Isaac Taylor-Stuart, one of the fastest players in the country, rushed for 645 yards and seven touchdowns last year for St. Augustine. Then, he bee-lined for Helix this summer.
So Friday’s first regular-season matchup between two of the best programs in the San Diego Section since 2004 took on a little extra meaning. That and the fact that Helix beat the Saints in the 2015 Open Division championship.
In front of a raucous crowd at Mesa College, Taylor-Stuart and the No. 3-ranked Highlanders simply proved they have superior depth and talent in a 35-7 win over the Saints (2-3).
“It was definitely a game I was looking forward to,” Taylor-Stuart said. “I was definitely excited.”
Taylor-Stuart played supremely at cornerback and rushed 11 times for 67 yards and a touchdown against his former team.
Helix’ Carson Baker was 10 of 16 passing for 186 yards and two TDs, and Elelyon Noa rushed 12 times for 84 yards and two scores. Helix totaled 347 yards to the Saints’ 253.
“Establishing the line on both sides of the ball was the key,” Helix coach Robbie Owens said. “We established the run, and Carson played very well.”
Helix (3-1) scored on the first play of the game, Baker tossing a perfect strike deep downfield to Isaiah Wooden who went untouched for a 70-yard TD. The Highlanders scored again four minutes later on a 16-yard by Noa to make it 13-0.
St. Augustine, however, responded on its next possession with JR Justice making a spectacular catch in the end zone for a 25-yard TD pass from Ryan Thomas.
Justice finished with eight catches for 97 yards. Thomas was 18 of 33 passing for 171 yards.
Helix had only two rushing scores coming in, but Noa scored again with 4:02 left in the half on a 3-yard run to make it 21-7 at intermission.
Lindgren is a freelance writer.