East County Sports

Norsemen leave little room for improvement





East County Sports Staff Report


EL CAJON (9-24-16) — Valhalla’s Orange Crush defense, the successor to last season’s Law Firm defense, is improving… slightly.


Last week they limited Mar Vista to 75 yards total offense.  Friday evening (Sept. 23), the Crush did exactly that to Patrick Henry, begrudging the visitors a mere 72 yards total offense in a lopsided 57-0 rout before a large Homecoming crowd.



Valhalla’s JEROME JOHNSON carries against Patrick Henry Friday night during Homecoming.

The halftime fireworks took place on Valhalla’s side of the stadium; during the game, the fireworks took place on Valhalla’s side of the line of scrimmage – both on offense and defense.


Senior running back JEROME JOHNSON only carried the ball 12 times in the game, but made ‘em count, scoring 3 touchdowns on the ground, the first coming with 8:38 left in the first quarter when he ran around the right end, followed a great block by BRENT BURNETT, and skittered 15 yards into the end zone.  After senior kicker JACOB PAAPE (7-8 PAT) cleared the uprights, the Norsemen led 7-0.


About a minute later, the home team scored a safety when a bad snap past the Patriots’ punter went out of the end zone, making it 9-0 at the 7:22 mark.


Following the safety, CONNOR MOSER returned the free kick 13 yards to the Patriots’ 32 yard line.



BRANDON FULLER secures the ball for Valhalla Friday night.

On first down, junior quarterback DENNIS DAHLIN threw a beautiful spiral into the waiting arms of senior wide receiver BRANDON FULLER for a 32 yard TD, increasing the lead to 16-0, less than five minutes into the game.


Apparently, Fuller is fully recovered from his injury that idled him for two games because he snagged another bomb from Dahlin the next time the El Cajon team had the ball, a virtual duplicate of the preceding touchdown, except that this one was for 28 yards.  Valhalla led 23-0, with 4:33 left in the first period, with plenty of time to score again.


After Paape kicked his third straight touchback on the ensuing kickoff (8-9 touchbacks), the Patriots tried to get something going on offense.


On first down, linebacker Burnett stepped in front of the receiver to knock down the pass.  After a 1 yard gain, the visitors faced a 3rd and 9 from their 21 yard line.  This time, junior linebacker BRANDON GARZA sacked the quarterback for a 5 yard loss, forcing another punt.



Valhalla senior ANTHONY PORTILLO carries Friday night against Patrick Henry. / photo by Don De Mars Photography

Valhalla’s next series was a large dose of Johnson, where he covered 39 yards in four carries, finishing with a 1 yard pop into the end zone, putting the game out of reach, 30-0, with 1:36 remaining in the first quarter.


Amazingly, the Norsemen got yet another opportunity to score before the second quarter began when another bad snap on a punt gave Valhalla the ball on the Patriots’ 6 yard line, with 10 seconds left in the period, but it took two plays to find paydirt when Johnson scored his third TD of the evening on a 5 yard run to open the second stanza, upping the score to 37-0.


Three plays later, after the Patriots had started to move the ball on offense after a 16 yard run, Garza jarred the ball loose from a Henry runner that was scooped up by junior linebacker JACE MANNING, who raced 37 yards for a defensive touchdown, giving the Norsemen an insurmountable 44-0 lead at the 10:16 mark before intermission.


Midway through the second quarter, Henry’s offense perked up and managed a 14 play drive to the Valhalla 36 yard line, but, alas, on 3rd and 13, senior defensive back ROLAND GLOVER intercepted his second pass of the season, returning it 20 yards to the Valhalla 43-yard line.



Valhalla’s ROLAND GLOVER returns an interception on Friday night against Patrick Henry.

Early in the second half, junior quarterback BRYAN MADRIZ found senior wide receiver PATRICK CROSBY open downfield, who took the pass in stride, made some nice moves evading tacklers and sprinted to pay dirt.  This time, a low snap resulted in a missed PAT, and Valhalla led 50-0, with 9:34 left in the third quarter.


The Norsemen added another score later in the third quarter when Madriz lofted a fade pass to Paape, who snagged it above a leaping Patriots’ defensive back who fell on the attempt, leaving Paape alone to turn it into a 47 yard TD pass-catch-run, ending the scoring at 57-0, with 5:14 remaining.  Mercifully, the 4th quarter was on a running clock.


In addition to his fumble recovery touchdown return, Manning had two more quarterback sacks, giving him 8 sacks in 5 games.


Dahlin and Madriz only threw 16 passes combined, but 4 of them were for touchdowns, the shortest TD pass being 28 yards.  Fuller led all receivers with 4 catches, 2 TDs, and 76 yards.


To date, Valhalla is averaging over 40 points per game, and has held its opposition to an average of 3 points per game, garnering three shutouts in five contests.

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