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Highlanders crush Matadors, strengthen hold on top spot

LA MESA – In the battle for the Claymore Sword, top-ranked Helix delivered a one-sided result over a ranked rival. The Highlanders scored on their first five drives and rolled to a convincing 49-7 victory over sixth-ranked and previously unbeaten Mount Miguel on Friday night.

“I thought we had better personnel coming in – almost player to player – and when you have that all you have to do is take care of business,” said Helix head coach Troy Starr. “We’re proud of our kids and the way we played tonight.”

After forcing a Mount Miguel punt on the game’s opening drive, Helix (4-1) needed only three plays to drive 66 yards and find the end zone. The Highlanders took a 7-0 lead on a Brandon Lewis 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kendal Keys, the first of three Helix touchdowns in the first quarter.

“We watched film on them all week, so we kind of knew what was coming,” Lewis said. “We just came out and did what we were supposed to do.”

Midway through the second quarter, Helix extended its lead over Mount Miguel (4-1) with a pair of touchdowns in quick succession. With 6:44 left in the half Lewis threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Gary Thompson to cap a 92-yard scoring drive, and 36 seconds later Lewis found Keys for a 28-yard score on the first play following an interception.

“The gameplan was to come out and run, run, run then go over the top,” Lewis said. “We executed it to perfection tonight.”

Helix dominated Mount Miguel on both sides of the ball in the opening quarters, and took a commanding 35-0 lead into halftime. The Highlanders’ offense had numerous big plays while their defense shut down the Matadors’ spread attack that came in averaging 40 points per game.

“In Monday’s practice we ran six gassers preparing for their no-huddle,” said Helix defensive back Jimmy Pruitt. “Then in the game we ran a loose defense where we all had wristbands and got the play from the sidelines. That’s how we were able to keep up with them.”

Helix scored on its first two drives of the second half to turn the game into a full-fledged rout, and the Highlanders led 49-0 through three quarters. Mount Miguel avoided the shutout with a Derrick Dunn 45-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter played with a running clock, but that didn’t put a damper on Helix’s most decisive victory of the season.

“This is a big win for us, but we’re all about winning our last game,” Starr said.

Lewis threw for five touchdown passes – four in the first half – and finished 17-of-22 for 256 yards in Helix’s 42-point victory. The Highlanders have won four straight games since their season opening loss to Eastlake, and are playing at their best headed into Grossmont Hills League play.

“That first week was a dagger and it hit us hard,” Lewis said. “We told ourselves we didn’t want it to happen again and right now we’re just living up to that.”

For the second straight season, Mount Miguel saw its unbeaten start come to an end against Helix. The Matadors were outmatched on offense and defense, and suffered a further blow when quarterback Ernest Williams left with a shoulder injury in the second quarter.

“I did a poor job of coaching them,” said Mount Miguel head coach Tom Karlo. “We weren’t prepared like we should have been and it was pretty obvious.”

Helix’s lopsided win paired with No. 2 Oceanside tying Mission Hills strengthens the Highlanders’ claim as section’s best. With the regular season halfway over, Helix is the deserved No. 1 team in San Diego.

“We work hard to be in that No. 1 spot,” Pruitt said.

Pictured: Helix quarterback Brandon Lewis in the pocket with Highlanders running back Michael Adkins blocking a Mount Miguel defender

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