East County Sports

Norsemen give good account in defeat

Valhalla during warmups on Thursday.

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS – FIRST ROUND

RANCHO BERNARDO 23, VALHALLA 6

 

By Gene Yale

Special to EastCountySports.com

 

RANCHO BERNARDO – Valhalla traveled to Rancho Bernardo Thursday evening (Nov. 9), getting a head start on the rest of the football playoff teams, but, alas, to no avail, as the Norsemen ended their disappointing season with a 23-6 loss to the North County team.

 

The Valhalla boys were in high spirits before the game, with the return of senior quarterback BRYAN MADRIZ, freshly recovered from injuries suffered weeks ago.

 

The visitors had a chance to get on the scoreboard first mid-way through the first quarter.

 

Valhalla lines up against Rancho Bernardo Thursday night.

The Broncos had a 4th and 2 at the Valhalla 48 yard line and elected to go for it.

 

Sophomore quarterback Noah Morris handed off to junior running back Dallin Dunn, who attempted to squirt up the middle of the Norsemen defense but was smacked down for a loss by senior linebacker DYLAN MARSH, giving Valhalla the ball at their 49 yard line.

 

On 3rd and 5 at the Rancho Bernado 46, Madriz connected with senior wide receiver JESAI BENNETT for a 22 yard gain to the RB 24.  An incomplete pass and two short runs resulted in a Madriz 37 yard field goal attempt that was short.

 

After the Norsemen “D” forced a 3-and-out on the next RB offensive series, Madriz got the El Cajon boys moving again, this time with a 21 yard strike to a diving KIARE WORTHY at the Broncos’ 49 yard line.

 

With the RB defense reeling a little after Worthy’s reception, the Valhalla coaching staff felt it was time for a trick play — a quadruple reverse, which was smelled out by junior linebacker Luke Manos, who tackled the ball carrier for an 8 yard loss, snuffing the Norsemen momentum and forcing a punt as the first period wound down.

 

RB was able to move into Valhalla territory early in the second stanza when junior running back Jack Gaylord ripped off 16 yards to the Norsemen 35 yard line.

 

After a motion penalty backed up the Broncos 5 yards to the 40, Morris lofted a pass 6’4” wide receiver Jackson Carpenter for a 19 yard gain to the 21.

 

An 8 yard Morris pass to sophomore fullback Nick Blanchard advanced the pigskin to the Valhalla 13 yard line on 2nd down, but on the next play senior lineman JOSH McNISH-HEIDER flattened the ball carrier for a 2 yard loss.

 

Senior kicker Matt Araiza boomed a 32 yard field goal, giving the hosts a 3-0 lead with 9:04 remaining before half time.

 

Valhalla sizes up Rancho Bernardo’s offense Thursday night.

After Araiza’s kickoff to the end zone, Valhalla started at its 20 yard line.

 

On second down, Madriz zipped a bullet to senior wide receiver MATTHEW BAZZI on the left sideline for a 14 yard gain to the Norsemen 36.

 

Some nice runs by sophomore KEGAN BAKER moved the ball to the Broncos’ 41 yard line, but on 3rd and 3, Madriz’ pass to Bazzi was knocked down by junior defensive back Angelo Ducksworth, resulting in yet another Valhalla punt.

 

Starting at their 13 yard line, the Broncos ripped off big chunks of yardage, with some nifty running by Dunn and junior running back Tahj Martin, giving the home team a 1st down at their 48.

 

Morris then found Blanchard open for a 22 yard pass-catch to the Norsemen 30.

 

On the next play, Morris threw a bomb to the end zone; both the receiver and senior defensive back CALEB CLENDENON went up in the air trying to make a play; Clendenon tipped the ball as both he and the receiver were falling to the ground.

 

Clendennon had the presence of mind to snag the ball as it fell, making a fantastic interception—almost.  As it turned out, a personal foul penalty against Valhalla near the line of scrimmage wiped out one of the most exciting defensive plays of the season.

 

Valhalla on defense Thursday night against Rancho Bernardo.

And, RB received a gift 1st down at the Norsemen 15 yard line.

 

After Blanchard picked up 7 yards on 1st down, the Valhalla defense stiffened.

 

Senior defensive lineman JACE MANNING buried the runner at the line of scrimmage on 2nd down and senior defensive back TY SCHIMKE corralled the next ball carrier for a short gain on 3rd down.

 

Araiza upped the score to 6-0 with a 29 yard field goal with 1:01 left in the half.

 

Disaster struck early for the visitors early in the third quarter.

 

After Madriz completed an 8 yard pass to Bennett, a hard tackle jarred the ball loose at the Valhalla 29 yard line, where it was recovered by junior linebacker Alex Florey.

 

Six plays later, Gaylord bulled his way into the end zone for a 1 yard TD; Araiza’s kick was true, and the Broncos increased their lead to 13-0, mid-way through the period.

 

Rancho Bernardo added another Araiza field goal in the third quarter, this time for 26 yards, but it was still a two-score game, 16-0, with 2:54 remaining in the penultimate period.

 

Valhalla lines up for a fourth down play Thursday night.

The El Cajon lads weren’t ready to call it a season.

 

Instead of having Araiza boot another kickoff into the end zone, the RB coaching staff elected to have him try a squib kick that Valhalla successfully fielded at its 43 yard line.

 

Madriz and crew went to work.  On first down, Madriz hit Schimke with a quick pass in the flats that the elusive running back turned into a 17 yard scamper to the Broncos’40 yard line.  Schimke ran for 4 more yards on the next play, and then Madriz gained 11 on 2nd down, to the RB 25 yard line.

 

The drive stalled, however, at the 18 yard line as the 4thquarter opened when senior defensive lineman Ryan Olivas and senior defensive back Bradley Bryant stuffed the runner on 4th down.

 

The Broncos were able to put the game out of reach on the next series, moving 80 yards in 13 plays, with Martin scoring the TD from 4 yards out.  After Araiza converted, the home team led 23-0, with 7:25 remaining.

 

Valhalla got on the board following the ensuing kickoff with an 80 yard, 10 play drive of their own, capped by a 24 yard TD pass from Madriz to Bennett.

 

The two point conversion pass to Worthy appeared to be good, but a strong tackle by defensive back Jonny Tanner at the 1 inch line left the score 23-6.

 

For Rancho Bernardo, Morris was 16-27-0 for 205 yards.  Madriz ended the evening 13-21-1 for 153 yards and a touchdown.

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