Don Bauder 3:39 p.m., Jan. 31
Countdown to the Finals: Division II
(1) Oceanside (12-0) vs (7) Helix (9-4) Friday 4:30 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium
If it seems like Oceanside and Helix meet every year in the Division II finals, it is because they nearly have this decade. These two programs that set the standard for success in the section have met seven out of the past nine years at Qualcomm Stadium. The Pirates have been dominant on their search for six consecutive section titles this season, scoring an average of 38.9 points per game while only allowing 7.3 points. Oceanside quarterback Quentis Clark runs a high octane offense that features a trio of stud receivers – seniors Jerry Whittaker and King Holder and sophomore Demario Coleman. On defense, linebackers Jake Fely and Rene Siluano lead a fast, hard-hitting Pirates’ unit. Oceanside started off the season as the best team in the section and has done nothing to disprove that.
If Helix beats the Pirates, it will definitely be an upset. But playing the underdog role is nothing new for the Highlanders, who came into the playoffs as the seventh-seed and have knocked off higher seeded Valhalla and Scripps Ranch in consecutive weeks to make it to the title game. After finishing fourth in the Grossmont South League, Helix has had a flair for the dramatic in the postseason, winning three playoff games by a combined 16 points. The Highlanders trot out a balanced offense, averaging 169.8 yards passing with quarterback Jake Reed and also rushing for 139.7 yards per game. Helix has the speed to keep up with Oceanside, but can they shake the Pirates’ mystique? Also not on Helix’s side is the fact that Oceanside will want a big win to add to their state bowl resume.