If the shoe fits: Titans win battle over Barons, retain boot trophy


Eastlake High School assistant coach Mark Mendillo points to the prize in last Friday's annual Battle for the Boot rivalry game between the Eastlake and Bonita Vista football teams. Photo by Jon Bigornia

The football rivalry between Bonita Vista and Eastlake high schools may have grown larger over the years than the size of the actual trophy, but if the shoe fits, well, the winner will proudly wear it.

Eastlake defeated Bonita Vista, 20-0, in front of a near capacity crowd last Friday at Southwestern College to retain the boot trophy for the third consecutive year.

Some timely offense and, perhaps even more importantly, some timely defense carried the Titans (3-5 overall) to their second consecutive win and a 2-0 record in Metro-Mesa League play.

The Barons fell to 0-2 in league play, 3-5 overall.

Mateo La scored two rushing touchdowns while Kalehn Newson scored on a 30-yard run to account for the Titans’ three touchdowns.

“We have a great coaching staff and great kids,” Eastlake interim head coach Paco Silva said. “There’s a lot to be happy about. The kids believe in themselves.”

From left, Eastlake’s Joshua Concepcion and Holden Stephens get their opportunity to showcase the prize trophy in last Friday’s rivalry game against Bonita Vista. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Titan junior quarterback Cole McFarlane called the rivalry game win a big boost for team morale after a 1-5 showing in non-league play.

“This is a huge win that will lead us for the rest of the season,” he said.

Ma called it a “great team win.”

“A shout-out goes to the offensive line, everyone in the trenches,” said Ma, who scored on runs of three and 20 yards. “Our defense has played well all season but we’ve finally figured it out on offense.”

Matthew Zaravia stopped an early BV scoring drive with a fumble recovery while Josiah McGuire recorded a sack on fourth down to stop another potential Barons scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Zaravia and teammate Desean Burdette both had interceptions.

Senior Justin Shorty had one fumble recovery for Bonita Vista, which amassed 213 yards on kick-returns.

Eastlake players jump for joy as victory approaches in last Friday’s Battle for the Boot rivalry game. Photos by Phillip Brents


Mater Dei Catholic 29, Olympian 6
Junior quarterback Trevor Appelman threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Crusaders (1-1 in league, 4-4 overall) past the host Eagles (0-1 in league, 1-6 overall) in a Metro-Mesa League game last Friday.

Appelman completed one scoring pass to junior Jessie Campbell for 82 yards and another to junior Darren Barkins for 30 yards.

Senior Aiden Calvert scored on an eight-yard touchdown run while senior Jared Quinonez kicked field goals of 35 and 30 yards. The visitors also tacked on a two-point safety on defense.

Olympian’s lone score in the homecoming game loss came on a 36-yard touchdown run by Greg Hawkins.


Photo Gallery by Jon Bigornia
Eastlake 20, Bonita Vista 0

From left: Kalehn Newsom )one touchdown), Mateo Ma (two touchdowns), quarterback Cole McFarlane

Mariners ring the bell in rivalry game win over Raiders

Mar Vista defeated visiting Southwest, 35-12, last Friday in the teams’ Battle for the Bell game. The win snapped a five-game losing streak by the Mariners (2-5).

“This was a big win for us,” Mar Vista head coach Tyler Arciaga underscored. “We didn’t have a very good September and it’s always nice to go into league play after a win. Southwest is always going to be a big game for Mar Vista. We share a border and many of these kids went to school and played youth sports together.

“The Bell game also has a special place in my heart since my father R.C. started it in 1980 when he was the head coach at Southwest and Nic Nicoloff was the head coach at Mar Vista — my father bought the bell in Tijuana. Both of my parents opened up Southwest in 1976 and I went to many Raider football and basketball games growing up.”

Standouts in the rivalry game victory for the Mariners included senior defensive lineman Paul Fieweger with eight tackles and three tackles for a loss, senior running back/defensive back Jo’Vahn Young with three touchdowns (two receiving and one fumble recovery) and senior quarterback Mike Maeva with three touchdown passes.

Mar Vista’s defense made a statement with four interceptions (three by senior Abondance Binombe), six tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and three pass deflections.

Senior Ray Flores (16 carries, 146 yards) scored both Southwest touchdowns.

The Mariners and Raiders end regular season play with three league games — Mar Vista in the Metro-South Bay League and Southwest in the Metro-Pacific League.

“Going into South Bay League play, Hilltop is obviously the hottest team coming in at 6-1,” Arciaga said. “Chula Vista, Sweetwater and Mar Vista have all had their early season struggles. Despite that, I still see a very competitive environment and feel that each team can compete as there are some longstanding rivalries within the league — the longest being Sweetwater and Chula Vista and Hilltop and Chula Vista also play for the Kiwanis Bowl. Each of the three teams can put their early season struggles behind by having a great October in league play.”


Friday Night Lights

Friday, Oct. 11
Metro-Mesa League

Eastlake 20, Bonita Vista 0
Mater Dei Catholic 29, Olympian 6

Montgomery 27, Sweetwater 0
Mar Vista 35, Southwest 12
Castle Park 26, El Cajon Valley 19

Friday, Oct. 18
Metro-Mesa League
Olympian at Eastlake, 7 p.m.
Otay Ranch at Mater Dei Catholic, 7 p.m.

Metro-South Bay League
Hilltop at Chula Vista, 7 p.m.
Sweetwater vs. Mar Vista at Southwestern College, 7 p.m.

Metro-Pacific League
Castle Park at Southwest, 7 p.m.
Montgomery at San Ysidro, 7 p.m.


Montgomery quarterback Alexander Dixie has passed for 886 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games. Photo by Phillip Brents

The Prep Pigskin Zone: You are now entering Aztec territory

Montgomery High School’s recently-installed football coaching staff appears to be building a solid foundation at the Otay Mesa school. The program recently added a novice level on which to set its roots for years to come.

Head coach Freddy Dunkle and assistant Demarco Sampson took over in 2018 under hasty circumstances but already have managed to craft a CIF championship contender.

The Aztecs defeated the Sweetwater Red Devils, 27-0, last Friday in a non-league game played at Hilltop High School to improve to 6-1 on the season. It’s the best start for a Montgomery football team since 1982. The 2019 season now enters its second phase with Metro-Pacific League play and the opportunity to win a league championship.

The third phase, of course, is the San Diego Section playoffs.

The reinvigorated Aztecs want to be a part of that.

Castle Park High School alunnus Freddy Dunkle is finding a future as head football coach at Montgomery High School. Photo by Phillip Brents

“We’re building confidence in winning, bonding as a team, building trust and the desire to play for each other,” Dunkle said. “We have a great set of student-athletes and coaches.

“When it’s not happening for someone that night, someone else is there to make it happen. It’s not just one individual but working as a team.”

Montgomery enters Friday’s league opener at San Ysidro ranked second among the section’s Division IV teams, trailing only top-ranked Santana (8-0).

San Ysidro (2-5 overall) is riding a two-game winning streak and would like nothing better than to move up the Division V rankings. The Cougars are currently ranked 13th among the division’s 18 teams — just one-tenth of a percentage point behind 12th-ranked Southwest (2-5).

Junior quarterback Alexander Dixie passed for 218 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions to key last Friday’s victory. He also rushed for 57 yards on six carries and scored on a 28-yard touchdown run.

Junior Zach Pearson had two receptions for 94 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown, while senior Agelu Meredith caught a 10-yard scoring pass.

Junior Jaheem Williams gained 105 yards on 12 carries and scored one rushing touchdown.

The Aztecs, who piled up 410 total offensive yards, led 14-0 at halftime on scores by Pearson and Dixie and tacked on 13 second-half points on scores by Williams and Meredith while the defense continued to pitch a shutout.

Montgomery stymied Sweetwater (1-6) with four fumble recoveries, two sacks (both by Pearson) and one interception.

Junior Ben Larsen had one fumble recovery and one pick while senior Keoa Gumataotao, sophomore Christian Venegas and senior Jonathon Chavez each were credited with fumble recoveries. Senior Adrian Briseno led the group with 12 tackles.

The Red Devils advanced into the red zone twice in the first half but came away with zero points on a missed field goal and fourth down incompletion in the end zone.

The Montgomery High School spirit squad has had plenty to cheer for this season. Photo by Phillip Brents
Sweetwater High School’s cheer squad shows its enthusiasm at the start of last Friday’s game. Photo by Phillip Brents

Sweetwater did rack up 244 offensive yards in the game, including 160 yards from quarterback Nico Salazar (133 passing yards, 27 rushing yards) and 88 rushing yards from Mario Villa. Rej Sarabia had eight catches for 55 yards.

The Aztecs finished 5-5 last year, including 2-1 in league, and finished just mere percentage points out of the CIF playoffs. That doesn’t appear to be the case this year.

However, it’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of the Montgomery coaching staff — and players — to ascend the rankings ladder.

“Not having an offseason last year and not knowing everyone on the team was very challenging,” Dunkle pointed out.

But this year is much different. The prize remains at the end of the season.

“Our goal is set on winning a league championship, entering the playoffs and doing the best we can,” Dunkle said. “Last year we didn’t get a chance. You can’t win the tournament if you’re not in it. We have to stay focused on our goal.”

Friday’s other Metro-Pacific League opener pits defending league champion Castle Park (7-0) at Southwest, which needs a win to solidify its tenuous playoff position.

Meanwhile, Sweetwater will be out to end a five-game losing streak when it hosts Mar Vista (2-5) in its Metro-South Bay League opener in a homecoming game Friday at Southwestern College. Mar Vista enters the game ranked 13th among Division IV teams while Sweetwater is ranked 14th. Only the top 12 ranked teams qualify for the playoffs, making Friday’s clash of monstrous importance to both the Mariners and Devils.

Defending league champion Hilltop (6-1) will tackle Chula Vista (0-7) in the teams’ annual Kiwanis Bowl rivalry game Friday at CVHS.

The race to the league banner is about to finally commence.

Obviously, stay tuned.

Still the one
Castle Park remained undefeated on the season after passing one of its biggest tests so far following last Friday’s 26-19 non-league win over visiting El Cajon Valley (3-4).

“We certainly didn’t play our best football, but our kids hung in there and came out with the win,” CPHS head coach Chris Livesay said. “El Cajon Valley is a solid football team; they came in with a great game-plan and gave us all we could handle. We were lucky to walk away from the game with a win.”

Junior running back Erik Hernandez (18 carries, 149 yards) tied the game, 6-6, on a 48-yard touchdown run.

Senior Jose Castro (five catches, 58 yards) hauled in a 29-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Demarkus Lewis just before halftime to put the Trojans ahead 13-6. Hernandez extended the Trojan lead to 19-6 with a 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

However, the Braves managed to tie the score, 19-19, with 4:50 left in the fourth quarter.

CP junior running back Ramon Cabal scored the game-winning touchdown on a six-yard run with 1:30 left in the contest.

ECV quarterback Joe Malone threw a pair of scoring passes in the loss.

The Braves and Trojans attacked the game from different angles: Castle Park out-gained El Cajon Valley 228-57 on the ground while the visitors threw for 213 yards compared to 89 yards for the hosts.

Castle Park employed its defense to good measure with two interceptions (one each by juniors Xavier Alvarado and Hernandez), four sacks (three by senior Sergio Cortes) and one blocked field goal attempt (by junior Antonio Gomez).

The Trojans are currently ranked second among Division V teams but just 0.02 percentage points behind top-ranked Vincent Memorial (6-1).