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Grizzlies find their go-to guy

12/11/2013, 12:10pm PST
By John Maffei

Scott Higgins emerges as Mission Hills' No. 1 receiver.

Mission Hills high school football player Scott Higgins.


One ring, earned last season as a reserve on Mission Hills' San Diego Section Division I champion basketball team, is proudly displayed on a shelf at home.

About the other ring, earned as a starting receiver on the Grizzlies San Diego Section Open Division champion football team, Scott Higgins said, "I plan to wear that baby."

Higgins and teammate Brad Sochowski were on the Mission Hills basketball team last season, a team that went 29-5 and won two games in the Southern California Regionals before losing to Santa Monica.

"I'm proud of what we did in basketball," Higgins said. "But I was a reserve, didn't play much."

Both Higgins and Sochowski plan to join the basketball team when football is over.

They're hoping that won't be for another couple of weeks.

Friday, Mission Hills hosts Bakersfield in a Southern California Regional Division I playoff game. The winner advances to the state championship in Carson against the Northern California winner ... either Loomis Del Oro or San Mateo Serra.

Higgins - all 5-foot-8, 165-pounds - has emerged as Mission Hills' top receiver. He has 63 catches, tying Sochowski's school record set last season.

"I didn't know how many catches I had until someone told me after the Oceanside game," Higgins said. "I was pretty surprised."

Higgins has also returned three punts for touchdowns, not including a reverse against Helix on a ball he pitched to Nate Ostrom that went for a TD and broke the Highlanders' backs.

"Scott was mostly a defender last season," said Mission Hills coach Chris Hauser. "This season, we needed him on offense, and he has come through big time."

Higgins and Sochowski gave the Grizzlies two of the best possession receivers in the county.

But when Sochowski broke his foot in midseason, Higgins became quarterback Connor Wynn's main target.

"I had to grow up pretty quickly," Higgins said. "There is a big difference being the No. 1 guy."

Higgins was the No. 1 receiver last week in the San Diego Section championship game against Oceanside in Qualcomm Stadium.

His one-handed stab of a 22-yard pass from Wynn in the back of the end zone was the spark the Grizzlies needed to overcome a 14-10 halftime deficit and rally for a 36-14 win.

"My hands aren't that big, but the ball hit me in the right spot and stuck," Higgins said. "My worry was that my feet were in bounds."

The worry Friday is attacking Bakersfield's 3-3-5 defense, a unit that plays without a down lineman.

It leaves receivers in single coverage.

"I usually line up in the slot, so defenders play off or cover me with a linebacker," Higgins said. "Connor Wynn has been very consistent all season.

"When he throws, the ball gets there in a hurry. And he puts it in spots where only we can catch it."

Higgins has been able to catch at least one of Mission Hills' four basketball games, sitting on the bench for a game.

"Scott is quick, strong and handles the ball really well," said Mission Hills basketball coach Curtis Hofmeister. "He was stuck behind some very good players last year.

"But he's a great kid, a wonderful teammate, a player with a high basketball IQ.

"He'll be our point guard and a very important part of our team.

"I want him as soon as I can get him, but I'm willing to wait a couple more weeks."


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