East County Sports

Verdict on Valhalla defense is strong

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By Gene Yale

© East County Sports.com
SPRING VALLEY (10-10-15) — News flash. For the first time in four games, Valhalla’s Law Firm defense gave up positive rushing yards — 6 of them, to be exact (on 39 attempts) — at Mount Miguel Friday evening (Oct. 9), as the Norsemen bulled over the Matadors, 41-7, in a Grossmont Hills League opener. VAL at MM Score

The home team averaged only .15 yards per rush (39 attempts), even though senior running back ANTHONY GILMORE scooted 45 yards to the Valhalla 1-yard line in the first quarter.

The game didn’t start well for the hosts.  On its first possession, Mt. Miguel had a 3rd and 2 from its 28 yard line when senior linebacker CADE BADER sacked the quarterback for a 9 yard loss, forcing a punt.  A bad snap ended up in the end zone where Valhalla’s wrecking machine, senior defensive end DANIEL BENDER, pounced on the pigskin for a quick Norsemen TD; the PAT attempt failed, but Valhalla enjoyed an early 6-0 lead only two minutes into the contest. Mt. Miguel junior quarterback BENNY VALADEZ wasn’t fazed.  Following the kickoff, Mt. Miguel started again at its 20 yard line.  Valadez used both his feet and his arm to get the ball rolling for the Spring Valley boys.

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Mount Miguel’s Antoine Hamilton secures a pass Friday night against Valhalla.

An 8 yard pass-catch to senior wide receiver JOHNNY LEE and a 10 yard scamper by Valadez gave the Matadors better field position at their 44 yard line.  However, two quick tackles for loss by senior linebacker LOGAN BAKER (15 stops, 3 qb sacks, 7 tackles for loss), with an assist on one by sophomore defensive lineman JOSH McNISH-HEIDER quickly squelched the drive.

Still not fazed, Valadez started again, this time from Valhalla’s 46 yard line after the Matador defense bottled up the Norsemen offense deep in Norsemen  territory.  Valadez worked a fly sweep to perfection, getting the ball to Gilmore, who evaded several tacklers with bursts of speed; he was finally corralled by senior defensive back DANTE CARNESSALE at the Valhalla 1 yard line.  Three plays later, senior running back ANTOINE HAMILTON, apparently healthy after suffering early season injuries, bucked in from the 2 yard line; MARIO COKER’s kick was true, and the Matadors took the lead 7-6, at the 3:36 mark of the first quarter.

Valhalla regained the lead early in the second stanza when senior quarterback PHILLIP NASEH (6-18-1 76 yards, 2 TDs), faked a draw play, did a pirouette, and located McNish-Heider, now playing tight end, open on the right side line for a 20 yard touchdown. Senior CONNOR CHAMBERLAIN split the uprights this time (3-4 PAT; 2-2 field goals), making it 13-7, with 9:46 left in the half.

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Valhalla QB Phillip Naseh advances for yardage Friday night against the host Matadors.

Valhalla blew it open in the third quarter.  Naseh threw a perfect spiral to JORDAN ELLIS for a 34 yard TD, upping the lead to 21-7 (after Naseh hit NEEVER KRYAKOS for a 2 point conversion) with 5:54 remaining in that period.

On the next series, disaster struck the Matadors.  Bender sacked the quarterback on the Mt. Miguel 11 yard line and forced a fumble which was scooped up by senior linebacker LUCAS WALZ who returned it to the hosts’ 2 yard line.  Big JEROME JOHNSON (10-39, 1 TD) slammed into the end zone on first down, increasing Valhalla’s lead to 28-7 with 4:57 left to play in the third quarter.  A hip-shot 27 yard field goal by Chamberlain made it 31-7 after three periods.

Valhalla added another Chamberlain field goal (36 yards) and 45 yard TD run by senior running back RAYSHAUN SHARPE (15-114, 1 TD) in the 4th quarter.

In the first half, Mount Miguel (3-3) had 80 yards total offense, mostly on Gilmore’s 45 yard run.  In the second half, they were limited to 28 yards.  For the evening, Valadez was productive, completing 15 of 26 passes, with 2 interceptions, for 102 yards.  Gilmore fared better, netting 54 yards rushing on 10 carries, but Valhalla’s stout defense limited the home team to 108 yards total offense, including the 6 net rushing yards.  Lee was the most productive weapon, snagging 5 passes for the Matadors, while gaining 57 yards.

Once again, Valhalla’s defense was relentless.  They sacked Valadez 8 times, recovered 5 Matador fumbles, had 2 interceptions and a whopping 25 tackles for loss.  The Norsemen (5-1) sputtered some on offense, but managed to run for 145 yards on 22 carries.

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