East County Sports

Braves, Matadors fall; Knights advance





By Ramon Scott



EL CAJON – El Cajon Valley senior JEREMIAH DAVIS certainly had the will to win in the Braves’ opening-round playoff game against Serra Friday night.

Davis ran the ball hard and tackled even harder, but El Cajon Valley came up short in a 24-22 Division 4 first-round tilt.


LUIS MORALES pauses after his touchdown Friday night for the Braves. / photo by Andrew Oskanian – ECVBraves.com

Down 24-14 with four and half minutes left in the fourth quarter, GREGORY JONES turned in a highlight-reel 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to awaken the Braves’ comeback chances.

Those chances were fully realized moments later when El Cajon Valley (5-6) recovered a untimely fumble by the Conquistadors with a minute and a half remaining.

The Conquistadors spoiled the party, however, in the final 90 seconds when Serra linebacker Ryen Sanford intercepted a TYSON SMITH pass in Braves’ territory with 1:04 left.

Jones’ touchdown brought life to the El Cajon Valley sideline and in the home stands, as well. The swift-footed Jones would excel as a ballroom dancer with these moves.

“It was a nifty run by Jones,” said Braves coach PARRIS PISIONA. “He fielded the ball, reversed field and came back towards the center before taking the ball into the endzone.”

Davis, meanwhile, finished with 10 rushes for 40 yards, but it seemed like more. He was also the Braves’ top defender on the evening. He had a sack in the first quarter and a key tackle for loss in the fourth. Several times, Serra ran into the brick wall that was Davis.

The no. 10-seeded Q-Dawgs advance to face the No. 2 seed Monte Vista at 7 p.m. on Friday.

On the second play of the second quarter, Robert Harvey scored on a 1-yard rush for the Conquistadors.


Serra and El Cajon Valley pursue a fumble. / photo by Andrew Oskanian – ECVBraves.com

Davis returned the kickoff into Serra (4-7) territory, then rushed for 16 yards on the next two plays.

With 10:49 left in the second, El Cajon Valley (5-6) took the lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Smith to LUIS MORALES. A two-point conversion by Smith put the Braves up 8-7.

Serra regained the lead at 8:02 of the second on a TD run by Harvey off the left side.

On the next series, the Braves gambled a bit going for a fourth-and-1 try in their own territory.

But Smith rushed for a first down, then Morales took a misdirection handoff and rushed into Serra territory. Davis added another run for a first down. The big play, however, was a Smith pass to sophomore BRANDON ROBINSON which took the ball down to the 1.

Late in the period, Smith capped the drive with a 1-yard scoring rush, but the Braves, which go for two almost exclusively, tried to settle for a kick following an unsportslike penalty on their own touchdown. The kick missed and the game was tied, 14-14, at halftime.


LUIS MORALES rushes for El Cajon Valley Friday night. / photo by Andrew Oskanian – ECVBraves.com

The Conquistadors got a  5-yard TD pass from Joaquin Quintana-McKinney to Chance Cannon with 2:35 left in the third quarter. Quintana-McKinney was 9-for-13 for 163 yards passing on the night.

Smith was strong with his keeper when needing to pick up first downs. He picked up several during what looked to be a key drive in the fourth, but the Q-Dawgs turned away a fourth-and-long three, as a holding penalty set back the Braves earlier in the series.

“You can’t win if you make as penalties as we did and fumbled snaps from center,” Pisiona said.

Serra took a 24-14 lead with 4:29 to play the fourth quarter on a 29-yard field goal.




EastCountySports.com staff report


OTAY RANCH – The Mount Miguel Matadors proved tough as nails in their San Diego CIF Division 4 first-round playoff game at Otay Ranch, but the Matadors never recovered from a four-score deficit, falling to the host Mustangs, 43-12, Friday night.

Mount Miguel’s CESAR SIGALA punctuated his career with a touchdown late in the first half after the Mustangs extended the lead in the second quarter to 29-0, while junior SHEMAR GREENE tagged on a 6-pointer with 5 minutes to go for other Matador scores.

“They beat us up front and they bottled up our running game,” said Matadors coach SHAUN McCADE.


Greene following his touchdown Friday night.

Injuries plagued the Matadors during the game as senior MARIO COKER suffered what was later determined to be a broken collarbone, yet managed to play the last two periods.

Quarterback BENNY VALADEZ played on the strength of just one leg in his final game after suffering a sprained ankle in the second half.

Valadez hit Sigala with a quick hitch and the senior turned it into a 43-yard score for a touchdown with three minutes to go in the first half for a final hook-up for the senior duo

“We don’t have the kind of depth that they do,” McDade said of the Mustangs. “But we do have some pieces coming back.”

Otay Ranch (4-7) grounded out an eight-play, 64-yard opening scoring drive.

The Matadors committed a safety on their first possession when a punt snap was sent through the back of the end zone.

Otay Ranch proceeded to return the free kick for a 75-yard touchdown.

Greene’s score made the final margin, as he rushed in off the left side for a 3-yard scoring rush.




EastCountySports.com staff report


LA MESA – Foothills Christian advanced to the San Diego CIF Division 6 championship game with a 44-20 win over St. Joseph’s Friday night at Seau Field.

The Knights improved to 10-1 and will face new-found rival Calvin Christian (9-0) next Friday.

Foothills’ CALEB TARVER scored on a 8-yard rushing touchdown around the right side with under a minute left in the first quarter to give the Knights a 6-0 lead. He dashed out to the side before weaving and bashing through defenders into the end zone.


Foothills Christian’s CALEB TARVER following one of his three touchdowns Friday night.

The Knights had stopped a first-quarter drive by the Crusaders to set up the scoring series. ELI HALE rushed in for the conversion to make it 8-0.

FCHS’ JADON BANKHEAD, a sophomore, recovered a fumble with eight minutes to go in the second quarter and the Knights turned it into more points when JOSH GATES scored a rushing touchdown from 37 yards out behind the block of senior CHRIS SMITH. Tarver handled the conversion rush and the Knights led 16-0 midway through the second.

SJA got on the board just a minute later with a rushing score from 46 yards away, but the Knights stopped the conversion, leaving the margin 16-6.

With under a minute to go before halftime, Hale scored on a 1-yard run, then he added the conversion with a run, as the Knights led 24-6 at halftime. The TD dive was set up on a nifty pass from Hale to Gates, who was hauled down  just short of the goal.

Mid-way through the third, the Crusaders scored on a rush to once again make it a two-score game at 24-12.

But just a minute later, Tarver had a 50-yard run for a touchdown to extend FCHS’ lead to 30-12, which would be the score at the end of the third quarter.

Tarver started on the left slot, then after a fake full back dive, he cut across the right side for a sweep. Senior NICK PUPA shoved his man and Tarver burst to the outside for running room for a sprint to the end zone.

One minute into the fourth quarter, the Knights recovered a fumble.

Three minutes later, Hale rushed for another touchdown to make it 36-12.

SJA added a score with four minutes to go in the game to make it 36-20, following a two-point conversion.

The Knights’ GARRETT BANKHEAD added one more touchdown with two minutes to go in the game and FCHS added a two-point conversion for the final margin.

“I told the guys at the beginning of the seasonal the very first practice that I thought they had a chance to have a special year,” Foothills Christian coach JOE MACKEY said. “Nobody has held (SJA) to under 30 points and we held them to 20. It was a testament to our defense.”

Helping the defense on the night were junior ILYJAH BARTOLOME, senior ANTHONY MALCUIT and sophomore SETH FOX.

Calvin Christian earned their trip to the finals by defeating Borrego Springs, 51-0, on Friday night. The Crusaders won in La Mesa in a week 3 meeting, 38-24, after a wild fourth quarter that saw the teams combine for 42 points.

“We’re just all friends, camaraderie is huge on this team, “Hale said. “It’s unbelievable. I want to thank the coaches for bringing us to this point.”

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