East County Sports

Wolf Pack complete decade of victories over Braves

 

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Photo by TRyan Photography

 

By James McHugh

© East County Sports.com
EL CAJON – (10-9-15) – It had been a long time since El Cajon Valley managed to best West Hills in football. Almost ten years to be exact.

October 21, 2005, was the last time the Braves walked away from a meeting with the Wolf Pack in victory.  Three losses would follow in subsequent seasons before a 24-24 tie in 2009. Then things picked up right where they left off last season when the teams reunited in the Grossmont Valley League, and West Hills drubbed El Cajon Valley 36-7.WH at ECV Score

Things were supposed to be different this time around. El Cajon Valley entered Friday night’s (Oct. 9) game 4-1 and the current Pack hasn’t looked like the West Hills teams of old just yet.

Unfortunately for the Braves, West Hills decided to follow suit and keep tradition alive, stomping the Braves 38-13, ensuring the Wolf Pack’s unbeaten streak would extend to at least a full decade against the Braves.

The loss was damaging for the Braves. Ranked sixth in the CIF Power Rankings in Division IV coming into the night (Oct. 9), the Braves could have benefitted from defeating a Division II club in West Hills. Instead, the Braves fell to a team that currently boasts a losing record (3-4). The Braves will now need to hope that the Wolf Pack keeps on winning, so that loss will be less damaging to their ranking come season’s end.

Things didn’t start off well for the Braves on their home turf. A false start on their first snap was followed by two short runs and then an interception. The Wolf Pack scored just two plays later on a 21-yard run by quarterback SPENCER MOYER.

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Photo by TRyan Photography

In total, the Braves mustered just one defensive stop in the first half.

After an El Cajon Valley drive stalled at the West Hills 34-yard line, the Wolf Pack drove 65 yards to the Braves 1-yard line. Moyer found an open receiver in the El Cajon Valley end zone as the half ended but the ball failed to break the plane. West Hills scored on its other three possessions of the first half, including touchdown passes from Moyer to TAJ BROOMFIELD (18 yards) and MITCHELL CARLIN.

West Hills also limited county rushing leader NATHAN McCULLOUGH to 49 yards on the ground on 12 carries through the first half, well below his 11.1 yard per carry season average. Quarterback CHARLES SMITH actually led all rushers with 64 yards at the half, the bulk of those yards coming on a 51-yard run that led to the Braves’ lone first half score.

McCullough scored from 1-yard out after the Smith run.

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Photo by TRyan Photography

“McCullough doesn’t have elite speed,” said West Hills coach CASEY ASH. “But he makes good cuts, is very hard to bring down, especially against arm tackles. You can be assured he’ll eventually pop one.”

McCullough would finish the night with 123 yards on the ground but the real story on this night was the West Hills offense. The Wolf Pack punted just one time on the evening and had just two other drives end without putting points on the board. The first of those drives was the previously mentioned first half drive which stalled at the El Cajon Valley one.

The last drive ended with two kneel downs to run out the clock and end the game. West Hills was well on its way to yet another score on their final dive when they rendered mercy on the Braves defense that spent a disproportionate amount of time on the field all night.

Moyer finished the night 13-21 passing for 146 yards, including 3 touchdown strikes, while the Wolf Pack ground game gathered 231 yards from eight different rushers.

Moyer led the way with 89 yards and added a touchdown pass to JUSTIN HANCOCK in the second half as well. JOVAN BEA also punched in a 5-yard touchdown for West Hills while C.J. ERWIN connected on a 25-yard field goal attempt and all five point-after attempts.

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Nathan McCullough scores a touchdown Friday night at home against West Hills. / Photo by TRyan Photography

El Cajon Valley did manage to scrape up 221 yards on the ground as a unit but a dismal game through the air didn’t help. The Braves completed just 4 of 13 pass attempts on the night for 35 yards. The Braves will have to become less one dimensional if they want to go deep into the playoffs this season but their first focus will be working their way through league play with few losses.

The Braves face an upbeat offense in Santana in two weeks and that could be an important test for the Braves defense as they look for some extra football in late November.

West Hills, meanwhile, gets a big pick-me-up and the realization that a league title is not out of reach by any means.

Granite Hills is up next for the Pack and then following a bye week, West Hills meets cross-town rival Santana at home in what could be a pivotal game for all involved. Granite Hills will likely have something to say about making that meeting have title implications. The door is open for chaos to break loose in the Grossmont Valley League, especially if Monte Vista can throw a wrench into the winning plans of West Hills, Granite or El Cajon Valley. The next few weeks will be worth the price of admission.

 

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