Receiver Scott Higgins is an important part of the Mission Hills offense.
Asked the best way to stop San Pasqual High’s run-oriented, deception-based, run-first offense tonight, Mission Hills football coach Chris Hauser was quick to respond.
“What San Pasqual does is unique, so you better prepare, and prepare well Monday through Thursday,” Hauser said. “You better not be making adjustments on Friday night.
“You can’t tell your defenders, ‘We’ll do basically the same as last week’ because San Pasqual isn’t like any team you’ll face. They keep you up at night trying to get the defense right.
“Plus, we know San Pasqual will be super geeked for this game. We better be prepared for that, too.”
Mission Hills, 6-0 and ranked No. 1 in the San Diego Section, has had a lot of success against San Pasqual, 6-0 and ranked No. 2.
Mission Hills holds an 8-2 series advantage, winning the last eight in a row.
The teams played twice last season with Mission Hills winning 24-0 in an Avocado East League game and 42-17 in the section Division I semifinals.
Three of those eight games have been one-pointers — 28-27 in 2010, 13-12 in 2007 and 10-9 in 2006.
“We played Mission Hills much better in the second game last season,” said San Pasqual coach Tony Corley.
That game was played in a blanket of fog. Mission Hills led 28-17 in the fourth quarter before scoring two late touchdowns.
San Pasqual ran 61 plays to 37 for Mission Hills.
“That’s what scares you about San Pasqual,” Hauser said. “They have the ability to control the ball, go on long, time-consuming drives. Long drives, however, can also end in mistakes.
“They do what they do, and they do it very well. And they’re much more dynamic this season.”
That’s because JaJuan Thomas has become a polished receiver, a true deep threat. And halfback Grant Huffman brings speed to the outside to complement the inside running of fullback Peter Ricardez and quarterback Sebastian Tengan.
Mission Hills is led by quarterback Connor Wynn, who has two great targets in Brad Sochowski and Scott Higgins.
Defensively, the Grizzlies have allowed just 34 points, 13 over the last four games, including shutouts of Valley Center and Escondido.
Senior linebackers Fred Warner and Ricky Liuchan are considered college Division I prospects.
“Mission Hills is very deserving of its ranking,” Corley said. “They don’t have a weakness, they play a lot of guys, the quarterback distributes and protects the ball.
“This is a big game for both sides, and not just because it’s No. 1 vs. No. 2. This is a great rivalry, so the anticipation would be the same if it was 50 vs. 51.
“And it’s a league game. If you want to win the Avocado East you must beat Mission Hills. The rankings just bring a little more attention to this game.”