East County Sports

Titans are bump in Norse’s road home

Valhalla carries against Eastlake on Friday night. / Don De Mars Photography




By Gene Yale



EASTLAKE – It’s quite a jaunt down the 125 freeway to Eastlake, but the bus ride home was a lot longer for the Valhalla football team Friday evening (Sept. 22), after losing to the Titans 38-7.


The Norseman plan to put this one behind them as they get ready for Otay Ranch at home next week.


Unable to garner a first down on Valhalla’s first possession, all-purpose player BRYAN MADRIZ dropped back to punt, but ended up running up the left sideline for an 18 yard gain instead, giving the visitors a first down on their 40 yard line.


Two plays later, Eastlake defensive back Jaylyn Jackson intercepted an errant pass and returned it to the Valhalla 30 yard line, giving the home team great field position.


On first down, Norsemen defensive ends JOSH McNISH-HEIDER and JACE MANNING converged on the runner in his backfield and dumped him for a one-yard loss.


After Eastlake got a first down at the Valhalla 20 yard-line, McNish-Heider squashed the quarterback for a 9 yard loss back to the 29 yard-line.


And, after TRISTAN ABBOD and COLE HOWARD flushed the quarterback, Eastlake had to punt, ending the scoring threat.


Following the Titans’ punt, Valhalla had to start at its 2-yard line.


Madriz got some more momentum going at quarterback with a methodic and steady drive out of the goal-line shadows to the Norsemen 28 yard-line.


After a short gain to the 31, an aggressive defender popped the ball loose from the runner, which was picked up and returned 13 yards to the Norsemen 20 yard-line, once again putting the home team within sight of pay-dirt.


Three plays later, quarterback Daniel Amon found a seam and scooted to the end zone for an 18 yard touchdown.  After kicker DJ Del Fierro (5-5 PAT) split the uprights, Eastlake led 7-0, with 2:43 left in the first quarter.


Mid-way through the second quarter, Valhalla defensive back KEGAN BAKER, broke-up a third down pass near the Norsemen end-zone, forcing the Chula Vista team to settle for a 28 yard field goal, upping the lead to 10-0.


Eastlake added another TD on a 2 yard rush by running back Rayshawn Parks-Price, giving the Titans a comfortable 17-0 halftime lead.


Valhalla tried to get back into the game early in the third period.


Eastlake had moved into Norsemen territory on its first possession of the second half, but a third-down screen pass went nowhere as TREY SCHIMKE, ETHAN FERKICH and Howard immediately smothered the receiver for no gain, forcing a punt.


BOBBY FIELDS gathered in the punted ball at the five yard-line and put together a nifty 29 yard return to the Valhalla 34 yard line.


After progressing to near mid-field, disaster struck once again, this time subject to a very controversial call by the nearby official.  In a “bang-bang” play, the Valhalla receiver was clocked by a defender just as he was catching the ball, which popped loose, was picked up by an alert Titan player who returned it to the Valhalla 24 yard-line.


The official ruled it a catch-fumble and not an incomplete pass.


This seemed to take the proverbial wind out of the visitors’ sails, for, on the next play, Eastlake running back Parker Merrifield galloped the distance for another Titans TD, increasing the shutout to 24-0, at the 7:08 mark of the third quarter.


Eastlake added another TD when quarterback Ryzhon McCoy scored on a 2 yard run five minutes into the fourth quarter.


The El Cajon boys managed to avoid a shutout, when, in the final period, quarterback DENNIS DAHLIN threw a perfect 29 yard spiral to wide receiver CONNOR BUCKLEY, who danced into the end-zone for the score, but it was too little, too late.


JV – E 28, V   0

Frosh – E 20, V   0

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