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Division II State Bowl Preview

Division II State Bowl

Loomis Del Oro (13-1) vs. Helix (12-1)

Saturday 4 p.m. at Home Depot Center, Carson

Helix ended the season as the best team in San Diego – and will represent the section on the state level after being selected for the Division II State Bowl. The Highlanders are making their first state bowl appearance, and for the fifth straight season the San Diego Section has at least one team vying for a state title. After losing its opener, Helix won 12 games in a row to close out the season – including a decisive 44-6 victory over Oceanside in the Division II Finals to end the Pirates’ streak of seven consecutive section titles. The Highlanders are loaded with nine All-CIF selections and over the past two seasons, Helix has won 23 of its 26 games.

Helix faces Del Oro, a school located approximately 30 miles northeast of Sacramento in the town of Loomis that has a population of 6,430. Del Oro finished undefeated in the Sierra Foothill League and won its second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title by beating top-seeded Oakdale 21-7. Del Oro has won at least 10 games in seven of the past eight seasons, and the Golden Eagles are making their first state bowl appearance. Del Oro’s is riding a 12-game winning streak into Carson, with its only loss coming in overtime to undefeated South Open Division selection Westlake.

Del Oro is averaging 40.4 points per game behind a run-heavy attack led by two 1,000-yard rushers – junior Brandon Monroe (1,605 yards, 22 touchdowns) and senior Nick O’Sullivan (1,342, 23). In the passing game, senior quarterback Bobby Heatherington (2,133, 22) has completed at least 18 passes to four different receivers, with senior Russell Smith recording team-highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Defensively, senior linebacker Tanner Huber has 112 total tackles to lead a unit that allowed 20 or more points six times this season, but has only given up 19 points in four playoff games.

The most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings have Helix ranked ninth, three spots behind Del Oro at No. 6. Both senior-heavy teams have similar strengths of schedule based on opponents’ records and while Helix has won its games by a wider margin, Del Oro has the most impressive game on its resume – its early season loss to Westlake.

The talent and speed of Helix’s playmakers provides a tough matchup for any opponent, and with Del Oro’s tendency to run the ball the play of the Highlanders’ defensive line will be crucial to success. Del Oro is the best team Helix will have faced this season, and it will be interesting to see how the Highlanders react if the game is close throughout – something they haven’t experienced since the first week of the season. The San Diego Section has won a state title four years in a row – will Helix keep the streak going?

Image

Pictured: Helix in the offensive huddle. The Highlanders are averaging 43.2 points per game headed into Saturday’s Division II State Bowl Game against Del Oro

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Division II State Bowl

Loomis Del Oro (13-1) vs. Helix (12-1)

Saturday 4 p.m. at Home Depot Center, Carson

Helix ended the season as the best team in San Diego – and will represent the section on the state level after being selected for the Division II State Bowl. The Highlanders are making their first state bowl appearance, and for the fifth straight season the San Diego Section has at least one team vying for a state title. After losing its opener, Helix won 12 games in a row to close out the season – including a decisive 44-6 victory over Oceanside in the Division II Finals to end the Pirates’ streak of seven consecutive section titles. The Highlanders are loaded with nine All-CIF selections and over the past two seasons, Helix has won 23 of its 26 games.

Helix faces Del Oro, a school located approximately 30 miles northeast of Sacramento in the town of Loomis that has a population of 6,430. Del Oro finished undefeated in the Sierra Foothill League and won its second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title by beating top-seeded Oakdale 21-7. Del Oro has won at least 10 games in seven of the past eight seasons, and the Golden Eagles are making their first state bowl appearance. Del Oro’s is riding a 12-game winning streak into Carson, with its only loss coming in overtime to undefeated South Open Division selection Westlake.

Del Oro is averaging 40.4 points per game behind a run-heavy attack led by two 1,000-yard rushers – junior Brandon Monroe (1,605 yards, 22 touchdowns) and senior Nick O’Sullivan (1,342, 23). In the passing game, senior quarterback Bobby Heatherington (2,133, 22) has completed at least 18 passes to four different receivers, with senior Russell Smith recording team-highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Defensively, senior linebacker Tanner Huber has 112 total tackles to lead a unit that allowed 20 or more points six times this season, but has only given up 19 points in four playoff games.

The most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings have Helix ranked ninth, three spots behind Del Oro at No. 6. Both senior-heavy teams have similar strengths of schedule based on opponents’ records and while Helix has won its games by a wider margin, Del Oro has the most impressive game on its resume – its early season loss to Westlake.

The talent and speed of Helix’s playmakers provides a tough matchup for any opponent, and with Del Oro’s tendency to run the ball the play of the Highlanders’ defensive line will be crucial to success. Del Oro is the best team Helix will have faced this season, and it will be interesting to see how the Highlanders react if the game is close throughout – something they haven’t experienced since the first week of the season. The San Diego Section has won a state title four years in a row – will Helix keep the streak going?

Image

Pictured: Helix in the offensive huddle. The Highlanders are averaging 43.2 points per game headed into Saturday’s Division II State Bowl Game against Del Oro

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