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California’s Top 50 high school football teams: Gunnar Hensley, Matt Martin return to lead explosive offense for No. 24 Mission Hills

The Gunnar Hensley to Matt Martin connection promises to be one of the most prolific in the San Diego Section this season.
Mission Hills Grizzlies

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Mission Hills Grizzlies of the CIF San Diego Section, the No. 24 team in our countdown.

MORE: PRESEASON ALL-STATE TEAM | TOP 50 COUNTDOWN

MISSION HILLS TEAM PAGE | 2021 FALL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

MISSION HILLS HEAD COACH

Chris Hauser, 18th season (139-59-2)

  • Coached at Vista from 2000-2003

2021 SPRING AT A GLANCE

  • 5-0 overall record
  • 4-0 in Avocado League (T-1st)

IMPACT DEPARTURES

  • Elisha Lloyd - DB (signed with Utah)
  • Troy Fountain - OL (signed with CSU-Pueblo)
  • Skai Donnell - WR/DB (graduated)
  • Tyson Chavez - LB/TE (graduated)
  • Cameron Woolsey - RB (graduated)
  • Riley Fountain - LB (graduated)

2021 SCHEDULE

  • Aug. 20 @ Chaparral - 7PM
  • Aug. 27 vs. Palos Verdes - 7:15PM
  • Sep. 3 @ Lincoln - 7PM
  • Sep. 10 @ La Costa Canyon - 7PM
  • Sep. 17 vs. Carlsbad - 7:15PM
  • Oct. 1 @ Oceanside - 7PM
  • Oct. 8 vs. Rancho Bernardo - 7PM
  • Oct. 15 @ Torrey Pines - 7:15PM
  • Oct. 22 vs. El Camino - 7PM
  • Oct. 29 @ San Marcos - 7PM

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Gunnar Hensley (Senior-QB) (6-3, 180)

Gunnar Hensley Mission Hills

Hensley is a rising star with a big arm. He helped Mission Hills post two 50-point games during the 2021 spring season. He is poised for a monster senior season.

Matt Martin (Senior-WR)

Matt Martin Mission Hills

The Hensley to Martin connection promises to be one of the most prolific in the San Diego Section this season.

Jaiden Letua (Senior-LB) (6-1, 215)

Canaan Ridill (Senior-RB)

Carmelo Chapman (Senior-DB) (5-11, 175)

Peter Eyabi (Senior-LB/TE) (6-2, 210)

Jordan Dwyer (Senior-WR/DB) (5-10, 170)

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WHAT’S THE QUARTERBACK SITUATION?

Senior Gunnar Hensley will be the starter for the second consecutive season. He transferred in from Carlsbad following his sophomore season.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR MISSION HILLS

The Grizzlies will get the chance to make their mark out of the section with back-to-back games against Southern Section opponents to start the season before returning home for a huge matchup against Lincoln in a rematch of the division one semifinals from 2019. The Grizzlies along with Carlsbad appear to be the best suited teams to take their shot at Cathedral Catholic in a potential playoff matchup but will have to focus on each other first in Avocado League play. Mission Hills is not a lock for the open division playoffs, but unless they drop more than one game in league play it would be a surprise to not see them in the four-team bracket.

MOST REALISTIC SCENARIO

Mission Hills will likely battle Carlsbad for the Avocado League crown, with the two teams matching up on September 17th. Both teams shared the title last year, unable to play each other. The Grizzlies have the advantage of hosting Carlsbad and El Camino, likely their toughest two opponents in the Avocado League. Mission Hills' road game at Lincoln in week three could go a long way towards playoff seeding later in the season, with both teams likely battling for one of the four open division playoff spots.