East County Sports

Prep football roundup

Don De Mars Photography

EastCountySports.com staff report
OTAY RANCH 14, VALHALLA 7 – It was a slugfest at Otay Ranch Friday night (Aug. 28) between two tough defenses when Valhalla’s football team cruised down Hwy 125 to Eastlake on opening night.  Senior running back RAHSHAUN SHARPE didn’t waste any time getting in gear when he took the opening kickoff and sprinted 50 yards to the Otay 45-yard line to start the game.  On 3rd and 5 from the Otay 40, senior quarterback PHILLIP NASEH heaved a bomb near the end zone; junior wide receiver BRANDON FULLER dove for it at the 5-yard line, but it was just off his outstretched fingertips.

Following another incompletion, the Mustangs took over on downs and started its first offensive series with two running plays.  They didn’t fare well.  Back-to-back tackles for loss by senior linebackers TREY SCHIMKE and CADE BAKER on first down, and by senior defensive back JORDAN ELLIS and sophomore defensive lineman JOSH McNISH-HEIDER on second down set the tone for the evening.

After Sharpe ripped off 14 yards with a nifty run to the Mustangs’ 36-yard line, Naseh was smacked hard in the backfield, resulting in a fumble that was scooped up by an Otay Ranch linebacker who rumbled 24 yards to the Valhalla 38-yard line.  Two plays later, Otay wide receiver Adrian Rodriguez broke free on a fly-sweep to the right for a 30 yard touchdown run, giving the hosts a 7-0 lead with 7:44 remaining in the first period.

In the second quarter, Valhalla got the chance to knot the score when senior linebacker LOGAN BAKER put intense pressure on the Mustangs’ quarterback. On third down, Cade Baker introduced the passer to his home turf by sacking the would-be thrower for a whopping 21-yard loss.  Naseh connected with senior wide receiver CONNOR CHAMBERLAIN for a 6-yard gain, followed by a short completion to senior wide receiver NEEVER KRYAKOS. After running for a first down on the next play, the offense stepped up its game.

Phillip Naseh preparing to get the snap against Otay Ranch on Aug. 28, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Don DeMars Photography (Don DeMars)

Phillip Naseh preparing to get the snap against Otay Ranch on Aug. 28, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Don DeMars Photography (Don DeMars)

Naseh dashed 13 yards to the Otay 17-yard line for another first down – but then the offense sputtered.  Undeterred, Naseh scrambled, pump-faked to the left and then threw a dart to Chamberlain, who had worked free to the goal line in the middle of the field.  After JACOB PAAPE split the uprights, the game was tied 7-7 with 2:21 remaining before intermission.

The third quarter was more of the same – a seesaw battle back and forth until the last few seconds, when Otay quarterback Arturo Saenz threaded the needle to a receiver in the end zone for what proved to be the winning touchdown, giving the hosts the lead at 14-7, with 10:15 to play.

The Norsemen had opportunities to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but came up empty – twice.  But opportunity knocked once again.  With Valhalla out of timeouts, and with only 1:35 left in the game, the Mustangs inexplicably chose to pass the ball from their 10-yard line.  Senior linebacker TREY SCHIMKE intercepted this gift horse, giving Valhalla a last gasp to at least tie the game. Starting from the Otay 16-yard line.  Fuller snagged a short pass from Naseh and juked his way to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, an interception in the end zone squelched the comeback, giving Otay Ranch a hard-fought victory.

Naseh was 17-33-1 for 206 yards and one TD, with five of those misses coming from dropped passes, mainly attributable to first-game jitters.  Valhalla’s “law firm” defense (e.g., “Baker, Bender & Schimke” or “Heider, Ellis & Meier” – usually 3-4 members of the firm gang-tackling ball-carriers) garnered 15 tackles-for-loss, 2 sacks, and had 2 interceptions.
— Gene Yale


Valhalla's defense awaiting the snap against Otay Ranch on Aug. 28, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Don DeMars Photography (Don DeMars)

Valhalla’s defense awaiting the snap against Otay Ranch on Aug. 28, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Don DeMars Photography (Don DeMars)


CHRISTIAN 37, BRAWLEY 21 –The Christian High Patriots (1-0) took a lofty preseason ranking and high expectations across the mountains and into the desert to tangle with a highly touted Brawley High Wildcat squad on Friday (Aug. 28). Their trip was rewarded with a 37-21 conquest of Brawley in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.

Going into the Wildcats’ den to scrap with Brawley is a risk at best. But head coach MATT OLIVER says this is by design. “We scheduled up this year, now that we are in Division II,” he said. “We need to play these type of teams to be ready down the road.”

Offense wasn’t going to be the question. There would be plenty of that. Christian returns almost all of their skill players from a team that won the Division III San Diego CIF crown last year. Who would step up on defense or special teams might offer the final piece to this puzzle.

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Adrian Petty on his 95-yard TD run / @CHSRedZone

Or the first piece. ADRIAN PETTY stood at his own 5 yard line and fielded the opening kickoff. He took a few steps left and found a seam and hit it. Hard. He busted the play back down the Christian sideline for a 95 yard touchdown scamper that left the Warren Field partisans in silence. 12 seconds in, the score was 7-0.

It would take longer on the second possession. After holding the Wildcats on a 4th and goal at the 4, Christian marched 93 yards on an 8-play drive that featured battering ram fullback JOEY MORONES. On a 2nd and 12 from their own 20, Morones caught a 15-yard pass from QB DAVID JEREMIAH. Later in the drive, he would bulldoze Brawley for 26 yards down to the Wildcat 4-yard line. 2 plays later, he finished what he started with a 3-yard TD plunge. At 4:38 in the 1st quarter, the Patriots were having their way 14-0.

After a NATE CAZARES 38-yard field goal on the 3rd possession made it 17-0, Brawley did show some life going on a 10 play drive to cut it to 17-7. But Christian High had their foot placed firmly on the gas pedal.

How about another one play drive? BENJAMIN GOODWIN thought that was a good idea. Taking a screen pass from Jeremiah at his own 17-yard line, Goodwin bobbed and weaved and then found the sideline to his liking for an 83 yard touchdown burst.

“That was a little back screen, and we got a good crossblock,” said Jeremiah. Four possessions, 4 scores. 24-7.

But the Patriots were hardly finished. A final drive before the half shows how scary Christian can be. Petty (13 carries, 82 yards) rushed for 8 yards. Jeremiah found NICK SEXTON (6 catches, 66 yards) for 7 yards. Petty broke off a 27 yard run. Jeremiah rushed for 9 yards. Petty added 6 more and Sexton had another grab for 6. Goodwin had a catch for 4 and BRANDON HESTER had one for 23 yards.

With 8.1 seconds left on the clock, Jeremiah (18 of 26, 307 yards 3 TD) found Goodwin (4 catches, 126 yards 2 TD) for a 15-yard TD and a 31-7 halftime lead. That is some firepower.

The Patriots made it a perfect six straight possessions in the 3rd quarter, capping off a 69-yard drive with a 14-yard pass to Hester for their final tally of 38 points.

Petty who also had 52 yards receiving in addition to his 82 rushing and 95 yard kick return, knew what the problems facing the Wildcats would be.

“They are a physical team, no doubt”, he said. “But this type of game is what we need, this was a good win.”

Defensive coordinator MIKE MITCHELL was also very happy with the play of his defense.

“I like the way we played”. Mitchell added, “Our starters only gave them 7 points and that’s a highly ranked team in Division II. We are very pleased.”
— Mark Meadows


TORREY PINES 28, STEELE CANYON 7 — One day sometime soon, Steele Canyon will play football like Torrey Pines did Friday night (Aug. 28). The Falcons play hard-nosed and rugged on both sides of the ball, control the clock, don’t make many mistakes, and score when they get in the red zone.

The Cougars played hard-nosed and rugged on both sides of the ball, controlled the clock, and didn’t make too many mistakes, except … they failed to score when they got in the red zone.

The result was a 28-7 Torrey Pines victory at Steele Canyon in the season opener for these Division I powers playing for the first time.

“There’s a lot of good that I saw,” Steele Canyon coach SCOTT LONGERBONE said. “You can’t make the mistakes we did against a good team like that and come away with a win, though. We hit the red zone enough times and came away with nothing – three missed field goals and a fourth down that we went for. We have to do a lot better in those situations.”

Torrey Pines moved the ball well on its first four possessions and scored three times to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.

The Falcons moved the ball 55 yards on seven plays and scored 3:19 into the contest on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jacob Montes to go up 7-0.

After a 3-and-out in the Cougars’ first series, Torrey drove 61 yards in six plays – again with Montes scooting into the end zone from 1-yard – to take a 14-0 lead with 4:16 to play in the first quarter.

Steele Canyon then ran 15 plays, driving 64 yards to the 16, but messed up a scoring chance when a field-goal hike bounced to the holder for a 12-yard loss.

Torrey looked to strike again after a 52-yard run by Matthew Feeler, but the Falcons fumbled the next snap, and Kyree Woods recovered it at the 12-yard line.

The Cougars countered with a 9-play, 63-yard drive, but this one ended with a 42-yard field-goal attempt that went wide left. Sophomore rookie quarterback THOMAS FISHBURNE highlighted the drive with a 29-yard pass to CARRINGTON TRISBY.

The Falcons made it 21-0 with a 30-yard scoring pass from junior Caden Kelley to Lucas Braun with 0:17 to play before halftime.

“They ran a well-conceived offense,” Longerbone said. “They really played well. They don’t have a lot of holes. You look through their lineup, and they just have one solid guy after one solid guy. They’ve got talent up and down the line.”

Steele Canyon had another chance just before halftime when PIERRE ALEXANDER returned the kickoff 57 yards to the 27-yard line. After Fishburne hit MICHAEL FITCH for a 9-yard connection, the Falcons botched a third straight field-goal attempt as Tristan Alesi rushed through the line to block the 35-yard attempt.

The Cougars’ offense dominated the third quarter but again came away empty after drives of seven and 12 plays – the latter stalled at the 27-yard line.

Torrey Pines tallied again with 8:40 left to play. Alesi intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards to the 7-yard line. Three plays later, Daniel Jackson rushed in from the 3-yard line for a 28-0 lead.

The Cougars didn’t light the scoreboard until 0:38 left to play when MALCOLM ANDERS rushed for a 10-yard score.

“We had a lot of deer-in-the-headlight moments,” Longerbone said.

Fishburne played well in his debut, completing 11-of-20 passes for 124 yards with the one pick. He also scrambled for 41 yards on 12 carries.

“I give a lot of credit to Fish,” Longerbone said. “He battled. Against a team like Torrey Pines, that was impressive. He’s going to cause some fits for some teams down the road.”

Said Fishburne, “We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we’re going to learn from our mistakes. It was a good learning experience.

“We got down in the red zone a lot. We just couldn’t punch it in. Those are points we should have had, but that’s football.”

Despite his youth – last year Fishburne was the quarterback on a 1-9 freshman team – he was very aware of the pace of the game and the impact of each drive.

“They got us to where we wanted to get them, throwing the ball in the second half to try to catch up,” he said. “They’re a good team. We need to play more like that.”

Anders finished with 74 rushing yards on 14 carries.

“Malcolm ran the ball really well,” Longerbone said, “harder than I’ve seen him in three years.”

Alexander added 32 yards on seven carries, all in the first half.

Trisby caught three balls for 45 yards, ANTHONY HOWARD caught three for 22, and SEAN TODD two for 32.

Steele Canyon also got sacks from JORGE LIZARRAGA, RICH VAZQUEZ and SEAN MILLER.
— Jim Lindgren

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