East County Sports

No stopping Braves, Smith in playoff rematch





By James McHugh



EL CAJON (8-26-16) – El Cajon Valley had a tough end to the 2015 season, suffering a loss to a Kearny team that the Braves had bested earlier in the year. The Braves were also forced to travel to Kearny despite their head to head win during the regular season.

Fast forward to opening night 2016 and the Braves have clearly moved on from their post season loss. On Friday night (Aug. 26) Quarterback TYSON SMITH and the Braves ran all over a Komets team that never quite found its groove.
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El Cajon Valley runs the ball Friday night against visiting Kearny. / photo by Ramon Scott


Smith did a little bit of everything for the Braves in the season opener, in addition to rushing for 197 yards, Smith cancelled out a fumble of his own by picking of Komets quarterback Kenynon Williams on the very next play. Smith threw in a few had hits for good measure while roaming the Braves’ secondary.


MARQUEL GARNER got things going from the start for El Cajon Valley.

After Kearny failed to go anywhere except backwards on their opening drive, Garner took the first handoff of the season 22-yards starting what would be a four play 54-yard drive, culminating in a 16-yard dash for Smith’s first touchdown on the night.

Smith would also run in the conversion.

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An El Cajon Valley player is tackled by Kearny on Friday night. / EastCountySports.com photo

Garner would finish the night with 99-yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 15-yard score with 5:02 left in the third to make it 32-6.

The Braves went 38 yards in just 31 seconds to take a 16-0 lead with 5:28 to play in the first, then Smith ran a 42-yard keeper to give ECV its third score in the first quarter.

When Kearny finally managed to find its way on the board early in the second quarter and cut the El Cajon Valley lead to 16-6, none other than Smith came through and blocked their point after attempt.

Kearny did manage to make a game of it late in the third quarter. Trailing 32-6, Kenyon Williams and Treshaun Gray connected for strikes of 25 and 38-yards.

The Komets also converted two consecutive two-point conversions and retrieved an onside kick all in the span of four minutes, cutting the lead to 32-22 heading to the fourth quarter.

With the Braves backed up to their own three yard line and facing third down, Smith found ways to shine once again, bursting for  a 54-yard run which eliminated Kearny’s hopes of a short field and a chance to cut deeper into the Braves lead.

Early in the fourth, Smith would rush for a first down to the Kearny 25 on a keeper with 7:06 left, then with five minutes left in the game, he would score his third rushing TD of the evening.


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An El Cajon Valley’s defender zeros in on a Kearny ball carrier. / photo by Ramon Scott

 After the Braves wrapped up a win before their home crowd, head coach PARRIS PISIONA praised his quarterback amongst others, but saw room for improvement headed into week two.

“We didn’t throw the ball really well tonight,” the coach said. “We still had too many penalties so we have to cut that out.”

Pisiona also saw some bright spots on the field that didn’t com from his main rushers Smith and Garner.

“LUIS PEREZ played really well for us both ways,” he said. “I expected something from Luis but he was somewhat limited last year. I don’t know that I expected less but I don’t know that I expected that much from Luis in the first week.

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The Braves’ TYSON SMITH finds the end zone for his third TD. / photo by Ramon Scott

“That was a pleasant surprise to see how well he played for us. We came and we knew it was going to be a grind and we got it done.”

El Cajon Valley will play host to Montgomery next Friday (Sep. 2). The Aztecs were thumped 43-0 by La Jolla in their opener so they will be hungry for some offense come week two.



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