Lancers rush past Norsemen, 27-13, to remain undefeated on season


Jeremiah Serrano rushed for 155 yards and scored one touchdown to lead undefeated Hilltop to a 27-13 non-league win over the visiting Valhalla Norsemen last Friday. Photo by Phillip Brents

The Hilltop Lancers have shown they can pile up offensive numbers in recent weeks; they also showed they can play defense in zooming to a 4-0 start to the season following last Friday’s 27-13 non-league win over the visiting Valhalla Norsemen.

The game pitted undefeated teams — the Lancers at 3-0 and the Norsemen at 2-0.

Moreover, Valhalla boasted one of the section’s top running backs this season in senior Kegan Baker, who entered the game with 468 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in just two outings on the gridiron.

Baker rushed 21 times for 130 yards and scored one touchdown against Hilltop – all season lows by the Norseman runner.

The Lancer defense recorded eight tackles for a loss, including three by Rudy Lucero, and one fumble recovery by Andrik Harros.

The Hilltop offense continued to produce, finishing the game with 347 yards in total offense, including 198 rushing yards. The Lancers, who never trailed in the high stakes contest, scored four touchdowns — two rushing and two receiving.

“It’s always better to win than lose,” Hilltop head coach Andrew Westling said. “We never really thought about it (being 4-0). We’re just trying to get better each week. The guys are excited. We want to use the positive momentum in practice to inspire us to continue getting better.”

Hilltop quarterback Jvin Deanda completed a pair of touchdowns passes in last Friday’s win over the Norsemen. Photo by Phillip Brents

Javin Deanda completed 16 of 23 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He got the hosts off on the right foot by completing a 70-yard screen pass for a touchdown to Marko Aki (seven catches, 149 yards).

Jeremiah Serrano rushed 27 times for a game-high 155 yards and scored one touchdown (to give him 504 yards and seven touchdowns on the season).

Ian Ramirez (two catches, 13 yards) made a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone to score a two-yard touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter

Abraham Avila (five carries, 51 yards) scored on a 33-yard run early in the third quarter.

Hilltop led 14-7 at halftime and didn’t let up by outscoring the East County visitors 13-6 in the second half. The Lancers led 27-7 before Valhalla signal-caller Luke Pillsbury scored on a seven-yard run with 7:52 left in the game.

Ian Ramirez scored a key fourth quarter touchdown to seal last Friday’s home field victory. Photos by Phillip Brents

Hilltop limited its mistakes. The Valhalla defense recorded one sack (by Dominic Yancy) and one interception (by Gioivanni Alejo).

Deanda has passed for 1,039 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in four games while Aki has made 35 catches for 610 yards and eight touchdowns.

Baker has rushed 598 yards and nine touchdowns in three games. He scored on a 43-yard run off a fake punt to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

Serrano’s TD run came from three yards out with 5:03 left in the second quarter to give the hosts a lead they would not relinquish.

Hilltop will face its biggest test of the season this Friday when it hosts the defending CIF champion Morse Tigers, who are off to a 2-1 start following last Friday’s 48-7 non-league loss to the visiting Vista Panthers.

Senior Michael Cunningham tops Morse with 439 rushing yards and six TDs.

The Tigers eliminated Hilltop, 42-14, en route to claiming last year’s Division III championship.

“They (the Tigers) are very athletic and dominating up front,” Westling said. “We have to have our best week of practice to compete.”

Valhalla running back Kegan Baker takes a pitch from quarterback Luke Pillsbury during fourth quarter action. Photo by Phillip Brents
Hilltop’s Andrik harros celebrates after making a fumble recovery in last Friday’s game. Photo by Phillip Brents


Titans score first win of season, take down San Jacinto, 31-14, take on No. 1 Dons next

The Eastlake Titans recorded their first win of the 2019 season by defeating the host San Jacinto Tigers, 31-14, last Friday. The Titans (1-3) were buttressed by three rushing touchdowns — one each by Mateo La (16 carries, 76 yards), Emiliano Lozano (eight carries, 40 yards) and Andrew Kamo (three carries, 61) — and one touchdown pass from quarterback Adriel Colmenero (88 yards passing).

Lozano finished the game with two touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving.

Eastlake quarterback Adriel Colmenero threw one touchdown pass in last Friday’s 31-14 win over San Jacinto. Photo by Jon Bigornia

Eastlake rushed for 223 yards and tacked on 93 passing yards for 316 total offensive yards.

The Titan defense recorded two sacks (both by Treyton White), four tackles for a loss, one interception (by Dasean Burdetter) and one fumble recovery (by White).

Maximus Susi, who led the visitors with eight tackles, punted just once in the game for 36 yards. Braiz Ramirez kicked a 29-yard field goal.

“We played at a much higher level,” said EHS head coach John McFadden, whose team was coming off a disappointing 47-0 non-league loss to second-ranked St. Augustine. “Adriel Colmenero has won the quarterback spot and is playing well. Our defense has played at a pretty high level all four games. Offensively and special teams had let us down, but are now playing much better. Max Susi and Josiah McGuire are doing a great job of leading the defense.”

The Titans have a tough task this Friday when they host top-ranked Cathedral Catholic, though the Dons (3-1) showed they can be beaten after dropping a 45-27 decision at third-ranked Helix last Friday.

Veteran Eastlake head coach John McFadden saw his team pick up its first win of the season with a markedly improved performance. Photo by Jon Bigornia

The Dons retain the No. 1 spot in the MaxPreps ranking algorithm despite losing to the Highlanders (2-1), though St. Augustine remains hot on their heels after last Friday’s 62-0 non-league win at Otay Ranch.

In the win over the Mustangs (2-2) Saints quarterbacks Angelo Peraza and Richard Colmenero combined for 246 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Samuel Scaife IV (seven catches, 112 yards).

St. Augustine, which out-gained Otay Ranch 382-34 in total yards and scored nine touchdowns, will attempt to make up further ground in the rankings when it hosts Helix Friday at Mesa College. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.


Trojans improve to 4-0 on season with 41-25 comeback win over Warriors

Castle Park High School first-year head coach Chris Livesay feels his team still hasn’t reached its potential despite engineering a 4-0 start to the season. What the Trojans have done is keep winning regardless of the circumstances.

Castle Park faced an 18-7 halftime deficit in last Friday’s non-league road game at Fallbrook but came out on top 41-25 to remain unbeaten.

The Trojans rallied with 13 points in the third quarter to take the lead and out-scored the winless Warriors (0-4) 21-7 in the pivotal fourth quarter.

“We put ourselves in a hole again in the first half by giving up big plays on defense and we had some miscues on offense,” Livesay said. “Once our offense got going in the second half we were able to take control of the game.

“I don’t think we have reached our full potential yet. We continue to give up too many big plays and haven’t been consistent enough. We have to get things tightened up on both sides of the ball to get where we want to go this year.”

So far, the team’s 4-0 record has taken the Trojans to the No. 3 ranking among the section’s Division V teams.

Vincent Memorial (4-0) is ranked No. 1 in the division, followed by Holtville (3-1) at No. 2.

The Trojans host winless Hoover (0-3) in a non-league encounter on Friday that doubles as a divisional contest. The Cardinals are ranked 14th in the division and it would behoove Castle Park not to lose if it has designs on securing a high-end playoff seed.

Following the game against Hoover, the Trojans will host Crawford in a key non-league divisional contest on Sept. 27. The Colts (2-2) are currently ranked fourth among Division V teams.

But it’s not necessarily a good idea to look past opponents.

Castle Park piled up 443 yards in total offense in last Friday’s come-from-behind victory, including 405 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Erik Hernandez led the ground game with 11 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Wright gained 102 yards on 18 carries and scored one touchdown.

Xavier Alvarado (seven carries, 71 yards), Ramon Cabal (three carries, 32 yards) and quarterback Demarkus Lewis (two carries, three yards) each scored one rushing touchdown.

Lewis completed two of three aerials for 38 yards with one interception behind center.

Jose Castro led the Trojans with seven tackles. Castle Park’s defense registered four sacks (one each to Castro, Robert Abarca, Wright and Angel Aguilar) and one interception (by Marko Esparza).

Nicolas Magana tacked on five kicking points.

Hernandez has rushed for 459 yards and eight touchdowns in four games.

Hoover is coming off a 49-6 non-league loss to Francis Parker, a team the Trojans edged 33-28 two weeks ago.


Aztecs notch big win over CIF runner-up Komets to extend perfect start to 4-0

A pair of unbeaten teams will put their 4-0 records on the line when they hook up Friday, Sept. 20, at Montgomery High School as the Aztecs host the Santana Sultans. The high profile non-league contest doubles as a key Division IV match-up as Santana currently holds the No. 1 division ranking and Montgomery is ranked No. 2 in the division.

The Aztecs are coming off a huge 38-24 win at Kearny, last season’s runner-up team in the division championship game. The visitors erased a 10-0 first quarter deficit with a 17-0 run in the second quarter to take the lead and out-scored the hosts 21-14 in the second half.

Jaheem Williams (18 carries, 187 yards) led the Aztecs offensively with three touchdowns, including two rushing scores and one on a punt return, while Christian Venegas (10 carries, 49 yards) scored two rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Alexander Dixie compiled 124 total yards on 79 passing yards and 45 rushing yards.

Williams topped Montgomery with 252 all-purpose yards and also topped the Aztec defense with 11 tackles. Williams scored on a 44-yard punt return.

Montgomery recorded one sack, four tackles for a loss, one interception and two fumble recoveries on defense. Ben Larsen had one interception and one fumble recovery.

Johnny Leon collected eight kicking points — five PAT conversions and a 32-yard field goal.

Santana is averaging 42 points per game. The Sultans defeated visiting Mar Vista, 41-0, on Sept. 6 and visiting Sweetwater, 48-0, last Friday.


Extra points

  • Mater Dei Catholic quarterback Trevor Appelman completed 15 of 24 passes for 254 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Crusaders snapped a two-game losing streak in besting host University City, 61-26, last Friday. Aiden Calvert rushed for 190 yards and scored two touchdowns and also caught two scoring passes. Trey Edwards keyed the MDC defense with two interceptions while Diego Posada returned an intercepted pass 39 yards for a touchdown. The Crusaders (2-2) host Chula Vista (0-4) this Friday.


  • Mar Vista’s Isaac Maldonado rushed for 127 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 42-41 overtime loss at Coronado last Friday.


Friday Night Lights

Friday, Sept. 13
Eastlake 31, San Jacinto 14
Hilltop 27, Valhalla 13
Castle Park 41, Fallbrook 25
Montgomery 38, Kearny 24
Mater Dei Catholic 61, University City 26
Steele Canyon 28, Bonita Vista 0
Coronado 42, Mar Vista 41 (OT)
Santana 48, Sweetwater 0
West Hills 34, Chula Vista 7
Grossmont 52, Olympian 28
St. Augustine 62, Otay Ranch 0
Crawford 30, San Ysidro 6
Maranatha Christian 20, Southwest 14


Friday, Sept. 20
(All games 7 p.m. unless noted)
Southwest at O’Farrell Charter, 4:15 p.m.
Olympian at Point Loma, 6:30 p.m.
Hoover at Castle Park
Morse at Hiltop
Cathedral Catholic at Eastlake
Chula Vista at Mater Dei Catholic
Steele Canyon at Otay Ranch
Santana at Montgomery
Mission Bay at Mar Vista
Bonita Vista at Patrick Henry
San Ysidro at Clairemont


San Diego Section Rankings

Division I
1. Cathedral Catholic Dons (3-1)
2. St. Augustine Saints (4-0)
3. Helix Highlanders (2-1)
4. Carlsbad Lancers (3-1)
5. La Costa Canyon Mavericks (2-2)
6. Steele Canyon Cougars (3-0)
7. Torrey Pines Falcons (3-1)
8. Mission Hills Grizzlies (2-2)
9. Lincoln Hornets (3-1)
10. Grossmont Foothillers (3-0)
11. Madison Warhawks (2-2)
12. Oceanside Pirates (2-1)
13. Eastlake Titans (1-3)
14. Granite Hills Eagles (3-1)
15. San Marcos Knights (1-2)
16. Rancho Bernardo Broncos (2-2)
Note: top four-ranked teams advance to Open Division for playoffs


Division II
1. Vista Panthers (2-2)
2. San Pasqual Golden Eagles (3-1)
3. Poway Titans (3-1)
4. Bishop’s Knights (4-0)
5. Otay Ranch Mustangs (2-2)
6. Morse Tigers (2-1)
7. El Camino Wildcats (1-2)
8. Olympian Eagles (1-3)
9. Valley Center Jaguars (2-2)
10. Christian Patriots (2-2)
Others: Santa Fe Christian (3-1), Westview (1-3), Mira Mesa (1-3), Point Loma (1-3), Ramona (0-4), Monte Vista (1-3)


Division III
1. San Diego Cavers (3-0)
2. Scripps Ranch Falcons (4-0)
3. Central Union Spartans (3-1)
4. Mt. Carmel Sundevils (2-2)
5. Hilltop Lancers (4-0)
6. Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders (2-2)
7. La Jolla Vikings (2-2)
8. Brawley Wildcats (1-2)
9. Kearny Komets (1-2)
10. Imperial Tigers (1-3)
Others: Bonita Vista Barons (2-2), Valhalla Norsemen (2-1), El Capitan Vaqueros (0-4), West Hills Wolf Pack (2-2), University City Centurions (1-3), Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns (0-4), Southwest El Centro Eagles (1-2)


Division IV
1. Santana Sultans (4-0)
2. Montgomery Aztecs (4-0)
3. Orange Glen Patriots (1-2)
4. Serra Conquistadors (1-2)
5. La Jolla Country Day Torres (4-0)
6. Patrick Henry Patriots (3-1)
7. Escondido Cougars (2-2)
8. Del Norte Nighthawks (2-2)
9. Mount Miguel Matadors (1-2)
10. Tri-City Christian Eagles (2-1)
Others: Sweetwater (1-3), Classical Academy (2-2), Calexico (2-2), Coronado (2-2), Chula Vista (0-4), Mar Vista (1-3), Fallbrook (0-4)


Division V
1. Vincent Memorial (4-0)
2. Holtville Vikings (3-1)
3. Castle Park Trojans (4-0)
4. Crawford Colts (2-2)
5. Palo Verde Yellow Jackets (2-1)
6. Mission Bay Bucs (2-2)
7. Clairemont Chieftains (2-1)
8. El Cajon Valley Braves (3-1)
9. Francis Parker Lancers (1-3)
10. Mountain Empire Red Hawks (1-3)
Others: Escondido Charter (2-1), Maranatha Christian (1-3), San Ysidro (0-4), Hoover (0-3), Southwest (0-3), Calipatria (0-4), O’Farrell Charter (0-4), Army-Navy Academy (1-2)