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Hilltop appears top challenger for Metro-South Bay League football title Phillip Brents | Fri, Oct 25 2013 02:23 PM

At 6-1, the Hilltop Lancers are tied with the Eastlake Titans for the best win-loss record among Metro Conference football teams. But will that equate to a Metro-South Bay League championship this year for the Lancers?

Hilltop — as well as league rivals Mar Vista, San Ysidro and Southwest — will get an answer on Friday as league play finally opens.

The Lancers will test their fortunes at San Ysidro (3-4) while Southwest (0-7) hosts three-time defending league champion Mar Vista (2-5). Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

Spiriting away the league banner might not be easy, however.

“The good thing about league play is that it gives everyone a clean slate,” MVHS coach Tyler Arciaga explained. “Southwest has some good skill players, San Ysidro has been running the ball well and Hilltop has been gritty and been able to pull out close games.

“We have lost three games by a combined five points and have made some mistakes in the end that have hurt us. The kids are resilient and have continued to battle to the very end. We hope to learn from our mistakes earlier in the year and continue to improve.”

Hilltop (6-1) at San Ysidro (3-4)
The Lancers recorded a stunning 27-20 overtime victory against two-time defending Metro-Pacific League champion Mater Dei Catholic last Friday. Hilltop, which saw its 5-0 start diminished in a 17-9 non-league loss at Sweetwater the previous week, failed to fold after dropping behind the Crusaders by a score of 17-6 in the third quarter.

Drake Madarang scored on a four-yard run in the overtime tie-breaker to lift the Lancers. He rushed for 210 yards on 36 carries and scored three touchdowns in the game. Daniel Sanchez connected with Luis Hernandez on a 47-yard pass play to give the hosts a 20-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

Sanchez finished the game with 132 passing yards after completing 10 of 15 passing attempts; Hilltop rushed for 283 yards as a team.

Defensively, Manuel Fernandez led the Lancers with 14 tackles while teammate David Vazquez collected 13 tackles and made an interception.

For the season, Madarang has rushed for 1,019 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns. The Lancer defense has also made a statement with 16 sacks and four picks in seven games.

San Ysidro quarterback Alan Godoy passed for 87 yards and rushed for 109 yards, scoring twice, in the Cougars’ 37-24 setback at Castle Park. Carlos Campos led the visitors with 157 rushing yards on 20 carries and also scored a rushing touchdown as did teammate Alejandro Cazares (44 yards, 10 carries).

San Ysidro rushed for 344 yards but allowed 362 rushing yards by the victorious Trojans.

Mar Vista (2-5) at Southwest (0-7)

The two teams will once again contest bragging rights in the Battle for the Bell rivalry game. The Mariners will be looking to make amends for last week’s 28-27 non-league loss to visiting Sweetwater while the Raiders will be out to record their first win of the season.

Will Mar Vista cede the championship or make it a four-peat? The Mariners certainly want to end the season with some momentum as they strive for a playoff berth. In his first year at the Imperial Beach school, Arciaga has implemented a more balanced offensive attack. Key players remain Jimmie Hill and Brandon Scales, who can both score from anywhere and at any time on the field.

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