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No. 1 Helix opens with a thud

08/29/2015, 6:59pm PDT
By Steve Brand

Highlanders coach warned pollsters that Scotties needed to mature

Helix coach Troy Starr's Highlanders rallied to make a game of it but couldn't defeat Scottsdale Chaparral on Saturday.

Coach Troy Starr tried to tell everyone his Helix Highlanders weren’t the No. 1 football team in the San Diego Section. He probably won’t have to worry about that again for a while.

Scoring 16 points in the final 3:15 of the third quarter and the first 40 seconds of the fourth, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral stunned the preseason top-ranked Scotties 23-19 Saturday in the Brothers in Arms Classic at Cathedral Catholic High.

“This is who we are,” Starr said after his team rallied from down 23-7 to make it a game against the Firebirds, who are rated No. 18 in the state of Arizona. “We have a few very talented players, but we also have a lot of youngsters who are prone to make mistakes.

“This is a great opportunity to see how we play under adversity.”

The visitors were handed a touchdown when one of those mistakes — a center snap that sailed over the head of Helix quarterback Michael Austin on the second play of the game — was recovered by Chaparral on the Helix 20.

Four plays later, the Firebirds’ Kurt Shughart plowed in from a yard out.

The Helix faithful looked for the equalizer from speedy Nate Stinson, and he gave it to them when he scampered 52 yards for a score late in the first quarter. It would prove to be the longest play of the day for the Scotties.

With the wind at its back in the third quarter, Chaparral worked for field position and broke through after a Helix penalty allowed the Firebirds to erase a field goal and put up a touchdown on a 2-yard run by Shughart.

When the Scotties were pushed back to the 7, Chaparral collected a safety to go up 16-7. They took the free kick and marched 48 yards for another short 2-yard run. Blink: 23-7.

Helix played better in desperation mode as Stinson added a 4-yard TD and a 1-yarder with 4:36 remaining.

The Scotties got the ball back with 3:06 to play but moved backward, ending any last-second hopes.

Stinson finished with 103 yards on 21 carries and the three TDs, but Austin was hit for losses five times and could complete just 8 of 20 passes for 72 yards.

Helix isn’t scheduled to play again until Sept. 11 at home against Eastlake.

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