Preseason #1 Helix made the trek north to take on a Top-50 nationally ranked Cajon team of San Bernardino. Cajon quarterback Jayden Daniels, an Elite 11 Finalist, had his way as he went 10 of 11 through the air for 5 touchdowns and ran for another as he gave the Cowboys a 43-3 halftime lead, which ended up being the final score.
Preseason #2 Torrey Pines headed south to open the season at #9 Eastlake. The Falcons had the ground game working as they got 120+ rushing games out of running backs Mac Bingham and Evan Galluzzi. Quarterback Jason Heine had a touchdown run, but the Falcons weren’t able to finish drives scoring only 13 points. Luckily for them the defense picked up the slack, forcing several Titan turnovers and pitching an opening week shutout. The Falcons will see several first place votes this week after opening with a 13-0 win.
Preseason #3 Cathedral Catholic challenged themselves with an early season road game against #6 La Costa Canyon. The Dons suffered an early injury to running back Shawn Poma and committed two early personal foul penalties. The Mavericks added two early field goals before Marshall Eucker found Trevor Gonzales in the end zone just before the half. Cathedral got on the board in the fourth quarter when Shawn Poma scored on 4th and goal from a few yards out. The Dons got the ball back but fumbled it away on the 2nd play leading directly to a Karson Lippert 46 yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach. Maverick Juniors Marshall Eucker, Trevor Gonzales, and Ozzie Nicholas (5.5 sacks) all had impressive starts to the season and should make the Mavs a top team for the next two seasons.
Preseason #4 Mission Hills has set themselves up with a very challenging opening month of the season. They welcomed Paramount in week one. Mission Hills didn’t have much answer to the Pirates passing game as Kingston Hala threw for 307 yards and 4 TD’s. Star receiver Darius Wallace, a 4-star in the ’20 class, impressed by catching 7 passes for 179 yards and 2 TD’s. The Grizzlies scored late, but Paramount held on 26-18. Mission Hills will have to bounce back quickly as they host Westlake (Westlake Village), Chaminade (West Hills), and Carlsbad over the next three weeks.
Preseason #5 Madison (who I voted #1) opened at home with a solid Rancho Bernardo team. The Broncos had all eyes on Warhawks star running back Kenan Christon, holding him to 60 yards rushing, but that allowed teammate Daniel Stokes to run for 149 yards and a TD on only 8 carries. The two teams were tied at the half, but the Broncos added a safety to take a lead after three quarters. Madison added a 4th quarter touchdown to go ahead for good en route to a 19-15 opening week win.
Preseason #7 San Marcos hosted Otay Ranch. The Mustangs started quickly, holding a lead after the 1st quarter as well as halftime, but San Marcos added a touchdown in each of the last two quarters to hold on for a 24-21 win. Both teams will be presumably tested again in week #2. The Knights will head south to take on a Grossmont team that took down Bishop’s in week #1, while the Mustangs will play host to a Valley Center team that scored 57 points in their opener.
Preseason #8 Ramona welcomed Mater Dei Catholic up to the hill. The Bulldogs, led by new quarterback Derek Diamond, a Stanford baseball commit, had a strong effort on both sides of the ball that en route to a 28-0 victory. They’ll have a long trip this next week when they head to Point Loma. The Crusaders will be back in similar territory when they head to take on El Capitan.
Preseason #10 Steele Canyon faced a tough test coming off of a state title as they traveled to play unranked Carlsbad (who I had ranked #8). The Lancers showed they belong in a strong Avocado League this season and routed the Cougars 41-13. Carlsbad will welcome in Desert Vista from Phoenix next week while the Cougars will return home to host Brawley.
NOTES: It was a tough opener for Bishop’s as they fell to a Grossmont team they had beaten in the opener a year ago, but the worse news was losing 5-star sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner on the opening series of the year. His knee injury is expected to cost him the remainder of the season.