San Diego Honor Bowl Sweep

Both Josh Barnard (left) and Matt Romero signed balls and collected gear after Oceanside topped Mission Viejo during Friday's U-T Honor Bowl. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Both Josh Bernard (left) and Matt Romero signed balls and collected gear after Oceanside topped Mission Viejo during Friday’s U-T Honor Bowl. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Debate between Helix of La Mesa and Oceanside over the No. 1 ranking in the CIF San Diego Section may last awhile and could extend all the way to this year’s Open Division section final. Both put on a show in Friday wins at the U-T Honor Bowl against quality opponents.

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For recaps of Honor Bowl games played last week, CLICK HERE for Friday games or CLICK HERE for Saturday games.

After watching the first two games of the U-T Honor Bowl series on Friday night at Oceanside High, it was too hard not to dream.

Coming into the night, Helix of La Mesa was No. 1 in the CIF San Diego Section and No. 15 in the Cal-Hi Sports State 25 while host Oceanside was No. 2 in the section and No. 16 in the State 25.

honor bowlIt could be said that both teams put on a show. Helix used its speed to overwhelm Del Oro of Loomis in the first game in a rematch of the 2011 CIF Division II state bowl game. Oceanside then hit the field and pumped up the home crowd by defeating perennial Orange County power Mission Viejo.

Since Helix and Oceanside don’t play this year in the regular season, it’s possible that both could be 10-0 heading into the San Diego Open Division playoffs and then perhaps stay unbeaten until playing each other. There’s a long way to go for that, but wondering about situations like that is what makes high school football so much fun.

Helix (La Mesa) 34, Del Oro (Loomis) 10

Sophomore Zeke Noa established himself as a player to watch by scoring twice on defense to lead the Highlanders past the Golden Eagles.

Noa, a 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker known by teammates and coaches as Zeke the Freak, picked up a fumble on the seven-yard line in the second quarter and ran it in for a touchdown to give Helix a 21-0 lead. In the second half, after Del Oro had recovered an onside kick, Moa struck again by intercepting a pass and returning it 60 yards for a second touchdown.

Helix (2-0), which topped state-ranked St. Bonaventure of Ventura 24-20 in its opener, scored on its first series of the game on a 40-yard run by Nathan Stinson. The small but quick and darting Stinson then scored again a few minutes later on a three-yard run by junior QB Michael Austin set up the score by firing a 40-yard completion to Deshawn Keirsey Jr. that put the ball inside the five-yard line.

Austin finished with seven carries for 64 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown. He also completed seven of 13 passes for 133 yards.

Del Oro head coach Casey Taylor wasn’t that disappointed afterward considering Helix’s talent and that his defense only gave up three scores.

Helix QB Michael Austin gets told what play to run during team's game against Del Oro of Loomis. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Helix QB Michael Austin gets told what play to run during team’s game against Del Oro of Loomis. Photo: Mark Tennis.

“We played well at times,” said Taylor, who’s team (0-2) has Vista Murrieta at home and De La Salle of Concord at home in its next two games. “You’ve got to give them credit for the scoreboard, but I feel we played better than the score.”

Helix head coach Troy Starr was asked if this year’s team has the potential to be as strong as the 2011 Highlanders.

“That team had no holes in it,” he said. “We have a lot of improving to do to get close to that. We can’t have any weak spots and right now we do.”

Chosen as the game MVP for Del Oro was junior QB Logan Hurst, who had a 51-yard TD pass to Trey Udoffia and who completed a few passes to Mason Hurst, his sophomore brother. Moa was the MVP for Helix.

Oceanside 24, Mission Viejo 7

Since Oceanside and Helix wouldn’t play until a possible monster section final, the correct way to evaluate the Pirates is simply to compare them to previous teams.

Despite some significant graduation losses at the skill positions, head coach John Carroll’s team isn’t missing a beat with Josh Bernard at running back, Johnny Arzola at the slot, Isaiah Paopao at receiver, Davione Taylor at receiver and others who can make plays. Then you add the improved strength and skills from returning quarterback Matt Romero, and it should be very hard to opposing defensive coordinators to slow down the offense.

Peyton Marshall, who plays linebacker and fullback, was chosen the MVP of the game for Mission Viejo. Photo: Mark Tennis.

Peyton Marshall, who plays linebacker and fullback, was chosen the MVP of the game for Mission Viejo.

In this game, Oceanside’s pass rush and quick front seven prevented Mission Viejo’s young offense from doing much until the second half.

The Pirates, who won their first game 34-28 against St. Augustine of San Diego, took the lead quickly on a 16-yard TD pass from Romero to Paopao on a play that began as a field goal attempt.

Mission Viejo drove inside the Oceanside 25-yard line later in the first quarter, but was stopped on downs.

Several plays later, Bernard broke loose on a 51-yard touchdown run that gave the Pirates a 14-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Oceanside continued to keep the momentum, especially on a pass toward the end zone by Romero that was tipped by a Mission Viejo defender but fell into the arms of Arzola anyway. He back-pedaled into the end zone and it as 21-0.

In the third quarter, Mission Viejo’s running game began to come to life with junior Isaiah Miller ripping off good chunks of yardage. Junior quarterback Brock Johnson also converted several third-down passes.

The Diablos, who fell to 0-2 with their other loss coming in the opener to Liberty of Bakersfield, finally scored with 3:56 left in the quarter on a five-yard run by Peyton Marshall, yet another junior. Marshall, who also plays linebacker and blocks as a fullback on offense, was selected by Cal-Hi Sports as Mission Viejo’s MVP.

Bernard, who rushed for 115 yards on 15 carries, also was a defensive presence for the Pirates. He was selected by Cal-Hi Sports as Oceanside’s MVP.

Bernard also was asked about a possible Helix-Oceanside matchup way down the road and he knows such speculation can be dangerous.

“Oh, that would be fun,” he said. “We’ll just see what happens.”

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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