’re pretty resilient to whether a team is beating us by 20 or we’re losing by one. We’re going to give you our best shot.”
For a game as exhausting as water polo, mental endurance is as important as physical stamina, said Balderas.
“I have a little voice in the back of my head that keeps pushing me,” he said. “I don’t want to be last, I want to be first. That voice pushes me and tells me to push my teammates also.”
Although Espinosa said he does not believe in area-code disadvantages, he does attribute much of the boys’ inner strength to their upbringing -- hard-work is a trait learned first at home.
“I don’t want to say it’s demographics but these guys, some of them come from broken or low-income homes,” he said. “They don’t see their parents because they are working two jobs to make ends meet. So when they come to practice and see nine brothers, they like it. They think, ‘Wow, I’m part of something.’”
The long off-season played its part in that as well, said Balderas.
“We played over summer so we have a lot of team bonding,” he said. “We see each other as brothers, even though we’re not blood.”
Balderas said the team is hungry to win, and a CIF championship will be more than just a title to them.
“When you hear the name San Ysidro, you just think of a bunch of kids who don’t have anything,” he said. “But if you can be CIF champions then suddenly you’re something. I don’t want to give up on these boys. This means a lot to us.”
San Ysidro is currently undefeated in league.
The season is young and anything can happen in playoffs, but Espinosa said he has full confidence in his team.
“These guys are going to make a splash, I believe it,” he said. “I truly believe that these guys have a shot to win DIII for CIF this year.”
6 THINGS WITH SCOTTY G6 - SEPTEMBER 29th, 2017
1. Overview: The Importance of The Bye-Week
The annual bye-week can be looked at in many ways. A fresh start or a new beginning, a
time to rest and regroup, or a time to kick things up a notch and get an accelerated week of work
in. The bye-week offers teams many different approaches. While San Diego is home to many
talented football teams, competition is tough each and every week. The bye-week marks the
halfway point through the 2017 football season. A year that has been exciting and very
unpredictable. I caught up with members from five different teams from across San Diego
County to get a feel on how similar (or different) teams have approached their week.
2. West Hills: Hottest Squad in San Diego?
The first team I caught up with was the West Hills Wolf Pack. The Pack holds a 4-1
record and are led by Head Coach Casey Ash. West Hills has been very hot lately. Winning 4
games in a row now with a combined margin of victory of 75 points. Their offense this season
has been absolutely electric, with 133 points scored through 5 games. Leading the wolf pack’s
air attack, is senior wide receiver Cade Weaver. In 5 games, Weaver has 284 yards receiving and
has found his way into the end-zone 6 times, an essential star for the Pack and a key ingredient
for their success. Weaver has emerged as a top Wide-Out in Division II. In speaking with
Weaver however, the key to WHHS’s success is about the team as a whole. “Working as a team
has been a key factor to us this year…This has allowed us to be good on both sides of the
football…and achieve the upper hand that is necessary to win games.” With many big games
coming for the pack, look for the leadership of Weaver and West Hills close-knit crew of seniors.
With so much going right for the Wolf Pack I asked Weaver how they plan on keeping
their momentum and improving as a team. “Our main focus has been to fix the mistakes…and
make ourselves better” he told me. The approach to the bye-week is pretty simple for the Pack,
get ready to really show who they are. “Our goal for the second half of the season is to show
people way wolf pack football is really about…by coming into league play with something to
prove” Cade said. Weaver, a 3-sport Varsity Athlete, and the rest of the West Hills Wolfpack
have started the season to an epic start. Heading into the final stages of their season, they will
have to prove themselves every week, something Weaver is confident and hungry to do. “We
want to show that we are a contending football team.” West Hills will play Valhalla at home next
Friday, October 6 th .
3. Point Loma: Have the Pointers found their groove?
The Pointers started their 2017 campaign with an 0-2 record. With losses to two of the
top teams in San Diego County, El Camino and Ramona, Point Loma was not off to the right
start. Since then however, they have won three straight games against tough opponents, beating
Lincoln and Olympian. Just like West Hills, the Pointers are heading into their bye-week with
lots of momentum. With athletes like Josh Ball, Kyle Grady, and Malik Moore; they are loaded
with firepower offensively. Speaking with wide receiver Malik Moore, he spoke on their recent
success and the basic concepts they have been mastering. “Everyone goes in, follows the game
plan and just executes. [We come] with the best attitude possible.” For Moore and the Pointers,
the job has been sticking to the core pillars of their program that has led them to winning big
games the past three weeks.
Point Loma led by head coach Mike Hastings have set it very similar to the other game-
weeks. The name of the game has been to keep their focus and their eyes set on their next game.
“We can’t get lazy” Moore said, “getting complacent is the last thing we want to do so we’re
doing everything possible [to treat it like a normal week.]”
As for the second half of the season, the goal is simple according to Malik. “We want to
win the western league and aim for CIF.” The Pointers will play St. Augustine next Friday night
4. Crawford: The most pleasant surprise in San Diego County
The next team I am breaking down is the Crawford Colts. At the beginning of the season,
who would have guessed that Crawford would be 5-0 while absolutely crushing every team in
their path. Their total margin of victory to date is 135 points. Crawford’s potent offense is driven
by dual-threat quarterback Shawn Balala. Shawn has nearly 600 passing yards through the air
and has thrown 12 touchdowns in 5 games. On the ground, he has close to 200 yards, paired with
running back Niko Perry, the Colts can burn any defense both through the air and on the ground.
Speaking with Balala, he described the success through the first five games of the season.
“Our offense has been able to throw, [making] our offense unpredictable and allowing us to put
points on the board” he said.
Focusing on their bye-week, the Colts are approaching it with a greater focus on their
game-plan than anything else. “Our main focus is to get a defensive plan in to stop University
City’s offense” he told me. Approaching possibly the toughest game of their season, utilizing the
bye-week to game-plan is crucial and should benefit the Colts immensely.
As for the next half of the season as a whole, the goal is to continue their winning ways.
“Our goal for our second half of the season is to make it to CIF and possibly get a ring.” The
Colts will play University City next Friday at 3:30pm.
5. La Jolla: Time to Bounce Back
A team that has not had the ball roll their way much this season, is the La Jolla Vikings.
The Vikings currently hold a 1-4 record. Three of their four losses have been by 10 points or
less. In recent history, the annual bye-week has proven to change the fate of struggling teams.
For La Jolla, it could very well be just what they need, some time to regroup. Speaking with
senior lineman Tino Mendez, this is exactly what they have been doing. “We’ve been competing
more than ever and pushing each other to get better each and every practice” he told me. The
emphasis on getting that final push is set to prepare them for league play. “We’ve been in some
close ball games that just haven’t gone our way, we need to be able to finish.”
Coach Tyler Roach has placed a real emphasis on the idea of ‘Finishing.’ The Vikings are
a couple plays away from being a 4-1 team. They have the talent, quarterback Trevor Scully
averages over 200 yards passing a game, while Gabe Solis is closing in on 500 receiving yards.
The Vikings have been utilizing their bye-week to working hard to be able to get that final fight
and come away on top of these close games. “I am more confident than ever that we will be able
to finish heading out of this bye” said Mendez.
With league play approaching, La Jolla High still has a chance to accomplish their main
goal of the season. “Our goal is to finally bring a league title back to La Jolla.” Don’t be
surprised if you see the Vikings turning some heads in the near future. They will play Hoover at
home next Friday at 6:30pm.
6. Kearny: On their way to a perfect season?
Just like Crawford, who would have thought that Kearny would be 5-0 at this point. Their
offense has been unstoppable, their defense only makes big plays, and their coaching schemes
have dominated every opponent. Kearny has scored over 30 points in all five of their games,
including a 41-0 massacre over San Ysidro last Friday night. A big proponent of the high
numbers Kearny has put up this season is senior running back Brenton Bell. Brenton already has
over 1,000 rushing yards on the year, a major 10-game season accomplishment. Bell has also
walked his way into the end-zone 12 times through five games.
Bell described to me how the Komets have been staying humble as they have gained
more attention every week. “what has worked best for us so far is just taking each week, game by
game and not getting caught into the hype…we just plan to not focus on the "hype" and focus on
ourselves” he said. The difference maker for the Komets is their assortment of talent. “what
separates us from other packs is that we don't only have one or two threats offensively, we have
multiple threats that can any moment in time score and more importantly our O-line that makes
everything work for us.”
The bye-week is giving the Komets time to attack many areas: Schemes, Health, and
Conditioning. “We have focused on new schemes to give teams new looks…along with
conditioning so we are able to last 4 full quarters.”
Bell and the Komets may be one of the most motivated teams in San Diego County.
When asked what their team goals may be for the rest of the season, Bell proudly listed their 4
goals, which have remained since the beginning of the season. “Win league, obtain a top seed in
playoffs, and win CIF. We haven’t achieved any of these goals yet, therefore we need to
continue working as we have been” he told me. With the amount of talent paired with the clear
discipline and maturity on this squad, keep an eye out for the Komets. Kearny will play
Coronado at home next Friday at 6:30pm. Out.
6 THINGS WITH SCOTTY G6 - SEPTEMBER 15th, 2017
Mission Hills v Carlsbad
This game to me, is the game of the week. Let’s go over the numbers. 3-0 vs. 3-0,
Carlsbad has scored 120 combined points, Mission Hills has scored 138. Carlsbad has given up
just 14 points, Mission Hills only 28. The combined margin of victory between both of these
teams is 216 points. Without a doubt, this is a showdown between the two most eye-opening
teams in San Diego County to date.
The Jack Tuttle to Chris Olave connection so far has been a pure beauty, as they have
already connected for 7 touchdowns. But on the other side of the field, we have seen the
emergence of Troy Bloomquist and Jacob “Asa” Turner, who have connected for 4 TD’s of their
own. Turner, who plays both ways, will find himself guarding Olave very frequently throughout
the night. This may be one of the only times this season that Olave is not on a mismatch as
Turner’s height and strength match up very evenly.
With both of these teams being so prolific through the air, tonight’s game could come
down to a shootout and whoever has the ball last. With two teams that have shown such
excellence so far, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be an SCPI featured Game to Watch.
Prediction: Tuttle is too much for the Lancers as they take their first Avocado West League win.
Final Score: Mission Hills 35 Carlsbad 24
Torrey Pines v El Camino
Another Avocado-West League matchup that San Diego is lucky enough to be a part of.
Torrey Pines take the bus up north to battle the El Camino Wildcats. And by battle, I mean
battle. This game could not be written up any better. Torrey Pines is coming off a championship
season, as they defied all odds to win the Avocado-West League in 2016. Torrey Pines, although
losing many seniors last year, have filled them all and are relying on their impressive group of
returners. On the offensive side of the ball, the Falcons are led by 3 year starting RB Sully
O’Brien. O’Brien scored the only touchdown in last year’s TP v El Camino game as the Falcon
defense kept Chris Brown off their side of the field, winning by a score of 7-3. The Falcon
offensive line is highlighted by returning starters Jacob Raab, Michael Perrone, and Brian
Driscoll. Taking advantage of the veteran line, Junior Fullback Mac Bingham has scorched
defenses all season long. The falcons Wing-T offense is a strain to defend as it is, but when you
throw in an experienced line and super athletes with the ball in their hands, its next to
impossible to stop every play.
Defensively for Torrey Pines, 3 year starting safety Beau Morgans has taken a load this
season. Committed to the University of Arizona for Rugby, Beau is the most aggressive player
on the Falcon’s defense. But the true leader of the defense, is Senior Linebacker Louis Bickett.
Bickett has a great eye for reading opposing offenses and was a key component in the
shutdown of the El Camino offense last season. New transfers Jackie Plashkes and Jack Raser
have also proved themselves to be a part of the hard-nosed falcon D. Peter Nelson and Gaston
Schenk are two skilled Cornerbacks, but they will have to step up to the challenge of guarding
Wayne Steward and Malachi Russell all night.
For El Camino, the key is to find a way to get Chris Brown some open space. If Brown
can find room to run, which will probably have to take some in game offensive adjustments,
then the Wildcat offense will be nearly unstoppable. If Brown can find open space than it opens
room for Rocky Katoanga to focus on the defensive side, and will give Malachi Russell and
Wayne Steward available for Jaden Casey to lead in one-on- one matchups.
The play of Rocky Katoanga on the defensive side is critical. Being one of the most
talented defensive players in San Diego County, if he can read the falcon offense successfully
then the Wildcat defense will be a powerful force.
This is a huge league game between two teams with a lot on the line, and there is many
ways the game can go. One thing is for sure though, this game will go four full, hard-fought
quarters. And that is why tonight’s TP v EC game is a SCPI Featured Game to Watch.
Prediction: Torrey Pines grinds their way to a hard-fought victory
Final Score: Torrey Pines 17 El Camino 14
Helix v Cathedral
A rematch of last year’s CIF Open Division Final. One that for sure could not, and should
not, be overlooked. Cathedral, defending San Diego CIF Champions and CA Division 1-AA State
Champs, are notably not the same team they were last season. And that is not a knock to the
2017 Dons, but the 2016 team is arguably one of the strongest and most talented teams in San
Diego County history. Their 16-0 record stands alone as the best record ever in San Diego.
Losing many seniors, they still are armored with talent. Most notably, Junior RB Shawn Poma.
Last season as a sophomore, Shawn ran for over 1300 yards, notching up 22 trips to the end
zone. Plain and simple, he is a stud. But don’t forget about the Scottie’s, with Carson Baker and
Rashaad Scott tearing it up on their end. Also, one of the most shocking stories of the summer,
was Isaac Taylor-Stuart’s transfer to Helix from St. Augustine. He has been dubbed the ‘Fastest
High School football player in the country’ after running a ridiculous 4.25 40-yard dash at The
Helix is 1-1, coming off a bye week after a tough loss to Paraclete HS from Lancaster, CA.
Cathedral stands at 1-2 with a loss to Del Oro out of Loomis, CA and a 37-point loss against
Orange Lutheran High School.
So far, it has been a disappointing season for each of these teams, especially after
coming off such successful years in 2016. The name of the game tomorrow is whoever can
make more plays and get themselves back on the right track. Helix v Cathedral has proved to be
a top game to watch these past couple of years, and for that, it is a SCPI Featured Game to
Prediction: Helix’s athletes fire away in the name of revenge
Final Score: Helix 35 Cathedral 17
Westview v Del Norte
Tonight, the Del Norte Nighthawks will travel 5 miles down the road to face off against
the Westview Wolverines in their first league game of the 2017 season. Both teams are coming
off bad losses to two top 10 teams in San Diego. Making this rivalry week for them possibly the
most pivotal matchup of the season.
Two teams filled with Seniors who grew up together, played with and against each other
as kids, and finally get to settle things for good. There are too many similarities between the
two. The fast-paced spread Wolverine offense led by their 3-year starting Quarterback Beau
Nelson facing the young speedy Nighthawk defense should keep everyone on the edge of their
Friday’s matchup will be a showdown of two of the quickest teams in the Palomar
League. Last year Del Norte’s defense showed out to take home a 12-0 victory. With tonight
being a true rivalry, and two teams looking desperately for a bounce back win, tonight’s battle
is a for sure SCPI Game to Watch.
Prediction: Beau Nelson and the Westview offense prove to be too much for the Nighthawks.
Final Score: Westview 28 Del Norte 14
Grossmont v Eastlake
Grossmont Daisean Crawford is a hard hitting LB
Shevell Sterling can run and is shifty
Noah Cress will match up well with Micah
Dylan Smith classic yet quick pocket passer
Tonight’s South Bay match-up is one worth keeping an eye on. Eastlake will travel to
Grossmont High School, in a face-off between two true dark horses.
Eastlake this season has mastered transitioning between size and speed. They have 6
linemen listed over 230 pounds, resulting in an impressive ground game anchored by Junior RB
Parker Merrifield. In the air, Eastlake has dynamic QB duo with both Daniel Amon and Rhyzon
Mccoy getting many reps. The man to find with the ball on the Eastlake side however is Micah
Pietila-Wiggs. Whether it’s a handoff, a screen pass, shovel pass, deep post, or even him
grabbing an INT; Pietila-Wiggs will make something happen. A two-sport star, Micah’s insane
athleticism is shown in every way imaginable on the football field. So far, he has been a terror
for defenses and has led the Titans to a productive start.
The Grossmont Hillers, just like Eastlake, have started their season at a 2-1 record. With
an 8-point loss to Bishop’s (SDPI ranked #7 team in SD), and a recent 61-point victory over
Hilltop, Grossmont has great potential to break into the top 10. Taking the load in trying to stop
Merrifield of Eastlake will be Senior LB Daisean Crawford, who’s hits can be heard in Oceanside.
Taking on Pietila-Wiggs out wide, will be Senior CB Noah Cress. Cress, standing at 5’8 will have
to match Micah’s speed and overpower him in aggression to be successful tonight.
On the offensive side, Dylan Smith will lead the Hillers through the air. Smith is a classic
pocket passer that can throw very well with strength as well as accuracy. When needed
however, Smith is equipped well with a quick and shifty set of legs. Speaking of legs, Shevell
Sterling Jr., Grossmont’s junior Running Back, can turn up field and get the tough yards
Grossmont will need to be successful against the stout Titan Defensive front. Smith’s main
target tonight will be Junior WR Desmond Carter. Desmond has 10 catches and 158 yards
receiving in the first 3 games and can only get better. Being a young player, look for Carter to be
targeted early and often tonight, most likely going one-on- one against Wiggs.
Both of the teams are coached very well and spend lots of time in the weight room and
practice field. Look for tonight’s game to truly come down to who wants it most. For that
tonight non-league matchup is a SCPI Featured Game to Watch.
Prediction: The experience and power of Grossmont edge out the Titans
Final Score: Grossmont 31 Eastlake 28
Ramona v Rancho Bernardo
Ramona is one of those teams that always seems to be up to something. This week, they
broke themselves into the SCPI San Diego Top 10. That means of course, an official breakdown
of the Bulldogs before they kick off tonight against Rancho Bernardo. Ramona is currently
undefeated, standing at 3-0, with an allotted score of 103-28. The Bulldogs now have two W’s
where they have scored over 40 points. Most of their scores have been by ground transit, but
not just one running back. Probably the best part about the Ramona offense is that everyone is
sharing the wealth. Tristan Stacy leads the team with 6 touchdowns on the year and has
emerged himself as a star, but there are four Bulldog backs that have over 100 rushing yards in
just 3 games. You have to tip your cap to both the Offensive Coordinator as well as the Ramona
Offensive Line for making holes for any and every back. Quarterback Casey Buggeln has also
been a very reliable passer for the Bulldogs, completing 47% of his passes and throwing 0
Defensively for the Dawgs, 7 players have 10+ tackles on the season. Junior MLB Jack
Drews and his Senior counterpart Joaquin Gonzalez eat sorry running backs at the line of
scrimmage as they have accounted for over 20 tackles each. Senior Defensive End Gabriel
Stallman leads the Defensive Line with 3 sacks on the season.
Ramona will play Rancho Bernardo tonight, who is 0-3 on the season. RB however is a
strong team that should not be overlooked. If it weren’t for a miraculous last second 40-yard
touchdown pass by Jaden Casey, RB would have stolen a win from El Camino, the SCPI ranked
number 6 team in San Diego. Slowing down the Bulldogs is a tough task to ask for, but never
count out the Broncos. Ramona’s hot-streak makes their matchup with Rancho Bernardo a for
sure SCPI Featured Game to Watch. Out.
Prediction: The Bulldog train keeps moving as they are simply just too much for RB.
Final Score: Ramona 28 Rancho Bernardo 7
6 THINGS WITH SCOTTY G6 - AUGUST 31ST, 2017
1 - Poway Steps Up
Poway High School is coming off a very impressive 11-2 season. But, they lost arguably the
greatest player in San Diego last season, Jared Adelman, along with many more strong seniors.
This season for the Titans started with a huge question mark. Poway, led by Senior RB Garrett
Von Nostrand, silenced everyone and started their season with an exclamation point, running all
over Bonita Vista with a final score of 39-7. Many players have had the opportunity to step up
and with many open spots. Speaking with Garrett, he talked about the importance of the players
who have risen to the occasion. “We have a few seniors who weren't starters last year stepping
up and filling those spots like Nathan Green at safety and TJ Elkington at quarterback to name a
couple. But we also have a lot of juniors stepping up, especially on the offensive and defensive
line, who have come a long way since the beginning of fall camp and are playing very well.”
With a large margin of victory, Garrett continued to talk about the great success of the Poway
offense, “we were able to run at will against them and when we needed to throw in two minute
drill at the end of the half TJ and our receivers stepped up and had a nearly perfect drive to score
before the half.”
With a tough upcoming game against one of the top teams in San Diego, Lincoln High, the
Titans are looking to perform even better than their near perfect game last Friday night. “We're
excited for this opportunity so we can show the county how good of a team we really are…if
everyone plays disciplined and does their job we're going to be successful.”
Poway will host the Lincoln Hornets Friday night (9/1) at 7pm.
2 - San Marcos most electric team in San Diego?
San Marcos started their season with one of the bigger wins in San Diego County, beating Vista
38-22. With stars like Kyle Phillips and Josh Bornes returning from very solid junior seasons, the
newest addition to the squad has pushed them to the next level. Miles Hastings started at QB last
year at Torrey Pines High School. In one of the largest San Diego transfers of the offseason,
Hastings transferred to SMHS. In his first game as a Knight, Miles threw for 255 yards and two
touchdowns. Speaking with Hastings on his quick success, it all starts with Head Coach Jason
Texler. “From day one coach Texler made me feel welcome here and my teammates have helped
me every step of the way...[coach Texler] has been teaching me everything I need to know to
make me successful.” As for Friday night, the key was quick passes, “[they] moved the ball well
for us, we have a lot of guys that are good with the ball in their hands so quick passes to get them
open field helps us move the ball.” Move the ball they did, proving themselves to be one of if not
the most electric offense in San Diego County.
Looking ahead, the Knights have a long season in a very competitive Avocado-West league. “As
a team I think one of the most important things is for us to all stay healthy because we have
extremely tough league games” said Hastings.
San Marcos has a special group of athletes this year, and are led very well by Coach Texler,
which should prove to be a very successful 2017 season.
Bonita Vista will host San Marcos this Friday (9/1) at 7pm.
3 - El Camino showed their stuff
One of the most talked about stories in the offseason was how good the El Camino Wildcats
would be this year. With QB Jaden Casey and RB Chris Brown (SDPI #1 ranked player in San
Diego), both returning for their 3 rd Varsity season, and with big names like Rocky Katoanga and
Wayne Steward, the Wildcats were set with stars. Just when you thought they had it all, wide
receiver Malachi Russell from Orange Glen, the number one WR in California last season in
both Touchdowns and receiving yards, transferred to ECHS. Malachi and the Wildcats
dismantled the Point Loma Pointers with a final score of 34-12, highlighted by Russell’s 184
yards receiving and three touchdowns. Speaking on his rhythm with Jaden Casey, Russell spoke
very highly of Jaden. “We just worked really hard every chance we could get. It is very easy to
form a relationship with Jaden Casey.” Despite Malachi and Jaden’s big night together, Brown
and Steward both found their way into the Pointer end zone on the ground. “The difference
maker in our squad is our high power offense from passing to running, the opponent has to
choose their poison, anything can work. Someone will be open for sure,” Malachi regarded.
With a big game against Rancho Bernardo this week, and an even tougher schedule ahead of
them, The Wildcats feel comfortable and ready to go. “On offense we need to play more smooth
and aggressive on every possession…and for our defense, just play even better than they did this
last Friday.” Fox Sports Southern California Prep Insider will be covering the matchup Friday
night as part of the SCPI Game Day Experience.
4 - Are the SP Golden Eagles back?
Last season, Granite Hills beat San Pasqual to end their season. To start the 2017 season, San
Pasqual dominated GHHS on every aspect, with a final total of 52-7. The game was a
culmination of a long offseason, and even longer summer with their eyes set on revenge. The
Golden Eagles party was hosted by Quarterback Westin Erdman. Erdman was the main man in
their 52-point show, including a 42 yard perfectly thrown touchdown pass after avoiding two
would be sacks. Speaking with Erdman, it was no surprise they had such a large margin of
victory. “We were just ready from the start, our preparation the whole week was strong and our
offensive line did a great job.” San Pasqual will play Vista, who are coming off a loss to San
Marcos in week one. Erdman and the Golden Eagles are hungry to continue their momentum, yet
humble at the same time. “We know what we are capable of, and we know we can only get
better.” San Pasqual’s game against will be played this Friday night (9/1) at SPHS.
5 - Otay being overlooked?
Otay Ranch went 4-8 last season, noted by a couple 30 point deficits to Mt. Carmel, St.
Augustine, and Mater Dei Catholic. The Mustangs dominated Mt. Carmel 33-0 to start their
season. For many around San Diego county, this is a big shock or maybe even just a fluke game.
But for the Mustangs, it’s finally a culmination of their hard work, and a team bond formed in
the offseason. WR/RB Josh Lira playfully told me, “As they say, teamwork makes the dream
work.” And Friday Night, the dream was in full effect. The 33-0 dismantling at ORHS was a
wake-up call to not only the south bay, but the county as a whole. “[We] plan on carrying [this]
momentum by staying motivated and never being satisfied with the past…we’re taking this one
game at a time and really focusing on playing as a team” Lira said, explaining their early rhythm.
If there is a sleeper team in San Diego right now than the Otay Ranch Mustangs are the team to
challenge. You don’t see a 30 plus point victory over a program as respected as Mt. Carmel
Otay will travel to Valley Center to play a rising squad who just came off a 34-0 victory in Maui.
Friday night’s non-conference matchup between the Mustangs and Jaguars is definitely one
worth keeping your eye on.
ORHS @ VCHS 7pm Friday (9/1).
6 - Bloomquist takes Carlsbad to a new level.
After a tough season last year going 3-7 with several close losses, The Carlsbad Lancers started
their 2017 campaign on the right note. Carlsbad overpowered the Del Norte Nighthawks Friday
night, with a final score of 49-0. The Lancer Defense was unbreakable and the offense was
unstoppable. With arguably the greatest week one performance in San Diego County, QB Troy
Bloomquist tossed six total touchdowns. Although Friday Night may have been all about Troy,
he was all about his team. Humbly, Bloomquist described how the Lancers “offensive line had
[given him] great protection and [their] wideouts ran clean routes and made plays on the ball” all
night long. Carlsbad is heading into a big game in week two in a game that should be a shootout,
hosting St. Augustine who just came off a 51-12 victory in Las Vegas. Bloomquist and the
Lancers “are working hard in practice and watching a lot of film to get prepared for a talented
Saints team” he told me. Carlsbad versus Saints should be a very exciting match-up and a four-
quarter ball game. Out.
6 Things with Scotty G6 - July 30th, 2017
1. The Hive could not be more Alive
Lincoln High School took San Diego county by storm this summer. Coming out
of the shadows to become arguably the most dominating passing league squad in the
county. This summer alone, Lincoln won the USD, Southwestern, Eastlake, and the Tony
Jefferson passing tournaments. They also came in second place at one of the most
competitive tournaments of the summer, the San Diego State Tournament.
The Hornets are led by star QB Asante Hartzog, who has gained national attention
while carrying the hornets to the CIF Semifinals last season. This summer, he threw 118
TD’s and only 6 INT’s. Lincoln has also shown the emergence of wide receivers Kenyon
Sims, Bashier Jones, Jailen Bailey, and Charles Hicks. The star-power at LHS is insane.
Speaking with Hicks, he described how the second-place finish at SDSU was a
major turning point in the summer. “We didn't want that feeling again, so we came back
to practice the next week and we really got to it.” The atmosphere seemed to drastically
change for the Hornets after they tasted defeat. “We just came to play every other
tournament, because we were not letting any other team beat us” Hicks continued.
Approaching August, Hicks feels confident in the team atmosphere. “If you don't
have [a brotherhood], you can't have a team.” Hicks and the Hornets are seeking nothing
less than a championship. “We’re not playing any games this year, we’re coming to win.”
Lincoln may have just had one of the most successful summers in the passing
league era. With their fire-power and talent they have, they are the San Diego Prep
Insider number one thing to know heading into August.
2. Not just Tuttle—Olave
Everyone who knows high school football knows about Jack Tuttle. Elite 11 QB,
offers from everywhere, committed to Utah. But the Mission Hills Grizzlies struggled to
win tough games last year, even with one of the most prominent quarterbacks in the
country. He simply did not have anyone to throw to. This summer, San Diego county has
seen the emergence of WR Chris Olave, Tuttle’s newest, and favorite target. The
Tuttle/Olave show took the county by storm, consistently torching defenses and playing
at the highest level.
When asked about his successful summer, Chris calmly said “I’m just getting
better every day, working hard on my game every day…I want to help my team however
With the skill set at MHHS this year, with Tuttle behind center, Sam Dixon (Navy
commit) in the backfield, and Olave out wide, the Grizzlies are a force to be reckoned
with. Chris concluded our conversation describing what Mission hills is all about this
year, “We’re really talented this year…and we don’t slack off any day, so that’s how
we’re going to separate ourselves from everyone else.”
Watch out for the Mission Hills Grizzlies this year, a serious contender for the
Open Division Championship as a San Diego Prep Insider Team to Watch.
3. Can Steele Canyon go all the way this year?
Steele Canyon has been referred to as a “young” team for several years. This year,
the Cougars are primed and ready for battle. They have been developing an impressive
group of Seniors on the Varsity crew for three years now. Most notably led by QB
Thomas Fishburne, RB Amir Harris, and DE/TE Mikel Oliver.
Speaking with Fishburne, he explained how much the high-level of experience
will help them this season. “With players like me, Amir, and Mikel, who all started as
Sophomores, it’s going to help us in tougher situations. We all know how to face
adversity and perform under pressure.”
The Cougars will turn some heads this year and could fight their way to a deep
run in the playoffs. With Coach Longerbone back at the helm and new additions to the
coaching staff, the Cougars are being “pushed to perfection”, said Fishburne. “We want
to win a CIF Championship and do something that has never been done at Steele
Canyon,” he added. With the leadership and experience up in Jamul, the Cougars will
attain lots of recognition this season and could make a deep playoff run as a San Diego
Prep Insider Team to Watch.
4. Oceanside: Can they climb their way back to the top?
Oceanside has the one of the best resumes in San Diego section football history.
Last year they went 8-2, but lost in the first round of playoffs, ending their two-year CIF
championship streak. This summer, Oside won the San Marcos and the UCLA passing
league tournaments. They also made it to the championship in their own tournament, one
of the larger tournaments in San Diego. With stars like Alex Miller, Jonathan Segi, and
Mikah Linnan, the Pirates have more than enough talent.
Losing a couple coaches last year, including beloved Defensive Coordinator, who
sadly passed away last summer, Oceanside struggled to find their way and get proper
game plans in time for Friday nights.
This season, coach Robert Thomas has come back to Oceanside after spending 3
years coaching at UCLA to be the new Defensive Coordinator. Senior Linebacker Mikah
Linnan described the change that Thomas has brought. “He puts in so much time with us
where everything on our defense is just on point” he explained. “He will make sure to
prepare you to put you at the right place at the right time…I feel like we are really
prepared”, Mikah spoke very highly of Coach Thomas.
The Pirates goal as usual is to grab the top spot in San Diego, something Mikah
describes as a must. “The legacy is in our hands to bring back.”
With a hungry group of athletes and a smart, hardworking team of coaches, don’t
be surprised to see Oceanside High School climbing their way back to the top as they are
another San Diego Prep Insider Team to Watch.
5. Don’t Sleep on Valley Center
Valley Center was one of the biggest surprises of the offseason. A relatively quiet
team, Valley Center has emerged as one of the top teams to look out for. With many
returning starters and a group that have been playing together their entire lives, the Jags
have got something special.
Senior captain Quest Smith helped explain the true connection they have. “We all
know each other really well. We grew up and played together in Pop Warner.”
Valley Center shocked everyone except themselves when they took the LCC
passing league championship. “We had a lot of young players that had to step up last
year, so we are much more experienced and ready to go” Smith told me.
With a week one game in Maui, and a group that have been playing football
together for as long as they can remember, Valley Center could be a serious dark horse
and their emergence this summer is a San Diego Prep Insider Team to Watch.
6. What to watch for in Fall Camp:
August 1st has been regarded to as Christmas Day for many high school coaches
across the country, it’s a new start. Thousands of athletes from across San Diego County will be
giving their all every day for their last weeks of summer. Teams will be coming together and
growing as one in hopes of earning the Almighty CIF Championship ring. San Diego Prep
Insider will be traveling to several high schools in the next few weeks, giving you an in-depth
look at teams all across San Diego County. Follow it all on Twitter ( @SDPrepInsider ) and stay
alert for the next Scotty G6 San Diego Prep Insider Column. Out.