Posts Tagged “Helix”



All content courtesy our friends at 619Sports.net

Champions find a way to win.  For the seventh straight year, the Oceanside Pirates will have a chance to become the champions of the CIF-San Diego Section Division II.

With a defensive effort for the ages, the 4th seeded Oceanside Pirates (9-3) performed their annual role as the foil for the Helix football program, ending the Highlanders’ season for the third straight season with a 24-17 victory at Jim Arnaiz Field on the Helix campus in La Mesa.

“That was a championship football game right there,” said Oceanside head coach John Carroll, who will seek his seventh consecutive Division II section championship on Monday night against Mission Hills, “Lesser young men would have found a way to fail.  These are warriors with the hearts of champions.”

T.J. Sunia (#43, pictured) returned a fourth quarter fumble 39 yards for the game-winning score, and Adam Francis had a first half 49 yard interception return for another touchdown.  The fourteen defensive points were decisive, but Oceanside’s defense didn’t stop there, making three red zone stops to turn back Helix (11-1), including a pair inside the Oceanside 15 in the final 4:22 of the fourth quarter.

Postgame video interviews: T.J. Sunia/head coach John Carroll

A matchup which annually decides the Division II champion turned to heartbreak for Helix once again.  This time, the Highlanders were favored to beat their nemeses from Oceanside, with the top seed in the bracket and home field advantage.  Instead, the Scotties saw their season end at the Pirates’ hands for the sixth time in seven playoff meetings and the third year in a row.

“We just wanted it more,” said senior safety Adam Francis.

Despite two first half interceptions and the crucial fourth quarter fumble, Helix still had a first-and-goal opportunity to tie the game with 1:10 to play in the game, as a pass interference penalty set up the Scotties at the five yard line.

On first and second down, Helix tailback Darien Hancock (34 carries, 142 yards, TD) tried the middle of the field and was stopped cold.  With time ticking down to twenty seconds and Helix out of timeouts, the Highlanders were forced to burn their third down play on a spike.  On fourth and goal from the five, Helix was called for delay of game.

Pushed back to the ten yard line, quarterback Brandon Lewis’ pass for Sam Meredith went over his hands and out of bounds, sending the Pirates back to the “Q”.

The defensive scramble was an appropriate end to a ragged game which saw both teams make big mistakes on offense.  First, Helix was turned back empty handed after taking their opening drive to the Oceanside three yard line.  Sophomore linebacker William Gulley sacked Lewis for a ten yard loss on third and goal, and Vann Sabin’s 29 yard field goal attempt missed wide right.

After both teams exchanged punts, Lewis took a first down snap from the Helix ten yard line and heaved a bomb downfield for wide receiver Cameron Lee.  With the ball well over his head, Lee gave up on the pass attempt, but Oceanside senior defensive back Matthew Rojas did not.  Running down the Lewis arc for an interception, Rojas returned the pass 45 yards to the Helix 20 yard line.

While Oceanside’s ensuing drive was stopped cold by the Helix defense, Jose Basurto booted a 36 yard field goal to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead at the :39 mark of the first quarter.

The Scotties were again generous hosts on their next possession, taking a false start penalty on third-and-15 from their own 26 yard line.  Instead of running a conservative draw play or underneath pass on third-and-20, Lewis went for the downs, and his deep pass intended for Austin Gonzalez was intercepted by senior safety Adam Francis.  Weaving his way back through the Helix offense, Francis returned the interception 49 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 Oceanside lead with 9:58 to play before halftime.

“It was the greatest feeling, I can’t believe it,” said Francis of his big play.

It took a defensive play to get Helix back into the football game.  Tofi Pao Pao (9-18, 100 yards, 2 INT) was picked off by junior linebacker K.C. Smith with 2:12 to play in the second quarter, setting up Lewis’ 35 yard touchdown target to Gonzalez.  Senior defensive back Kenny Keys also intercepted Pao Pao on the final play of the first half, but his interception return was stopped at the Oceanside 18 yard line as time expired.

Trailing 10-7 to start the third quarter, Helix took the second half kickoff and marched 80 yards on 11 plays, all handoffs to Darien Hancock.  Gaining 75 of the 80 yards on the drive (the other five came on an offsides penalty), Hancock plunged into the Oceanside end zone from a yard out to give the Highlanders their first (and only) lead of the game with 6:04 to go in the third quarter.

After going three-and-out on their next possession, the Pirates turned to what else but defense to regain control of the football game.  Oceanside forced a quick three-and-out from Helix, then took advantage of a shanked punt by Jake Reed to take over at the Helix 48 yard line.  Three plays later, senior tailback Noah Tarrant stepped out of a tackle and raced 39 yards up the middle of the field for a 17-14 Pirates’ lead.

While Hancock was a horse for Helix, he wore down late in the third quarter.  Darien’s sixteenth carry of the quarter was a five-yard loss, with Gulley stripping the football loose.  Sunia scooped up the loose ball and took it 29 yards for a touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

“I blitzed and just saw the football lying there,” said Sunia, “I was unsure at first but just scooped it up, and I think the quarterback was behind me.  My instincts said ‘take it’ so I just took it and…I was blessed today.”

Still, the undefeated Highlanders were not done.  Sabin’s 46 yard field goal with 5:50 remaining made it a 24-17 game.  When Tarrant fumbled on Oceanside’s next possession, Raymont Nailon recovered for the Highlanders deep in Oceanside territory at the 20 yard line.

After gaining five yards on their first two plays, Helix took to the air, with Lewis throwing incompletions on third and fourth down in the end zone.  The Pirates then had an opportunity to run out the clock but failed to do so, punting the ball back to Helix with 2:20 to play.

Postgame audio interview: Oceanside senior Anthony Mount

A pass to Gonzalez of 30 yards set up Helix at the Oceanside 22 yard line.  On second and 10 from the 11 yard line, Lewis’ pass to Sam Meredith drew pass interference from the side judge, giving Helix a first-and-goal at the five.  But two ill-advised runs forced a spike and then a delay of game penalty set up the final, fateful incompletion.

The Pirates will now face Mission Hills in the Division II finals on Monday, December 6th at 4:30pm.  It will be a rematch of Oceanside’s 48-28 win over the Grizzlies on October 8th.

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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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