The Hilltop Lancers obviously have not had much to cheer about since a trophy was attached to the school’s annual football rivalry game against fellow west side foe Chula Vista. To buttress that statement, the Spartans entered last Friday’s Chula Vista Kiwanis Bowl XII game with a commanding 9-2 lead in the series.
But the Lancers made a statement this year by shocking many in attendance after defeating the host Spartans, 21-7, in an emotional contest on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Hilltop fans, well, cheered to their hearts’ delight, obviously savoring the moment. They hope there will be many more inspirational moments the rest of this season based on their team’s play in the game.
With the win, the Lancers hiked their early season record to 3-0 and, in the process, earned recognition as the Metro Conference’s lone remaining undefeated team.
Understandably, Hilltop head coach Cody Roelof was very emotional during his post-game speech. He reiterated how proud he and his fellow coaches were of the team; he also exalted the team’s determination and heart.
“You fought, fought, fought, you never gave up,” he told his squad, his voice wavering at times.
Defensive team MVP Jared Akers echoed his coaches’ words: “Our theme this year is ‘never give up.’”
That’s something that was apparent to anyone who watched last Friday’s game.
Chula Vista broke the goose egg on the scoreboard on an acrobatic 24-yard touchdown catch by Ethan Williams in the waning minutes before halftime and carried that slender 7-0 lead deep into the third quarter before the visitors finally managed to level the contest at a touchdown apiece on a fourth-down quarterback sneak by Daniel Sanchez.
Then, just when it appeared the Spartans might be driving for the go-ahead touchdown, fate intervened.
With the ball at the Hilltop 17-yard line after a carry by quarterback Hunter Gotto going for a first down, play stopped for a lengthy delay as Gotto lay injured on the field.
An ambulance arrived at the scene minutes later and the CV signal-caller was strapped down to a stretcher and taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure after he reportedly experienced tingling in his fingers.
Elijah Whitehead replaced Gotto in the Spartan line-up and two movement penalties promptly made it first-and-20 for the hosts.
The Spartans made up some ground on a third-down rushing play but missed an ensuing 32-yard field goal attempt.
From that point on, the Lancers owned the field.
A lengthy eight-minute drive wore down the clock to 2:00 and culminated in a three-yard run by Montel Campbell to move the visitors in front 14-7 following the successful point-after-touchdown conversion by kicker Luis Hernandez.
The hosts continued to go backward on offense on their next series, with a fumble recovery in the end zone by Hilltop’s Adrian Rios resulting in a defensive touchdown with just 38.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Lancer players raised their arms in excitement as the siren finally sounded to signal the end of the game.
Was Gotto’s injury a momentum changer? We’ll likely never know.
Hilltop played hard to the end to earn the non-league victory.
“We don’t give up,” said Akers, who finished the game with two sacks and one forced fumble. “We showed we were the better team when it counted.”
The Lancers received a $1,000 check from Chula Vista Kiwanis Club President Juanita Adame during a post-game awards ceremony; the Spartans received $500.
Hilltop’s Drake Madarang received his team’s Offensive MVP award while Gotto received CV’s Offensive MVP award and Ivan Rivera received the Spartans’ Defensive MVP award.
Madarang rushed for 143 yards; Sanchez leads the team with five rushing TDs.
Akers, who matched teammate Diego Uranga with a team high 12 tackles, noted it was the first time that any of the seniors on this year’s Lancer team had ever beaten Chula Vista in a game.
“It feels great,” Akers said.
Both teams now have a bye week. Hilltop next plays at Coronado on Friday, Sept. 27, in a non-league game while Chula Vista returns to action, also on Sept. 27, with a non-league encounter at Mira Mesa.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD
Friday, Sept. 13
Hilltop 21, Chula Vista 7
Eastlake 55, Escondido 14
Otay Ranch 44, Mar Vista 10
Olympian 19, El Camino 17
Castle Park 28, Santana 7
Montgomery 34, Clairemont 21
San Ysidro 48, Foothills Christian 13
Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy 22, Maranatha Christian 0
St. Augustine 61, Mater Dei Catholic 20
Mission Hills 48, Bonita Vista 7
Imperial 42, Sweetwater 21
Southwest El Centro 40, Southwest (San Diego) 15
Julian 29, Ocean View Christian Academy 6
Vincent Memorial 44, Lutheran 0
Friday, Sept. 20
Ocean View Christian Academy at San Jacinto Valley Academy, 3:30 p.m.
Eastlake at Madison, 6:30 p.m.
Bonita Vista at Scripps Ranch, 6:30 p.m.
Castle Park at Clairemont, 6:30 p.m.
St. Augustine at Otay Ranch, 7 p.m.
Monte Vista vs. Sweetwater at Hilltop High School, 7 p.m.
Imperial at Mater Dei Catholic, 7 p.m.
Olympian at Lincoln, 7 p.m.
San Ysidro at El Cajon Valley, 7 p.m.
Lutheran vs. Foothills Christian at Seau Field (La Mesa), 7 p.m.
Southwest at Mountain Empire, 7 p.m.
Montgomery at Calexico, 7 p.m.
Chula Vista Calvary Christian Academy at Rancho Christian, 7 p.m.
Mar Vista at Gabrielino (San Gabriel), 7 p.m.
Titans de-claw Cougars, 55-14, to up record to 2-1
Traylon Reed rushed for a game-high 189 yards on just four carries, scoring three times, and teammate Isaiah Strayhorn rushed for 131 yards on nine carries and also scored three touchdowns to lead the host Eastlake Titans to a 55-14 non-league victory against the Escondido Cougars last Friday.
Isiah Olave rushed for 94 yards on five attempts and scored two more rushing touchdowns as the Titans (2-1) amassed a staggering total of 551 rushing yards in the game. Eastlake accumulated just seven passing yards in offense.
The hosts, who play at third-ranked Madison (3-0) on Friday, racked up 28 first quarter points and led 41-7 at halftime.
Reed scored on breakaway runs of 72, 58 and 49 yards while Strayhorn scored on runs of six, 20 and 52 yards.
Olave’s two TDs came on runs of 38 and five yards.
The Titans accumulated six sacks on defense, including three by Issak Santos and one each by Mason Saurer, Mathieu Lao and Ronnie Sallee. Sallee led the team with 10 tackles.
The Cougars fell to 1-2.
Olympian 19, El Camino 17
The host Wildcats scored the opening and closing touchdowns in the game but the Eagles racked up 19 points between the two El Camino scores to hold on to prevail in the key non-league match-up.
The teams escaped the opening quarter knotted in a 10-10 tie. For Olympian (2-1), Angel Garcia booted a school record 47-yard field goal and R.J. Leomiti returned an intercepted pass 18 yards for a score.
The Eagles led 19-10 at halftime as Garcia kicked a 26-yard field goal and Gary Cannon rushed for a two-yard touchdown.
Eric Wilson electrified the home crowd with a 95-yard kickoff return in the opening quarter. Previously undefeated El Camino (2-1) saw its chance at a dramatic victory dashed as the visitors blocked a 47-yard field goal attempt as time expired.
Mustangs roll to first win of season, top Mariners 44-10
Damien Wyzkowski scored three rushing touchdowns and tacked on a two-point conversion as the host Otay Ranch Mustangs rolled past the Mar Vista Mariners, 44-10, last Friday to collect their first victory of the season.
Otay Ranch quarterback Triston Brand threw for 170 yards and completed two touchdown passes. Besides Wyzkowski, Derico Williams, Quentin Bell and Jevon Fields each scored one touchdown in the game.
Bell caught three passes for 110 yards to lead Otay Ranch receivers while Malik Williams led the Mustang rushing attack with 11 carries for 156 yards. Williams’ longest run from scrimmage went for 77 yards while Bell hauled in a 65-yard pass.
The Otay Ranch defense held Mar Vista rushing leader Jimmie Hill to 59 rushing yards on 11 carries. Beto Garcia scored the Mariners’ lone touchdown and also kicked a field goal.
Justin Doton led the Mustangs (1-1) with 12 tackles and forced one fumble while Daniel Bobier recorded a two-point safety.
Otay Ranch hosts No. 7 St. Augustine (2-1) Friday at 7 p.m.
San Ysidro, Castle Park, Montgomery score big wins
San Ysidro picked up its first win of the season as freshman Cory Maddox rushed for 134 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Cougars’ 48-13 non-league victory against Foothills Christian last Friday at Seau Field in La Mesa. Maddox carried the ball just seven times in the game.
Carlos Campos rushed 12 times for a game-high 143 yards and scored two touchdowns. As a team, San Ysidro rushed 32 times for 393 yards and added 32 passing yards.
Alejandro Cazares also scored a rushing touchdown for the winners, who received a boost on defense by Anthony Jenkins, who intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Castle Park 28, Santana 7
The visiting Trojans scored by multiple means in posting their second consecutive win of the season. Eric King threw scoring passes to Adrian Tolbert (20 yards) and Jordan Danielson (33 yards), Mylik Steen returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and Fernando Vieyra scored on a 53-yard rushing play to key Castle Park to the non-league victory.
The visitors led 14-0 and put the game away with 14 fourth quarter points after the Sultans had closed to within a touchdown.
King completed eight of 15 attempts for 122 yards while Vieyra led the Trojans with 94 rushing yards. On defense, King recorded one sack while Tolbert and Danielson each had one interception. CP held Santana (0-3) to 36 rushing yards.
Montgomery 34, Clairemont 24
The host Aztecs (2-1) withstood 237 rushing yards by the Chiefs (1-2), rallying from a 21-7 halftime deficit on the strength of 27 second-half points.
Nate Aragon completed nine of 13 passing attempts for 131 yards and one touchdown while Alex Cervantes, Stanley Schwing and Chauncey Emerson each scored on touchdown runs.
Emerson had four carries for 74 yards while Deion Moore caught three passes for 89 yards, including one TD.
Southwestern College: The Jaguars will host the Palomar Comets Saturday at 6 p.m. at Olympian High School eyeing a chance to get back into the win column after dropping a 28-23 non-conference decision last Saturday at L.A. Valley.
Both teams are 1-1 on the season. The Comets were shut out, 41-0, last Saturday by visiting Riverside. Palomar topped El Camino, 31-14, in its season opener on Sept. 7 while SWC bested West L.A. by a score of 58-27.