Ken Leighton 12:03 p.m., Jan. 24
Game of the Week
No. 5 La Costa Canyon (1-0) at No. 3 Poway (1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Poway and La Costa Canyon have section title aspirations, and both teams could stand in the way of each other before a champion is crowned in Division II this season. Well in advance of a potential postseason battle, the third-ranked Titans host the fifth-ranked Mavericks in a North County showdown on Friday night. Poway opened the season with a blowout win over Scripps Ranch and has talent and experience led by senior receiver/defensive back Derek Babiash and senior linebacker Alec Moreno. La Costa Canyon shut out Baldwin Park in its opener, and the athletic Mavericks face a tough test in their first road game of the season. These two teams met last year, and Poway’s 27-14 win established the Titans as a contender on their way to the Division I title.
Best of the Rest
St. Augustine (1-0) at Steele Canyon (0-1) Friday 7 p.m.
After a season opening loss to Cathedral Catholic, Steele Canyon will try to pick up its first win of the season against another religious powerhouse. St. Augustine is part of Steele Canyon’s stacked nonleague schedule as the Cougars adjust to new head coach Scott Longerbone and a new spread offense. The Saints came from behind to knock off Carlsbad on the road to open the season and face a tough road challenge for the second straight game. Steele Canyon will look to avoid an 0-2 start on Friday night, while a win for St. Augustine will establish the Saints as a contender in Division IV.
No. 7 Vista (0-1) at No. 1 Helix (1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Top-ranked Helix kicked off its state title defense in impressive fashion with a 28-6 win at Eastlake last week, making a solid season opening statement despite its inexperience. The Highlanders host Vista on Friday night aiming to continue their momentum behind a fast defense and steady offense. The Panthers slipped up against Grandview in their opener and will need a good performance in La Mesa to stay in the Top 10. Both teams are young in key areas – which one will step up to this early season challenge?
El Camino (1-0) at Mira Mesa (1-0) Friday 7 p.m.
Mira Mesa starts a two-game stretch against Oceanside opponents when they host El Camino on Friday night. Though the Marauders’ game at Oceanside on Sept. 14 comes with more notoriety, their matchup of unbeatens against the Wildcats promises to be just good. The San Diego State-bound duo of quarterback Trey Lomax and receiver Addison Morrow star for Mira Mesa, who came from behind to beat Valhalla in its opener. El Camino rolled over San Diego in its debut, paced by 224 yards and three touchdowns from senior running back Justin Williams. The winner of this North County-City clash will continue an undefeated start to the season.
No. 9 Madison (1-0) at Valhalla (0-1) Friday 7 p.m.
Fresh off winning a city showdown against Lincoln, Madison heads to East County on Friday night to face a Valhalla team that narrowly missed out on a win last week. The Warhawks have a talented collection of playmakers highlighted by Arizona-bound Pierre Cormier and Lee Walker and face their first road test against the Norsemen. Valhalla started quickly in its opener but couldn’t hold off visiting Mira Mesa in a 31-28 loss. This intriguing crossdivision matchup should be back and forth and come down to the wire.
In the Red Zone
Horizon (1-0) at Mission Bay (1-0) Friday 3 p.m.
The Red Zone heads to Pacific Beach for the second straight week for a Friday matinee between a pair of early unbeatens. Mission Bay has athleticism on both sides of the ball, while small school Horizon features Oregon-bound senior receiver/defensive back Darren Carrington.
Pictured: Mission Bay junior quarterback Nick Plum fires a pass