Posts Tagged “Steele Canyon”

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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.

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A homecoming classic ended with a last-minute hookup, a field goal just feet short of its tying target, and a Titans crowd waiting to finally exhale.

Eastlake backup quarterback Josh Palet’s 22 yard touchdown pass to Jordan Hines with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the 3rd ranked Titans just enough to edge a gritty Steele Canyon team 20-17 at Stan Canaris Stadium in our 619 Preps Game of the Week.

Postgame video interviews: Josh Palet and Jordan Hines

The 5th ranked Cougars (3-1) took the lead in a wild first quarter and protected it through a hard-hitting second half, only to see the Titans (4-0) steal the game on a desperate final drive.  Even then Steele Canyon fought back, but a last-gasp 48 yard field goal was online but short as time expired.

Taking over at their 28 with 1:19 remaining and no timeouts, Eastlake found itself quickly in desperate straits.  Palet, who entered the game with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter in relief of the starter Hines, fired three incomplete passes.

On fourth and 10, Palet hung in the pocket and found senior tailback Chris Fletcher open in the right flat.  Fletcher cut upfield and scampered 53 yards to the Steele Canyon 19.

“I read the defense before the play, Chris found an opening, and I threw it to his hands, simple as that,” said Palet.

Two plays later, Palet’s fade into the left corner of the end zone was brought down by Hines in double coverage for the game-winning 22 yard reception.

“It’s the moment I live for,” said Hines, “Josh put it up there and put the game in my hands, and I had to come through and do it for my team.”

IMG_0838Prior to the late home team heroics, Steele Canyon was controlling the ball and the line of scrimmage, on the way to a first win ever against the South Bay’s top team.  Indeed, this game was tantalizingly close to being in the Cougars’ back pocket, as they were twice one play away from sealing the victory.

“The guys played hard, and that’s what we ask of them,” said head coach Ron Boehmke.

Behind the hard and shifty running of senior running back Jake Wragg (23 carries, 163 yards, TD), the Cougars milked the clock and kept Eastlake’s offense on the sideline.

After a wild first quarter which saw both teams break huge runs and score two touchdowns, Steele Canyon started the second quarter with a 17 play, 66 yard march.  While the drive only netted a field goal and a 17-13 lead, the Cougars had set the tone for (most of) the remainder of the game.

Junior tailback Josh Isbell ran for 166 of his 185 yards in the first half for Eastlake, and left the game after taking a punishing hit from Steele Canyon junior linebacker Jake Ruysschaert over the middle on his 17th and final carry of the game.

“Steele Canyon adjusted really well to what we do,” said Hines, “They pretty much knew our offense, you’ve got to give them a lot of props.”

The Titans were held to 41 second half rushing yards after gaining 180 before halftime, but necessity forced them to take to the air.  After Isbell was knocked out of the game, Palet entered and hooked up with Hines on a 29-yard catch to put Eastlake in scoring position.

The drive made it all the way to the Cougars’ 5, but on fourth and inches Fletcher was absolutely crushed by Steele Canyon junior defensive back Chanceller James and stopped cold at the line of scrimmage for a goal line stand and a turnover on downs.

Needing to run off the final 5:36, the Cougars picked up two rushing first downs.  On the second, a quarterback line buck up the middle for 15 yards by Brad Boehmke, with his offensive line pushing Eastlake down the field, the game seemed all but over.

Out of time outs, the Titans had one more set of downs to defend, and they held Wragg to six yards on three straight carries.  After a delay of game and a punt, Palet and Hines were set up for their Marino-to-Duper act.

The rest was homecoming history.

As if to make the night even better, the junior Hines was named his school’s homecoming king and Big Man On Campus.  This was at halftime, as part of an extravaganza that included a fireworks show.  They may want to come up with some new awards for the postgame.

“This is just about the best day ever,” said a beaming Hines.

The Cougars, meanwhile, can leave South Bay knowing they are still a power to be reckoned with in the East County this year.

“We would love to have beaten those guys and gotten to 4-0,” said Coach Boehmke,  ”but if anything it shows we deserve to be where we are in the county rankings and what it takes to play a county champion.”

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