While the Grossmont Hills League is generally regarded as the stronger of the Grossmont Conference’s two football leagues, it might be prudent not to overlook the Grossmont Valley League this year.
“Our league is going to be a pretty strong league this year,” El Capitan High School coach Ron Burner said. “El Cajon is vastly improved and, of course, West Hills, Santana and Monte Vista seem very competitive right now. It’s going to be a fun year with the league title up for grabs as all of us are going to be pretty even this year.
“We feel we are the front runners with a lot of our guys back from last year, eight returners on offense and seven on defense but we will have some youth as well. It’s going to be some great competition for sure.”
Though league championships were not officially awarded during the shortened 2020-21 spring season, El Capitan, Monte Vista and Santana all finished with 3-1 Grossmont Valley League records to forge an apparent tri-championship.
The Lakeside team finished its six-game spring season 3-3 with non-league losses to Granite Hills and Steele Canyon and a league setback to Monte Vista.
Burner said his team’s skill talent returns intact. The Vaqueros’ starting quarterback, running back, receiver and top defender all return.
Anchor players for the upcoming season include senior quarterback/safety Savigon Lloyd Yokley (6- 3, 180), senior running back/defensive back Xavier Peace (5-10, 170) and senior middle linebacker/ running back Alex Fa’aea (5-10, 245).
Both Yokley and Peace were prone to score long breakaway touchdowns in the spring.
Grossmont Hills League teams expect to set the pace in the conference once again this year.
“All four teams in our league have very difficult schedules early on,” said Granite Hills Eagles head coach Kellan Cobbs, whose team posted a 5-0 conference record in the shortened spring season. “I think this will have us all battle-tested by the time we get into league games.”
“We start with Poway, which didn’t lose a game in the spring (5-0). They should be a good gauge for us for where are at early on in the season. We are hoping for another league championship and make a run at a CIF championship.”
Granite Hills finished the delayed 2020 season as the top team in East County. The Eagles finished 3-0 in GHL play by defeating the Grossmont Foothillers (20-7), Steele Canyon Cougars (40-33) and Helix Highlanders (35-21).
It was a special season for Granite Hills, which defeated Helix for the first time in 10 years to lay claim to top billing within the conference.
Overall, the Eagles finished 11th in the overall section rankings (ninth among Division I teams).
Entering Friday’s non-league home opener against Poway, Granite Hills is ranked 13th among section teams, ninth in Division I.