All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

LA MESA–The balance of the Helix offense makes the Highlanders an exciting team to watch.  The dominance of the Helix defense makes the “Scotties” the top team in the county.

Forcing four Steele Canyon turnovers, 2nd ranked Helix throttled the #7 Cougars 26-7 at Jim Arnaiz Field on the Helix Charter High School campus, clinching a perfect 10-0 regular season and the Grossmont Hills League championship.  Dynamic junior quarterback Brandon Lewis threw for a pair of touchdowns, his 24th and 25th of the season, and the Helix (10-0, 5-0) defense took it from there to shut down one of the section’s most physical teams in the 619 Preps Game of the Week.

“We can go far with our defense,” said Lewis, “We don’t want to rely on our defense but sometimes we have to and they help us out a lot.”

The Cougars (8-2, 4-1), who came into the night averaging close to 200 yards rushing per game, were held to 52 yards on the ground in 26 attempts.

“The Helix defense, you can tell why they’ve only given up six touchdowns all year,” said Steele Canyon head coach Ron Boehmke, “They play really hard, they’re quick and fast, can’t say enough about them.”

While the Cougars were able to slow down the Highlanders on the ground for the most part, Steele Canyon’s defense was put in a bad position multiple times thanks to turnovers.  Senior quarterback Brad Boehmke completed 16-of-34 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions doomed the Cougars to defeat.

Steele Canyon star running back Jake Wragg had a forgettable game with 18 rushes for 37 yards.  An 1,100+ yard rusher in the Cougars’ first nine games, Wragg lost an early fumble which led to Lewis’ 24 yard touchdown pass to Cameron Lee and a 7-0 Helix lead.

“We put our defense’s back against the wall a few times,” said Coach Boehmke, “I told our guys, we hadn’t see a fast-flowing, aggressive defense like that in a long time.  This is the kind of game that gets you ready for the playoffs.”

The Highlanders were forced to adjust to an injury mid-game but didn’t lose their stride offensively.  Junior tailback Darien Hancock, a 1,000+ yard rusher, carried 15 times for 59 yards, including a 23-yard scoring run on an inside draw midway through the second quarter which made it 14-0 Helix.  Hancock left the game after taking a hard hit early in the third quarter, and senior Raymont Nailon stepped in for his final regular season home game.

Nailon crashed the line for 85 yards in 17 carries, helping Helix grind out their perfect regular season.

“When our team plays together and with one heartbeat, this is what you see,” said Nailon.

Vann Sabin kicked a pair of field goals late in the second quarter to give Helix a 20-0 halftime lead.  In the third, Steele Canyon fought back for their lone touchdown of the night, as a shanked punt set up the Cougars on a 41 yard field.  Seven plays later, Boehmke hit Chanceller James on a 14 yard scoring pass, making it 20-7 Highlanders.

When the Cougars stopped Helix on a fourth and inches for a turnover on downs one possession later, it looked like Steele Canyon was going to claw its way back into the game.  That’s when Kenny Keys took over.  The 6′3″ senior defensive back stepped underneath a deep pass from Boehmke to wide receiver Britten Wright for his first of two second-half interceptions.

“I had been out with injury the last couple of weeks and wanted to come out tonight with a bang,” said Keys.

Seemingly dispirited by their offense’s mistakes, Steele Canyon gave ground on the next drive for the first time all game, as Nailon carried four straight times for a total of 51 yards.  Lewis then arced a gorgeous square out to senior wide receiver Austin Gonzalez in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown and a 26-7 lead.

Helix stopped Steele Canyon twice on downs from there, and Keys’ second interception of the game snuffed out a last gasp drive.  The Cougars wound up with 248 yards of total offense but could never sustain a drive.

With Oceanside losing 24-14 at El Camino, the path to the #1 seed in Division-II looks good for Helix.  They will undoubtedly earn a bye and wait for their opponent in two weeks back home in La Mesa.

“It’s our first Super Bowl game, but there’s many to go,” said Nailon.

Steele Canyon, despite the loss, will likely remain a top-four seed in the stacked D-II playoff field.  Their only two losses have come to the top two teams in the county, #1 Eastlake and #2 Helix, two 10-0 programs.

All Content Courtesy 619Sports.net

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