Week 2: Hilltop Lancers 47, El Capitan Vaqueros 41
Friday night (Aug. 30), the Lancers of Hilltop High survived a tight game against the El Capitan Vaqueros, 47-41.
The scoring got underway in the first quarter with Jeremiah Serrano squeezing it in from two yards out giving Hilltop the 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Vaqueros answered right back with a quick screen pass from Wick Hauser to Kalen Lavallais for a 7-6 lead.
Hilltop (2-0) came right back and got a 10-yard Serrano rush to put the Lancers back up, 13-7.
El Capitan (0-2) came firing back after a couple of quick slants over the middle to Lavallais for a 14-13 lead at the break.
Then the wild and crazy third quarter happened.
Seven touchdowns were scored in the segment led by Donny Green who had so much fun celebrating the Lavallais touchdown, he scored so that the team could celebrate again and take a 21-13 lead.
Hilltop would not go down that easily.
Serrano got some blocking and streaked down the left sideline with a 65-yard score, although the two-point conversion was no good, leaving it at 21-19, El Capitan.
The Vaqueros came right back on a two-play, 72-yard drive capped off with a 50-yard pass from Hauser to Green putting ECHS up, 28-19.
The Lancers didn’t waste any time coming back to close the gap with Abraham Avila, who showed some fancy footwork for a 30-yard rush to pull within 28-26, El Capitan.
Hauser went back to the well once again and found Lavallais for a 66-yard pass on a skinny post to stretch a 34-26 lead.
About three minutes later, Javin Deanda scrambled for 15 yards for the score and after a two-point conversion, it was 34-all.
As they say in infomercials, “But wait, there is more!”
The Lancers answered back with a long pass play from Deanda to Marko Aki that measured 94 yards to put Hilltop into a lead at 41-34 to conclude the wild and wacky third.
Hauser and the Vaqueros got the ball back on their own 49-yard line. On a third and medium, the six-foot senior kept it on a QB keep for 36 yards. A couple of plays later, he punched it in to tie the game at 41-all.
The Lancers would score the winning touchdown with just under eight minutes left in the game with a Deanda 8-yard rush. The extra point would not be converted making it 47-41, Hilltop.
El Capitan would have a couple of shots to tie the game up in the waning seconds, but it was unable to convert.
Hilltop will host San Ysidro (0-2) next week for its home opener. El Capitan will travel to historic Balboa Stadium to take on the Cavers of San Diego High (1-0).
When two schools are in different school districts, you don’t expect there to be as many story lines as there will be when the Hilltop Lancers and El Capitan Vaqueros face off in Lakeside at 7 p.m. on Friday (August 30).
The Vaqueros (0-1) call the Grossmont Union High School District home, while the Lancers (1-0) are in the Sweetwater Union High School district.
So, on the surface, this doesn’t look like a matchup with many storylines, but if you dig just a little bit you find them.
First, El Capitan is coached by the legendary Ron Burner Sr. and his son, Ron Burner III, happens to be the defensive coordinator for the Lancers.
Second, Hilltop is coached by Drew Westling, who played his senior season of college football as the backup quarterback at San Diego State.
Who was he backing up?
El Capitan’s Ryan Lindley, who happens to currently be the quarterbacks coach for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns.
As far as the players that will be determining the outcome on Friday?
For the Green and White of Hilltop, they are coming off a victory in Week 1 at Escondido.
Javin Deanda threw for 413 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
His main target is Senior Lai Zumstein who caught six passes for 138 yards and a score.
Defensively, coach Burner III will be looking towards Gage Scruggs. The 5-foot-9 Linebacker is the heartbeat of the defense.
The Black and Gold are celebrating their 60th year of being open.
Wick Hauser, last week’s Student-Athlete profile, leads the way for the Vaqueros.
Kalen Lavallais (5-foot-9 junior WR) and Sean Dickson (6-foot-3 senior TE) are a couple of the main targets in the passing game.
Running Back Donny Green (5-foot-9 senior) is the main threat out of the backfield on the ground.
When we get to November, we might look back at this game is an early indicator for the Division III playoffs.
Hilltop is currently ranked ninth, while El Capitan is one spot lower.