El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Mary York

Helix football is headed to the state championship.

Robbie Owens may have known he was taking on one of the most historically successful football programs in San Diego when he stepped up as the head coach of the Helix Highlanders last year, but it is unlikely that he expected to such an eager and determined group of young men who would go on to win the 2017 Open Division Championship in a 26-19 victory over No. 1 Seed Mission Hills. 

Every November, as families buy Thanksgiving turkeys and cranberry sauce and stores begin to tentatively hang up early Christmas decorations, East County football plunges into the best season of the year: playoffs. 

With established programs like Helix and Grossmont High School, football in the Grossmont conference is usually well-represented in CIF. This year is no different.

Grossmont head coach Clint McLaughlin may have entered La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool dry on Saturday night, Nov. 11, but he left it soaking wet from head to toe. 

Following a nail-biter game, won in the final seconds of the last quarter to clinch the Division CIF Championship title, McLaughlin joined his boys in the pool for a ‘victory lap.’ 

There is definitely a stigma towards parents in high school sports. Steele Canyon high school’s tennis program defies it. 

With a ‘no-cut’ policy that gave the team 52 players this year, the Cougars depend on their parent volunteers to help coach. 

Head coach Jerry Segawa said the parents have attributed both to the performance and the culture of the program. 

Cuyamaca College’s gym was filled with all kinds of talent on Oct. 25, as the men’s basketball team scrimmaged with the San Diego Silverbacks, a wheelchair basketball team.

As students and community members nested in the bleachers, Cuyamaca’s able-bodied basketball players took turns in wheelchairs against the accomplished San Diego team. The teams were mixed to have a few Silverbacks on each side to teach the Coyotes how to dribble, pass and recover the ball from their seats.

It is a knock-down drag out for the Grossmont Hills league title in the last week of girls volleyball conference games. 

Helix (15-10, 7-2) was hanging onto a narrow lead until Thursday, Oct. 19, when they dropped to Steele Canyon (16-12, 6-3) and West Hills (15-9, 7-2) improved over El Capitan (14-11, 5-4), tying the Wolfpack and the Highlanders with the Cougars one win behind and only one game left in the season. 

Granite Hills stole a homecoming game win away from South Bay’s Hilltop High School (3-4) on Oct.13, in riveting second-half comeback that hints at an exciting season in the Grossmont Valley League. 

The visiting Eagles (5-2) were down 13-12 at the start of the second half, which followed the crowning of Hilltop’s homecoming royalty and a magnificent firework display over Southwestern College’s football stadium, where the neutral non-conference game was held. 

High school sports is a tradition, and around it is built a celebrated community of friends and neighbors coming together around fields, courts and swimming pools to create and foster brighter futures for students. Monte Vista embraces the value of the entire community that is Monte Vista past and present each year by inducting alumnus in all curriculum of studies into its own Hall of Fame.

East County high school tennis is entering the second round of conference and the usual suspects have stepped out in front amidst the volley of competition to stake their claim on the Grossmont Hills league title. 

Steele Canyon, the defending champions, have lost only one conference match this season, an 11-7 drop to Helix, which Cougar head coach Jerry Sagawa said they do not plan on repeating in the second round. 

“Our goal is still to win league,” he said.