Chad Deal 5:05 p.m., May 23
Highlanders commit five turnovers in loss
In a game between early-season unbeatens Friday night, Mira Mesa forced Helix into uncharacteristic mistakes. The result was a 19-17 home win for the Marauders, a win that establishes Mira Mesa as one of the best teams in the county.
“It feels real good. They’ve been talking about how Helix was going to come in here and beat us. We came in here not holding our heads down and playing defense like we are supposed to play defense and everything worked out all right,” said Mira Mesa senior defensive back Jerik Davis.
Davis sealed the game with an interception with 38 seconds to play. The picked off pass was intended for Helix’s six-foot-eight-inch tight end Levine Toilolo, but it was the five-foot-eight-inch Davis that made the play.
“I was playing in between two receivers and I saw the tallest receiver threw his hand up so I knew it was going to him because he was taller than me. I play bigger than I am,” Davis said.
Mira Mesa had trailed the entire second half until running back Damian Williams scored from two yards out with 59 seconds to play. Williams’ rushing touchdown capped a Marauders drive that spanned 8:15 of the final quarter.
“The whole time I was just running the ball down the field and when it came down to it I just had to push it in,” Williams said. Williams turned in a great effort on the ground. He also returned a second-quarter kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
For the Highlanders, Toilolo seemingly did it all. The Stanford-bound senior played both ways and blocked a punt in the third quarter. Senior Jo-Jo Phillips also played a great game, making plays on both sides of the ball and running for a touchdown in the second quarter. Great efforts by Toilolo and Phillips, however, could not make up for Helix’s numerous mistakes.
“I thought we played horrible. I was very disappointed. We turned the ball over five times, gave up a special teams touchdown – we deserved to lose. Our kids played really hard though as bad as we played,” Helix head coach Troy Starr said.
Mira Mesa capitalized on Helix’s mistakes and did just enough to pull out their second-straight two-point victory.
“I think it’s just the beginning. We knew it was going to be a hard game and we just came through,” Williams said.
The road does not get any easier for Mira Mesa (2-0), who travels to Oceanside (2-0) on Friday. Helix (1-1) will look to rebound Friday against North County power Carlsbad (1-1) in a game to be played at El Camino High School.
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Mira Mesa running back Damian Williams lines up in the I-Formation in the red zone
Helix senior Levine Toilolo also played defensive line and blocked a punt against Mira Mesa