East County Sports

Legit rivals in front of Braves history in topsy-turvy Valley

El Cajon Valley's Tyson Smith / photo by Andrew Oskanian - ECVBraves.com




By Bill Dickens and Ramon Scott
© East County Sports.com


EL CAJON (10-5-16) — This is a Grossmont Valley League race that any of the five teams could come away with a championship. Even struggling Mount Miguel and Granite Hills could bolt to the top and claim the silver before all is said and done, although Monte Vista could be the upstart to claim the hardware. Obviously the favorites are undefeated El Cajon Valley (5-0) and surprising Santana (4-2).


 – The Braves haven’t won a league title in 42 years. That’s when professional football star MARK MALONE was the quarterback at El Cajon Valley. In 2016, they are undefeated and boast the league’s best player in quarterback/running back/DB TYSON SMITH, who has rushed for 962 yards and 11 touchdowns on 93 carries. El Cajon Valley doesn’t throw the ball except in a pinch so it remains to be seen whether its formula can survive for the duration. The magic on Madison resembles that of the 2005 team that went 11-3 and finished sixth in the county poll after losing in the Division 3 title game to Oceanside. Now the Braves are in line to seriously compete for both a league and CIF patch in Division 4.

 – The Sultans’ versatility on offense certainly gives them a serious shot at the league crown, as Santana enters the league campaign on a four-game winning streak behind a suddenly balanced attack that appears to be clicking on all cylinders. The big game may come down to Santana’s trip to El Cajon Valley on Oct. 28. The Sultans beat El Cajon Valley last season, 49-0, in Santee. Not only are the Sultans right in the thick of the championship mix, they will compete for a bye in the opening-round of the D4 playoffs. To make that happen they’ll turn to record-breaking running back BOBBY WALLACE and sharp-shooting quarterback JOSH OEDEWALDT.

 – The Monarchs (4-1) throw the ball even less than the Braves. Like, never. Still, their ground attack has enjoyed a mountain of success so far this season and the unheralded Monte Vista “no name” defense has been the big story so far having allowed just 26 points to date. Just like the top Valley contenders, the Monarchs will not only be fighting for the league title, but are expected to be in the mix in D4, as well. The McClendon brothers – JAHMON and JAMEZ – provide the Monarchs with a one-two rushing punch. RASHAUN WILLIS BROWN is averaging 87.3 yards per game.

 – The Matadors were last seen here winning four-straight undefeated league titles from 2010-13 before being shifted over to the Hills League for the last two seasons, where they went 1-9. So why isn’t Mount Miguel favored once again? The Matadors were not shy about playing a tough non-league schedule, in which they went 1-4. They possess a solid running game led by running backs in SHEMAR GREENE and SANTINO PACHECO and the passing of BENNY VALADEZ at QB. Mount Miguel can get off to a quick start, opening with back-to-back home games. CAMERON HANSON anchors the defense.

 – The race is close enough to warrant the Eagles an outside shot at the title despite coming into the race with a four-game losing streak. Remember, the Eagles went 4-0 en route to the league championship just a year ago. Granted, that was a more experienced group and likely that learning curve is what has plagued Granite so far, but this type of grind-it-out race may be able to put the Eagles on equal footing. Granite Hills must improve on offense, however, soon. The key performer is versatile quarterback JAKE SIEGFRIED, who has passed for 392 yards and 4 touchdowns. Junior TYLER GONZALEZ has emerged as a top rate defender.

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