Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 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), 8 (Section), 27 (League)
Head Coach: Robbie Owens (1st Season)

 2015 Recap: 11-2 (5-0 Grossmont Hills, 1st)

CIF San Diego Open Division Champions

After dropping a close season opener to Chaparral (Scottsdale, AZ), Helix went on a dominating 11-game win streak, including a 44-30 victory over St. Augustine in the Open Division title game. The following week, a trip to the state championship was derailed by a disappointing 32-28 loss to Mission Viejo (CA). While the Highlanders didn't reach their ultimate goal, they became the first wire-to-wire number one team in our prep football rankings.



2016 Outlook

Following eight seasons that featured two section titles and the program's only state championship, Troy Starr's eight-year run as the Highlanders' head coach comes to an end, and a new era begins.

Also gone are six players who were named to the All-CIF San Diego team last season, including standout running back Nate Stinson, who earned the 2015 CIF San Diego Offensive Player of the Year award after exploding for over 1,700 yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground.

First-year head coach Robbie Owens will still inherit what should be one of the more stacked rosters in the county, headlined by Ezekiel Noa, the section's reigning Defensive Player of the Year. 

Noa returns after an outstanding 2015 campaign where he led the team in tackles (92) and sacks (9.5).

Ezekiel Noa takes down a Grossmont receiver after a screen pass.

The senior linebacker will be joined on defense by athletic cornerback Scott Young, who is coming off an All-Section season where he hauled in four interceptions. 

Young will also be expected to fill the receiving void left by Mekhi Stevenson, who graduated after catching 35 passes for 775 yards and 10 scores.

Also look for Evan Perkins and Rashad Scott to step up as key passing targets.

When Helix was putting teams away early, backup quarterback Carson Baker made the most of his reps. Coming off six touchdown passes as a sophomore, he'll now lead the offense full-time, replacing three-year starter Michael Austin.

Carson Baker finds Evan Perkins for a 57-yard TD strike.

Last season, Kameron Tiumalu was the team's third leading rusher behind Stinson and Austin. This year he'll succeed Stinson as the featured tailback.

Anchoring the unit that protects the offense will be Blayke De La Rosa, who will also be a major force on the defensive line (5.5 sacks last year).


* League Opponent
(#) Rivalry Game
Game vs. Clayton Valley to be played at Mission Viejo

Impact Losses

 QB Michael Austin
DE/TE Forrest Hanlon
WR Mekhi Stevenson
RB Nate Stinson
DL Sefa Tauanu’u
TE Mason Vinyard
LB Jihad Woods

Impact Returners

Senior OL Blayke De La Rosa
2015 All-CIF San Diego 1st Team Offense


Senior LB Ezekiel Noa
2015 CIF San Diego Defensive Player of the Year

Senior DB Scott Young
2015 All-CIF San Diego 1st Team Defense

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