Dave Rice 10:30 a.m., March 23
Game of the Week
#6 Mount Miguel (4-0) at #1 Helix (3-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Since its season opening loss to Eastlake, Helix has been flat out dominant. The newly top-ranked Highlanders have beaten their last three opponents by an average of 30.3 points and are starting to play at the level many expected before the season. The last preseason test for Helix is undefeated Mount Miguel, who has averaged nearly 40 points per game and had only one close call in its first four games – a one-point win at Valhalla. Quarterback Ernest Williams (8 TDs passing, 5 rushing) and running back Derrick Dunn (467 yards, 5 TDs) pace the Matadors on offense, and Mount Miguel also has size and talent on the line. Both teams came into this matchup undefeated last year, with Helix winning in convincing 37-7 fashion. Can Mount Miguel run with the Highlanders this time around? Winner of this game gets the Claymore Sword trophy.
Best of the Rest
#8 Mira Mesa (3-1) at #10 Madison (4-0) Friday 6:30 p.m.
Division IV teams typically don’t have the size to compete with quality Division I teams, but Madison has enough playmakers to make this an intriguing crossdivision contest. Tenth-ranked Madison has rolled up 41.3 points per game with an offense that features senior quarterback Chase Knox (10 passing TDs) and junior running back Pierre Cormier (10 rushing TDs), but the Warhawks have also allowed 27.5 points per game. Mira Mesa’s only loss this season has come to Oceanside but the eighth-ranked Marauders haven’t exactly won comfortably the past two weeks, beating Morse and Chula Vista by a combined 10 points. Mira Mesa has a home-heavy schedule with only three games on the road, and its trip to Madison is its first road game of the season. Points should come in bunches in this one.
#7 St. Augustine (4-0) at #4 Eastlake (3-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Eastlake fell from the top spot this week after falling to Cathedral Catholic, and it won’t get that much easier for the fourth-ranked Titans when they host seventh-ranked St. Augustine. Eastlake looked sluggish in its first loss of the season, and the Titans will need to find a reliable offensive playmaker to replace injured receiver Travis Gardner. Led by senior quarterback Joe Kennedy and senior running back Aaron Anderson, St. Augustine has won its first four games by an average of 35 points. Eastlake will be St. Augustine’s toughest challenge so far, and the Saints will be playing their first road game of the season. Both teams need this victory to prove they belong in the discussion of the section’s elite.
San Diego (4-1, 1-0 Central) at Morse (2-3, 0-1) Friday 6:30 p.m.
In its first night game since 1973, Morse fell to Kearny last Friday. The Tigers get a second chance to shine under the lights this week against city rival San Diego. Since winning its first two, Morse has lost three straight and against teams with a combined 11-4 record. San Diego is one of the favorites to win the Central League and is a last-second loss to Carlsbad from being undefeated. The Cavers have averaged 41.6 points per game so far this season led by quarterback Khari Kimbrough. Last year’s game between these two teams was a thriller, with Morse winning 30-29.
#2 Oceanside (3-1) at Mission Hills (1-3) Friday 7 p.m.
A rematch of last year’s Division II finals features two North County teams that are playing their best football right now. Second-ranked Oceanside has won three straight by double digits and the Pirates are coming off a 42-14 win over Vista – their most decisive victory of the season. Mission Hills picked up its first win of the season last week with 48-0 blowout over Rancho Bernardo, rushing for almost 300 yards in the convincing victory. These teams have met four times in the past four seasons, and Oceanside has won each meeting – including twice in the Division II finals.
In the Red Zone
Coronado (4-1, 1-0 Central) at Crawford (1-3, 0-0) Friday 3 p.m.
Pictured: Helix head coach Troy Starr