East County Sports

Real Wolf Pack have Norsemen’s number

Valhalla senior Jonathan Meram (57) wraps up West Hills senior Jake Maheu Friday night.

2018 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

WEST HILLS 24, VALHALLA 7

 

By Gene Yale

Special to EastCountySports.com

 

Was it a fluke that West Hills downed defending CIF Division 3 champs El Centro Southwest last week?  Nope… the lads from Santee are for real.

All of the fans in attendance at Valhalla High Friday evening (Aug. 24) can so attest after the Wolf Pack downed the Norsemen 24-7.

Following a Valhalla punt late in the first quarter, West Hills put together a long drive, deep into Valhalla territory.

West Hills senior quarterback JORDIN YOUNG rolls out against Valhalla Friday night.

Starting at their 16-yard line, quarterback JORDIN YOUNG got it going with a dart to JACK BROWNING for a 9-yard gain to the West Hills 25. Senior running back JAKE MAHEU then rumbled 12 more yards to the Pack’s 37, followed immediately by another pass completion from Young to junior wide receiver KOLE KLINGERMAN for an 11-yard pickup to the WH 48-yard line.

Then, some steady plowing by the visitors’ running backs worked the pigskin to Valhalla 19-yard line.  On third and short, Maheu made the most of a blast up the middle, all the way to the Norsemen 7-yard line.

Poised to score, disaster struck: first, a false start penalty backed up the visitors to the 12-yard line; Valhalla senior linebacker ZACH LARSON flattened the quarterback back to the 18 with an impressive sack, ending the first quarter with no score in the game.

On the first play of the second stanza, senior running back DYLAN SMITH scooted 8 yards, making it 3rd and goal at the 10-yard line.  The drive stalled when Larson repeated his earlier QB sack, bringing up 4th down at the Valhalla 18 yard line.  The Wolf Pack settled for a 35-yard field goal by Browning, as West Hills eked out the games’ first score, 3-0, with 10:59 remaining until halftime.

Young created another opportunity for the West Hills offense shortly before halftime when he broke off a 40-yard scamper to the Norsemen 35 yard line.

A 9-yard gain by Maheu moved the ball to the 24, with only 51 seconds left in the first half.  Nifty runs by Smith and Maheu got the ball to the 9-yard line with 9 seconds remaining.  On 3rdand 8, Young connected with Smith on a quick slant pass to the end zone.  After Browning (3-3 PAT) split the uprights, West Hills had a 10-0 lead at intermission.

Hauling in the second half kickoff at the 8-yard line, all-purpose Smith returned the kick 29 yards to the Wolf Pack 37 yard line.  A 23-yard pass-catch combo from Young to Maheu gave the visitors a first down at the Valhalla 37-yard line.

Apparently inspired by Valhalla coach MIKE KASTAN’s half-time talk, the Norsemen defense stiffened.

First, sophomore defensive lineman ALLEN KALASHO smothered the ball carrier for a 1-yard loss.  Then linebacker Larson stuffed the runner for no gain.  On 3rd and 11, junior linebacker ETHAN FERKICH intercepted an errant pass at the Valhalla 27 and returned it to the Norsemen 35-yard line, thwarting the West Hills drive.

West Hills running back JAKE MAHEU is dragged down by Valhalla on Friday night.

Sophomore quarterback LUKE PILLSBURY hooked up with junior running back KEGAN BAKER for a 7-yard gain on 3rd down to the Valhalla 45, making it 4th and inches; Valhalla elected to go for it, but a sure-handed tackle by KIP KLINGERMAN stopped the ball carrier in the backfield, and the ball went over to West Hills on downs.

Double-digit runs by Smith and Maheu quickly got the Santee team to the Valhalla 1-yard line, where running back AUSTIN PEAT punched it in, upping the score to 17-0, with 4:38 left in the third quarter.

Valhalla was quick to answer… almost.

Baker gathered in the ensuing kickoff at the 4-yard line, shook off several would-be tacklers and broke into clear space down the right sideline, all the way to the West Hills 7-yard line, where he was finally hauled down.

Unable to get past the 3-yard line, the home team lined up for a 20-yard field goal attempt.  Instead, the holder, quarterback Pillsbury, threw a shuffle pass to Baker, but an alert defender dropped him at the 3-yard line, once again giving the Pack offense another shot.

This time, Valhalla’s defense wasn’t giving in: defensive back Worthy reacted quickly to Young’s attempt to get out of the end zone on first down, almost tackling the shifty quarterback in the end zone; only an athletic dive by Young prevented Valhalla from getting a safety.  Browning punted to end the quarter.

Valhalla opened the last period with a 13-play drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD run by Worthy on 4th down; BENITO GONZALES’ kick was true, and Valhalla trimmed the West Hills lead to 17-7, with 4:44 left to play in the game.

Remember, West Hills Football is for real.

Following a 25-yard kickoff return by Smith, West Hills had good field position at their own 39-yard line.  On second down, Young set out on a sideline sprint to the end zone for a 54 yard TD, putting the game away, 24-7, with 3:37 left.

Young passed for 87 yards and a TD and had well over 100 yards rushing for the evening.

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