Don Bauder 7:15 p.m., Sept. 23
Game of the Week: Helix at Mount Miguel
Highlanders stay perfect with dominant performance
SPRING VALLEY – In their biggest game of the season, No. 2 Helix rose to the occasion on Friday night. The Highlanders sent rival No. 9 Mount Miguel crashing from the unbeaten ranks with a dominant 37-7 victory.
“We practice hard throughout the whole week and we knew that if we had good practices every single day, we were going to get the ‘W’ because our team is really good,” said Helix linebacker Raymont Nailon.
Nailon was in the middle of a Helix defensive unit that stifled Mount Miguel (5-1) and came one minute shy of a shutout. The Matadors’ offense simply did not have an answer for the Highlanders’ speed and size.
“It’s fundamentals at practice,” Nailon said. “It’s just ‘A.A.T.’ – alignment, assignment and technique. That’s just what we do at practice.”
Defensively, Helix wore down a Mount Miguel offense that came in averaging 28 points per game. The Highlanders have only surrendered 24 points through their first five games, seven of which came on an interception return for a score.
“I believe we have one of the best defenses in the San Diego Section,” Helix quarterback Brandon Lewis said. “There are other great defenses, but we’re up there with them.”
Helix’s defense aided their offense early on as they feet out the Mount Miguel defense. The Highlanders (5-0) only passed twice on an opening drive that spanned eight minutes and ended with a Jake Reed 33-yard field goal.
“We wanted to see what they were going to come out with. We knew they were going to come out with the bear front or a 4-2,” said Helix quarterback Brandon Lewis. “After that first possession, we were ready to go – we were ready to throw the ball.”
Lewis connected with tight end Sam Meredith for a three-yard touchdown at the 4:00 mark in the second quarter to give Helix a 10-0 lead headed into halftime. That score was a precursor for an explosive Helix third quarter.
“Coach told me during halftime we’re going to let it fly. I told him I was ready to go,” Lewis said. “We came out throwing the ball.”
Helix took their first four drives of the second half for touchdowns, including a one-play drive late in the third quarter. After a Mount Miguel fumble gave Helix the ball at the Matadors’ 29-yard line, Lewis connected with receiver Cameron Lee over the middle for the instant score.
“A lot of people still doubted our offense and we took that to heart,” Lewis said. “We know we have a really good offense and we wanted to make a statement that our offense isn’t nothing to play with.”
The Highlanders’ offensive onslaught finished with a Michael Adkins 40-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. That score gave Helix a more than decisive 37-0 lead.
“It’s unstoppable – that’s what you’re thinking when you’re out there,” Lewis said. “You’re thinking, ‘No one can touch us at this point,’ when everything is clicking.”
Playing their first game of the season against a ranked opponent, Helix delivered a big statement against Mount Miguel. With their performance, the Highlanders certainly looked like they could be the best team in the section.
“We’re close to being the best but we’re not the best yet,” Nailon said. “We just have to keep practicing hard every day and we’ll hopefully develop into the best.”
With the win, Helix took back the Claymore Sword rivalry trophy after losing it last season. The way the Highlanders are playing right now, the sword might not be the only trophy they take home this season.
“We’re winners and we want to win no matter what it takes,” Nailon said. “If we have to break our backs, break our necks, we’re going to do it to get the ‘W.’”
Helix defensive back Jimmy Pruitt makes a leaping interception on a fourth-quarter pass intended for Mount Miguel receiver Adrian Adams