EC Preps

EAST COUNTY FEARLESS FORECASTER – Quarterfinals

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL FEARLESS FORECASTER

CIF QUARTERFINALS

EastCountySports.com staff report

EL CAJON – Even after the rankings were done by computers and the media was becoming more social, our beloved Fearless Forecaster Bill Dickens would soon rather do his preparation for his signature article using a legal pad, a calculator and a landline telephone.

Spending countless hours hunting down and compiling statistics and talking to nearly each and every head coach often well after midnight, Dickens turned a simple prediction column into a must-read article for coaches, players and families alike in print and on the internet for over 30 years.

But Mr. Dickens, as every kid would call him, didn’t just write about the biggest and brightest Friday night stars.

His knack for prognosticating not only the week’s local high school football games but who might be up-and-coming or overlooked talent that would impact those teams in the future wasn’t just a dart throw.

Bill had every coach believing he was their best friend, their confidant if you will, just so he would have the most exclusive tidbits and possible strategies heading into the big game.

But he wasn’t schmoozing these guys just to get a scoop.

He lived for his relationship with each and every coach, administrator, athlete, and parent he would come across. He lived to tell their story, often as a triumph, but sometimes even in heartbreak.

Our friend, Mr. East County Sports, Bill Dickens, passed away on Tuesday of complications from diabetes and dementia. He was 68.

He was the only man who could pull off wearing jeans, cowboy boots, a Hawaiian shirt, a leather jacket and a baseball cap while walking the sidelines until he couldn’t walk them anymore.

Yet every story put you behind the scenes, on the field, and in the locker room. His predictions, always a rock-solid 70 percent or higher, had become even more uncannily accurate despite his health struggles over the last few years.

And while the world had long turned to the internet, smartphones, and tweets, “Billy D” or “Bubba” or “Chas” was always going to be more efficient with his diligent phone calls, a hunt-and-peck typing style, and a TANDY TRS-80.

We’ll try and find the words of the Fearless Forecaster for this Friday night’s San Diego CIF quarterfinal playoff games…

(7) No. 8 MADISON (8-2) at (2) No. 2 HELIX (9-1) – Talk about a brick wall, these Scotties allow well under a touchdown per game (4.7 ppg).

The way the Highlanders start, their defense is just as likely to put up a couple of touchdowns before the offense even takes the field

Then when CARSON BAKER (easily the Fearless Forecaster’s favorite player of the last generation of kids that he covered), ISAAC TAYLOR-STUART, RASHAD SCOTT, ISAIAH WOODEN and ELEYON “FATTO” NOA take the field, they are rarely stopped, as well.

One of the reasons that Baker and Co. complete over 70 percent of their passes and average over 400 yards per game is Helix’s elite offensive line, including PAKA ROJAS, ISAIAH MANN, WILLIAM PAYNE, MATTHEW AVII, CHRIS ALVARADO and ISAAC GONZALEZ.

The Highlanders have an abundance of defensive stars, as well, including junior linebacker MICHAEL SHAWCROFT, who would headline half of the teams in the county if he didn’t play with such a top-level crew.

The defending state 2-AA champion Warhawks are no first-round slouch in this Open Division matchup

Madison was 6-0, then hit a bump with losses to the fast-rising Saints and another top-ten team in Pt. Loma.

They feature offensive stars Kenan Christian and Keonte Springs, while defensive standouts Cesar Nillaga and Damanuel Talautai have combined for 21 sacks.

The winner of this faces the Saints-San Marcos winner, which is more closely-rated than this one… HELIX, 35-14.

(8) No. 17 GROSSMONT (7-3) at (1) No. 1 MISSION HILLS (10-0) – The Grizzlies won an Open Division quarterfinal game at Grossmont last year, 49-48, so the Foothillers might not be as star-struck as one might think.

The Hillers had more than 500 yards of total offense in that one, but this Mission Hills group is much improved on the defensive side of the football, which has solidified their No. 1 ranking for most of the season.

Grossmont’s JOSH MOALA had seven receptions, including a touchdown in last year’s wild thriller and SHEVELL STERLING JR. had TD in the game, as well.

Defensively, ANDREW LIRA was kept busy with 11 tackles in that crazy up-and-down the field game. The senior star has six interceptions this season.

Grossmont has 32 sacks as a team, led by JULIAN SANDERLIN with 12, and DASEAN CRAWFORD with 5.

They will look to get pressure on Griz senior Jack Tuttle, the University of Utah-bound QB, who threw for 342 yards in the season finale win over San Marcos.

Mission Hills receiving star Chris Olave took an official visit to Ohio State on Saturday during the bye week.

The Grizzlies also feature likely Division 1 talent in Damon Wigand, Maurice Jones and Sam Dixon, who is headed to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Grossmont has put together a solid, outstanding season, but are up against an even more elite Open Division squad here… MISSION HILLS, 40-24.

(6) GRANITE HILLS (9-2) at (3) No. 11 VALLEY CENTER (9-1) – The Eagles have won 7-straight since losing to Valley Center early in the season.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars come in on a 7-game winning streak after a home loss to El Capitan, of all teams.

Only one team can advance to the Division 2 semifinals.

Valley Center won that early meeting, 29-7, but Granite hills led 7-0 after one quarter, and the game was tied 7-all at halftime.

Valley Center’s senior receivers had a combined 14 receptions, as the Jags had 356 yards, including 227 passing by Tim Mazzetti

Granite Hills senior quarterback JAKE SIEGFRIED had nearly 100 yards rushing, but the Eagles were limited to 10-of-25 passing, and the Jags recorded two interceptions.

Granite Hills’ “biggest” star might be its most overlooked in 6-foot-6, 285-pound lineman GARRETT CURRAN.

That’s only because he leaves the highlights with fellow big men DAVID TYLER “GONZO” GONZALEZ and WILLIAM BURTON.

Curran isn’t being ignored by Division I colleges, however. He’s getting looks from Arizona, Boise State, and Washington State with about a dozen programs showing interest.

Valley Center defeated Monte Vista, 51-10, in its season finale in Spring Valley after trailing the East County hosts, 10-0, early.

Mateo Sinohui has rushed for over 1,000 yards, while wideout Keith Vasquez is a real red-zone threat with 11 touchdowns out of his 27 total catches.

The Jaguars also defeated the Eagles in El Cajon in 2016 in overtime, 27-21, so this one could be surprisingly close… VALLEY CENTER, 28-24.

(7) STEELE CANYON (7-4) at (2) No. 6 BISHOP’S (9-0) – Great news for the Cougar faithful. Steele Canyon star defensive end and receiving threat MIKEL OLIVER is expected back after missing three games with a knee injury.

“I will be playing this week,” said the San Diego State-bound senior star. “his game is gonna be a dog-match nothing less. We are gonna get out there and play physical, smash-mouth football.”

It was feared that Oliver may have ligament damage, which would immediately sideline him. His future with the Aztecs is too big to risk.

Despite his success at Steele, Oliver has battled injuries throughout his career. Imagine the production he could bring a defense given a whole season.

Oliver was dressed and on the sidelines last week in the Cougars’ first-round home win over Mira Mesa.

THOMAS FISHBURNE, another Cougar legend, passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another score to beat the Marauders for the second time this season.

The Cougars’ JORDAN ANDERSON had 2 TDs in the win, giving him 10 TDs this season. That’s a pretty big number for the senior wideout.

Meanwhile, DARIN WALTON had three QB sacks in Oliver’s absence as Steele placed a pretty decent clamp on Mira Mesa junior signal caller Noah Tumbling.

Now the Cougars will face a Bishop’s team that would rank as an Open Division qualified had they not been ranked in Division 2, where they are a top contender.

We talk about running teams all the time, but these Knights pass at a 2-to-1 ratio and average a whopping 53 points per game.

Bishop’s features record-setting receiver MOZES MOONEY and JACOB JACKSON, who have combined for 31 receiving touchdowns.

If the Cougars and Eagles could spring upsets, the East County foes would meet again for the second time this season after playing an epic game in week 3… BISHOP’S, 38-24.

(5) CHULA VISTA (7-4) at (4) MONTE VISTA (5-5) – This one will feature plenty of running, with JAHMON MCCLENDON and the Monarchs offensive line, including standouts EMMANUEL MENDES, DAVON OULDS and RON BARRY.

Chula Vista was 2nd in Metro League, defeating Coronado, 37-0, in the first round last week.

The Spartans also had a nice regular season win, defeating Morse in week 3.

Just because the Monarchs’ record isn’t as attractive as the Spartans’ mark, Monte Vista has played the tougher schedule, which plays a critical role in the computers seeding calculations.

The Spartans carry ball at a 4-to-1 run-to-pass ratio, so it will be up to the Monarchs’ defensive crew, led by BLAKE SCHMIDT, SEBASTIAN VALDEZ, and ADAM MARTINEZ

Senior Victor Agraz leads a Chula Vista defense which forces an average of 1.1 turnovers per game.

Chula Vista lost at Mount Miguel, 15-6, earlier this season while the Monarchs defeated Mount Miguel, 35-0, though the Matadors QB was knocked out of the game early.

The winner faces the University City-Serra winner in the Division 4 semifinals. The Monarchs lost to the top-seeded Centurions, 27-15, in week 2.

Monte Vista head coach RON HAMAMOTO is still looking for that milestone 216th career coaching victory and he should get it… MONTE VISTA, 24-19.

(9) MOUNT MIGUEL (5-6) at (1) SOUTHWEST (EC) – The Matadors surprised everyone but themselves, as they won at Escondido in a first-round Division 3 game last Friday, 27-18.

It was Mount Miguel’s first playoff win in 5 years, but they came into the Cougars’ Den confident they could win with a healthy contingent.

The Matadors Travel to face the undefeated top-seeded Southwest Eagles in El Centro.

Matador senior SHEMAR GREENE performed a workman-like role last week, with 30 carries on the ground, along with three receptions for 182 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.

Mount Miguel quarterback MUGABE MILLER’s ability to buy time is the best of any East County quarterback and that was on display Friday night.

On the Matadors’ defensive side, MANU MAOSI, a two-way lineman, had a sack last week in the road win, while senior ALEX LEMON had 10 tackles, including 3 1/2 for loss.

Mount Miguel’s C.J. JACKSON contributed eight stops, including 3 1/2 tackles for loss, as well. Veteran two-way star SANTINO PACHECO had four pass breakups.

The Eagles have section’s most-underrated star in Tyler Saikhon, who has 26 TDs, and he leads the team in rushing and receiving.

Southwest defeated West Hills, 36-17, in a week one tilt in West Santee, as Saikhon had 5 touchdowns.

The Matadors are great at the initial hit but have to wrap him up.

These are the games were Bill was relentless to get his story. Often against a tight deadline, he would make coaches or reporters call him from distant road games win or lose, sometimes from a pay phone, immediately after the game.

He loved the invention of the cell phone, though he never had anything more than a flip phone. He would call coaches before they even had time to get the kids back on the bus for the ride home… SOUTHWEST, 35-21.

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