Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 Prep Football Preseason Rankings: #1 Helix Highlanders

#1 Helix Highlanders

Location: La Mesa, CA
School Colors: Green, Black, & Gray
Division: I
League: Grossmont Hills
Championships: 1 (State), 7 (Section), 26 (League)
Head Coach: Troy Starr (8th Season)

2014 Recap: 10-3 (4-1 Grossmont Hills, 2nd)

After years of ruling the East County with an iron fist, Helix was finally dethroned after a 24-17 loss to El Capitan in the regular season finale. The Highlanders bounced back by advancing to the Open Division Championship, but was ousted in a hard-fought contest by their long-time championship nemesis Oceanside.
2015 Outlook

By being picked as the undisputed top team in the county, you can expect Helix to have a huge target on their backs going into the new season. But with all the success this program has obtained throughout it's existence, it will be nothing out of the ordinary for the school located in the heart of La Mesa.

“I think Helix has had a target on its back for 30 years,” head coach Troy Starr said. “It had a target long before I got here, and it will long after I leave. This is big-time football here, we’re not playing small ball. Kids know that when they come here, and that’s what the program is all about.”
Starr also doesn't appear to be too flattered by his team's top ranking.

“As far as the number one ranking in the preseason, that’s absolutely meaningless,” the eight-year coach remarked. “It’s where you’re at in the end that counts.”
By season's end, the Highlanders hope to be in a state championship game for the first time since winning one in 2011. With nearly all their starters returning from last season, including five All-CIF San Diego selections, the Scotties appear ready to make another run.

“I think we have a group of talented kids who had a lot success last year who can get a lot better,” said Starr. “We also have a lot of new kids who are unproven and need a lot of work, and you're only as strong as your weakest link.”

Senior quarterback Michael Austin provides a duel-threat to the Highlanders offense. Last season he totaled 26 touchdowns while throwing for 1,665 yards and rushing for another 559.

“Mike Austin is an explosive runner,” Starr said. “He's played well at times throwing the ball and I think it’s real important that he have some success passing in big games. He knows he has a lot to improve on.”

Also bringing explosion to the offense is speedy running back Nate Stinson, who rushed for 1,458 yards and found the end zone 19 times last year. Despite his size, Starr hopes the senior can be the work horse back for the Highlanders this season.

“He needs to show that he can handle 25 carries and play a full game,” Starr says.

On the other side of the ball, the Highlanders are expecting some big-time play from returning defenders Forest Hanlon (DE), Zeke Noa (LB), and Scott Young (DB), who have all played on the varsity squad since they were freshman.

“Really excellent players,” Starr said while giving them high praise.

Helix begins their journey towards a championship with an intersection contest against Chaparral (Scottsdale, AZ) that takes place this Saturday at Cathedral Catholic. While the highly favored Highlanders are expected to do big things this season, Starr stresses that there's plenty of work to be done.

“Our expectations right now are just to improve every day drill by drill, work on fundamentals and techniques, and knowing our assignments,” Starr explained. “If we could do that, we’ll let all the pieces fall where they need to fall.”

* League Opponent
(R) Revenge Game
(#) Rivalry Game

Impact Losses

DE Luke Holloway
WR DeShawn Keirsey
OL/DL Jaylon Kuykendal
OL/DL Joe Toilolo

Impact Returners

Senior QB Michael Austin
- 2014 All-CIF San Diego Second Team Offense
 - 2014 All-East County First Team Offense

Senior DE/TE Forrest Hanlon
- 2014 All-CIF San Diego Second Team Defense

Junior LB Zeke Noa
- 2014 All-CIF San Diego Second Team Defense

Senior RB/DB Nate Stinson
- 2014 All-CIF San Diego Second Team Offense
 - 2014 All-East County First Team Offense & Defense

Junior DB Scott Young
- 2014 All-CIF San Diego Second Team Defense


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