El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Colin Grylls

When Santana played Mar Vista in the regular season, the Sultans’ sideline looked like an infirmary.

Now the Sultans are back at full strength in the playoffs, and it showed in their 23-6 win over the Mariners Friday night.

Junior quarterback Nathan Temple missed seven games with a broken collarbone this season, including the 27-13 loss to Mar Vista on Sept. 21.

The celebration lasted so long, Foothills Christian got locked out of the locker rooms.

The Knights beat the San Diego Jewish Academy Lions 41-14 in the CIF San Diego Section Division VI championship game held at Mission Bay High School last Saturday. Foothills Christian (9-2, 5-0 Ocean) forced four turnovers and held San Diego Jewish (6-3, 3-2 Ocean) to 239 yards, with just 93 of those coming in the second half.

“They gave us all we wanted that first half and then they started wearing down and I think our conditioning paid off,” head coach Joe Mackey said.

Santana had never played in a CIF girls’ volleyball finals match, and early against High Tech San Diego it showed. The Sultans were trailing 2-0 and fell behind 8-1 in the third set when something changed.

They started having fun.

Santana’s nerves disappeared with each point. Mistakes went from being morale killers to a joke between friends. Timeouts turned into an opportunity to dance and laugh.

Helix, Steele Canyon and Granite Hills split the Grossmont Hills title with 4-1 records after Steele Canyon pulled off a 22-21 comeback win over Helix last weekend.

The loss dropped the Highlanders (6-4, 4-1 Grossmont Hills) out of Open Division contention, but they’re still the highest-seeded East County team at third in Division I and receive a bye to the quarterfinals on Nov. 9.

Steele Canyon (8-2, 4-1 Grossmont Hills) is seeded fifth in Division I and hosts El Camino.

Monte Vista senior running back Jahmon McClendon only needed a couple of yards.

The Monarchs (9-1, 4-0 Grossmont Valley) were stuck after West Hills junior linebacker Jake Maheu downed a punt at the one-yard line with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Senior quarterback EJ Henderson took the snap and handed off to McClendon on a simple dive up the middle to give the offense some breathing room.

McClendon hit a hole in the line and ran right through the aggressive Wolfpack defense for a 99-yard touchdown.

Helix clinched at least a share of the Grossmont Hills League football championship with a 56-21 win over Granite Hills last Friday.

The Highlanders (6-3, 4-0) outscored the Eagles 28-0 in the third quarter to pull away as the defense did not allow a first down in the period. Junior Delshawn Traylor intercepted a pass as a defensive back and scored two rushing touchdowns at quarterback.

The open layout of Monte Vista’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday night amplified nostalgia-fueled laughter and the chandeliers were just dim enough to hide everyone’s tears.

Held at the El Cajon Elks Lodge, the ceremony had a reunion-like atmosphere. Generations of Monarchs reminisced over dinner as a slideshow cycled through photos of the inductees. A table propped against the wall to the right of the screen displayed their old jerseys, medals and trophies.

Helix’s four-game winning streak is not much of a surprise — the Highlanders (5-3, 3-0 Grossmont Hills) have been one of San Diego’s premier high school football programs for years.

The surprise was Helix’s 2-3 start to the season.

Head coach Robbie Owens said the rough patch was a learning experience for the Highlanders, who were ranked No. 1 in the Union-Tribune’s preseason poll.

West Hills’s student section, looking across the field at Santana’s packed visitors stands, laid claim to their distinctive blue turf before the two teams even lined up for the kickoff.

“This is our house! This is our house!”

The Sultans’ makeshift student section spoke up in return.
“We can’t hear you! We can’t hear you!”

Cristopher Ostreng could have taken all the credit.

The senior quarterback led Granite Hills (6-0, 1-0 Grossmont Hills) with 222 passing yards and 33 rushing yards against Steele Canyon (4-2, 0-1 Grossmont Hills). He passed for two touchdowns and scored two more on the ground, including the go-ahead 5-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds left. He even punched in the the two-point conversion that put the Eagles ahead 30-27.

But Ostreng had someone else on his mind.