The winner of Friday’s Metro-Mesa League football game between the host Olympian Eagles and Eastlake Titans will determine which team takes the inside track to this year’s league title.
Will it be Olympian, just one of two undefeated teams remaining in the San Diego Section this season, or will it be Eastlake, which has designs to reclaim the Mesa banner after suffering a 16-7 upset loss last year?
Both teams enter the high profile match-up 2-0 in league play with dominating wins in both games. The seventh-ranked Eagles are 8-0; the No. 8 Titans are 6-2.
“It’s a big game,” underscored EHS coach John McFadden, whose team booted the visiting Bonita Vista Barons, 46-6, last Friday. “Our defense is playing well and our special teams play has come around. Our offense is playing strong.”
Olympian defeated host Chula Vista, 45-31, last Friday after hanging a 34-20 loss on visiting Otay Ranch two weeks ago. The Eagles have charted lofty territory before, having started the 2009 season 11-0.
OHS coach Gil Warren said the biggest element of his team’s success this season might be its extraordinary team chemistry.
“They’re a fun group to be with,” Warren said. “The kids play hard, and they play for each other.”
Both teams have a diverse arsenal of weapons at their disposal.
Andrell Snowden rushed 14 times for 320 yards in last week’s win against the Spartans (1-2, 5-3), scoring on sideline breakaway runs of 85, 29 and 75 yards.
The Eagles rolled up 463 rushing yards and finished the game with 573 total offensive yards. Christopher Humphrey tossed scoring passes to Isiah Gibson and Sergio Bailey (five catches, 81 yards) while also scoring on a one-yard quarterback keeper.
Eastlake set the tone against Bonita Vista on the second play of the game when the Titans’ Aaron Baltazar sacked BV signal-caller Austin Kane to force a fumble, which teammate Elijah Campbell recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.
Tyrone Stevens passed for 165 yards and one touchdown to Joseph Carpizo (four catches, 106 yards). Baltazar rushed 12 times for 99 yards and scored once. The Titans collected five rushing TDs in the game, including two by Tavarus Green (three carries, 41 yards) and one each by Isaiah Strayhorn and James Morones.
The EHS defense totaled three sacks (one each by Baltazar, Blake Wilson and Keifer Graham), one interception (Eric Vega) and one fumble recovery (Campbell). The Barons (0-3, 2-6) did not score until late in the fourth quarter, trailing 40-0.
Chula Vista at Otay Ranch
These teams are likely playing for a home game in the upcoming Division I playoffs. Otay Ranch (1-1, 6-2) dropped a last-second 27-24 non-league game to visiting Escondido (also Division I) last Friday. Mustang QB Kyle Hawkins passed for 128 yards and rushed for 148 yards, scoring twice.
CV’s Ricky Estevez passed for 253 yards and a pair of TDs to Ray Holden while Jevante Reed rushed for 171 yards and two scores in the loss to Olympian.
Mar Vista, Hilltop to collide in homecoming game
Metro-South Bay League
Mar Vista at Hilltop
Fireworks will explode in the sky at halftime of Friday’s homecoming game at Hilltop High School. They are expected to do the same on the field when the top two teams in the Metro-South Bay League square off for the inside track to this year’s league title.
Both teams enter the game with four-game winning streaks. Kick-off is 7 p.m.
Mar Vista, the league’s two-time defending champion, defeated visiting San Ysidro, 48-3, last Friday to kick off Metro-South Bay play while Hilltop stopped host Southwest 30-6.
The Mariners’ secret to success is no secret. Mar Vista (1-0, 5-3) piled up 410 rushing yards in flattening the Cougars. Kenny Nieves seven carries, 60 yards) and Landon O’Connell (seven carries, 159 yards) each scored two touchdowns while Josh Walters, Alejandro Akerlundh (three carries, 57 yards) and Landon Clark (four carries, 36 yards) each scored once. One of O’Connell’s carries went for 69 yards.
Mar Vista out-grained San Ysidro 434-175 in total offense. The Mariner defense recorded 17 pancake blocks, including four by Anthony Gonzales. Clark, a senior quarterback, leads the Imperial Beach team with 10 touchdowns on the season.
Hilltop (1-0, 4-4) is once again knocking on the door, hoping it will open to reveal a league championship. The Lancers would like to finally kick it open this season. Hilltop sophomore quarterback Daniel Sanchez continues to improve. He’s averaging 100 passing yards per game. Entering last Friday’s game at Southwest, he had thrown eight touchdowns against three picks.
The Lancers have combined by committee to rush for more than 1,000 yards, paced by leading ground-gainer Dustin Downs. However, Mar Vista’s game is ball control. The Mariners have piled up a staggering 3,094 rushing yards in eight games.
Southwest at San Ysidro
The host Cougars (0-1, 4-4) will be looking to keep their playoff hopes intact with a win against the Raiders (0-1, 2-6), who have dropped their last five games. Mike Thomas is averaging 77 rushing yards per game for San Ysidro while the Cougars’ leading receivers include Ronald Steward and Gilbert Suarez, both with a pair of TD catches this season. Omar Felix and Oscar Lezcano top Southwest’s defense in tackles.
Castle Park at Mater Dei Catholic
Quarterback Joseph Legerette-Luke and receiver Iman Chatman-Dixon once again figured prominently in Mater Dei Catholic’s latest victory — a key 17-12 decision over the host Montgomery Aztecs in the teams’ league opener last Friday. The Crusaders (1-0, 6-2) are on a four-game winning streak, starting with a forfeit victory against Rancho Christian on Sept. 28.
But it might have been the MDC defense that stood out in last Friday’s win after collecting nine sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Sebastian Kelley had three sacks and Damon Willis had two. Nate Conlin had one sack, one pick and one fumble recovery. Jaison Miller also had one interception while Sebastian Aluza, Aristeo Montano and Matt Garcia each registered one sack. Montano keyed the team with 12 sacks.
Castle Park (1-0, 2-6) defeated visiting Sweetwater, 17-7, in the teams’ league opener. Juan Luna completed three of four passes for 99 yards and one touchdown, kicked a 37-yard field goal and also tacked on two extra-point conversions for the victorious Trojans, who snapped a five-game losing streak. David Anderson caught two passes for 69 yards, including a 63-yarder. Marcos Ochoa scored one rushing touchdown. The CP defense stood tall with one sack, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Montgomery at Sweetwater
Montgomery (0-1, 1-7) will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak. Marcos Mathis (20 carries, 128 yards) and Charles Williams each scored touchdowns in last week’s loss to visiting Mater Dei Catholic. Williams has rushed for a team-leading 620 yards while Mathis has gained 332 yards. Both lead the Aztecs with five touchdowns. Aust’n Morga has 21 catches for 283 yards. He has three TDs this season.
Sweetwater (0-1, 1-7) opened the season with five losses before picking up its only win of the season via a 27-6 decision against visiting Southwest on Oct. 5. The Red Devils have since lost their last two games (21-13 at San Yisdro and 17-7 at Castle Park), though both by narrow margins.