6 a.m., March 12
SPRING VALLEY – For a Helix team that has section and state title aspirations, the first step is complete. Thursday night at 10th-ranked Steele Canyon, the top-ranked Highlanders scored on the first play from scrimmage and never looked back in a 49-7 win that captured the Grossmont Hills League title.
“The first goal is complete – we got that league championship out of the way,” said Helix quarterback Brandon Lewis. “The focus is on CIF now.”
It took Helix (9-1, 4-0 Grossmont Hills) just 13 seconds to deliver the knockout blow to Steele Canyon. On the first play from scrimmage, Highlanders running back Darrion Hancock scored on a 80-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
“We don’t take any team lightly,” Lewis said of the quick score. “They have speed on their team and they can score at any second.”
Helix led 14-0 after the first quarter and turned the game into a blowout in the second quarter by scoring three touchdowns and keeping Steele Canyon (7-3, 4-1) off the board. The Highlanders’ defense provided the last touchdown of the first half when defensive back Romello Carbuccia intercepted a screen pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 lead.
After Steele Canyon fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, Helix scored on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter – a Lewis 11-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Lee. In addition to running for a 4-yard score, Lewis threw three touchdowns to three different receivers – Lee, Kendal Keys and Jimmy Pruitt.
“It’s just progressions – progressions take me to different receivers,” Lewis said. “I believe I have one of the best receiving corps in the county. I love my receivers and they go after the ball for me.”
Trailing 42-0 in the third quarter, Steele Canyon got on the board with a LaShawn Ware 18-yard touchdown run. Helix had a 49-7 lead at the end of the third quarter and the fourth quarter was played with a running clock – the Highlanders’ sixth straight game with an insignificant final quarter.
“We’ll see if we can keep our wind in the fourth quarter in the playoffs,” Lewis said.
During its lopsided run to a second straight Grossmont Hills league crown, Helix went undefeated with an average margin of victory of 48 points. The Highlanders are expected to receive the top seed in Division II when the playoff pairings are announced on Saturday, and currently sit atop the Division II South State Bowl rankings.
‘We’re looking forward to the playoffs. Hopefully we get the No. 1 seed and we will just go from there,” Lewis said. “We just have to keep working hard and doing what we’re doing. We’re one of the hardest working teams in San Diego.”
Pictured: Helix linebacker Ernest Shipley shares a laugh with linebacker Rocky Fuga during a timeout