The San Diego Football Network takes a look at some of the county's most intriguing match-ups of the opening week.
#1 Helix Highlanders at #10 Eastlake Titans
Last meeting: September 2, 2011 - Eastlake 21 Helix 14
It became known as "the hit heard around the world". On fourth down with a little over a minute to play in the 4th quarter, Eastlake senior defensive back Jude Isbell laid a vicious hit on Helix receiver Kendal Keys as he attempted to catch a game tying touchdown pass. The hit knocked the ball loose and sealed the deal for the only defeat Helix suffered in 2011.
Since that season opening game, the Highlanders managed to go on a 13-game winning streak that includes their first state championship win in school history.
Unfortunately for Eastlake, their 2011 season didn't fare as well. The Titans finished 2nd in the Metro Mesa League and ended their season by falling to Vista by two points in the Division I semifinals.
Although most of the key players from both teams have moved on since last season’s match-up, this rematch should live up to the same hype. Helix will be looking for revenge while Eastlake attempts to regain their status as one of the elite teams in the county.
Tale of the Tape
#1 Helix Highlanders (II)
Troy Starr (5th Season)
- Finished 13-1
- 13 game winning streak after 21-14 loss to Eastlake
- Defeated Oceanside in the Division II Section Finals
- Defeated Del Oro in the Division II State Championship
QB Brandon Lewis
- Will play football & baseball at USD
- 2011 KUSI Silver Pigskin Player of the Year
- 2011 CIF SD Offensive Player of the Year
RB Darrion Hancock
- Competing for the #2 HB spot at USD
- 2011 1st Team All-CIF
Senior RB Michael Adkins
- Rushed for over 900 as a back-up
- Rushed for 137 yards & 2 TDs in the 2011 D-II Section Finals
Senior WR Kendel Keys
- Recorded 7 TDs on offense & 6 INTs on defense in 2011
Key 2012 Games (Besides Eastlake)
Fri 09/14 @ Cathedral Catholic [Won 48-14 in ‘11]
Fri 09/21 @ Mount Miguel [Won 49-7 in ‘11]
#10 Eastlake Titans (I)
John McFadden (13th Season)
- Finished 8-4
- Defeated Helix 21-14 in the opening game
- Finished 2nd in the Metro Mesa League
- Defeated by Vista in the D-1 semi-finals
QB Josh Palet
- Playing baseball at UC Riverside
RB/DB Jude Isbell
- Playing at Eastern Washington
Senior RB Aaron Baltazar
- Arguably one of the best backs in the county
- Very shifty runner, tough to tackle
- Can also make plays on defense
Key 2012 Games (Besides Helix)
Fri 09/28 @ St. Augustine (Mesa College) [Loss 21-20 in ‘11]
Fri 10/26 @ Olympian [Loss 16-7 in ‘11]
Prediction: Helix By 14
Lincoln Hornets at #7 Madison Warhawks
Last meeting: 1998 Division III Playoffs - Lincoln 35, Madison 7
Can Madison put together another double digit win season with a new starter at quarterback? How much has Lincoln improved since their disappointing 2011 season? Those questions and more will be answered when these city programs take the field in Clairemont this Friday.
Despite winning only two games last season, the Lincoln Hornets are receiving some respect from local media rankings. That could be due to their outstanding performance in passing leagues this off season. With the highly recruited Robinson twins leading the way, don't be surprised to see a deep run in the playoffs.
Madison was unbeaten in 2011 until they fell to eventual champion Valley Center in the Division IV semifinals. Replacing a quarterback like Chase Knox won't be easy, so expect tailback Pierre Cormier to be the leading play maker on offense for the Warhawks.
Tale of the Tape
#7 Madison Warhawks (IV)
Rick Jackson (9th Season)
- Finished 10-1-1
- Started the season 8-0 before a 13-13 tie with Point Loma.
- Loss to Valley Center in the Division IV semifinals
Pro Style QB Chase Knox
- 2011 1st Team All-CIF
- Walked on to the University of Wisconsin
- Will be replaced by sophomore Kareem Coles
Senior RB Pierre Cormier
- Arizona Commit
- Named one of the top 5 RBs in California by Rivals.com
- Rushed for 1,471 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011
Key 2012 Games
Fri 09/28 @ Mira Mesa [Won 37-29 in ‘11]
Fri 10/12 vs. Christian (2011 D-5 Champs)
Fri 11/02 vs. Point Loma [Tied 18-18 in ‘11]
Lincoln Hornets (III)
David Dunn (2nd Season)
- Finished 2-8-1
- Loss to Cathedral in the Division III quarterfinals
Senior Athletes Tyree & Tyrell Robinson
- Have over 20 offers for football & basketball
Key 2012 Games (Besides Madison)
Fri 09/21 @ Olympian
Fri 10/12 @ Cathedral Catholic [0-2 vs. CC in "11]
Fri 11/02 vs. St. Augustine [Loss 41-7 in '11]
Prediction: Madison by 10
#9 St. Augustine Saints at Carlsbad Lancers
Last meeting: September 2, 2011 - St. Augustine 39 Carlsbad 0
St. Augustine started the 2011 season 9-0 before falling to rival Cathedral Catholic in the annual Holy Bowl. Two weeks later they were knocked out of the playoffs by Mar Vista. With quarterback Joe Kennedy moving on, matching their 2011 run will be tough.
Carlsbad's roller coaster season ended in a thrilling overtime loss to Vista in the playoffs. Getting back to being a North County powerhouse will have to start by avenging their first shutout since 2003.
Prediction: Carlsbad by 17
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