East County Sports


Granite Hills' James Johnson (15) and Patrick Brady. / cs Pro photo




By Ramon Scott




EL CAJON – A pair of Grossmont Conference clubs will meet for the second time this season when the eighth-seeded Valhalla Norsemen host the ninth-seeded West Hills Wolf Pack in a San Diego CIF Division III first-round contest on Friday night.

Both teams are looking for their first playoff win since 2015.

The matchup of soon-to-be league foes is one of seven contests involving East County clubs on the opening night of the postseason, with six games hosted by local schools.

Valhalla (4-6) defeated West Hills (6-4), 24-14, in Santee in a Week 2 conference matchup as senior Kegan Baker rushed for over 200 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Jake Maheu had 100 yards rushing for the Pack, who were shutout in the second half.

In the second quarter, Valhalla marched 77 yards in 11 plays to tie the game on a 16-yard run by Baker.

West Hills had a 14-7 lead at halftime, but Laith Adnan recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff that led to a 26-yard field goal by Anthony Hernandez.

Late in the third quarter, Baker burst off a 54-yard run that led to his second TD run and Valhalla’s first lead at 17-14.

After Valhalla’s Bashar Nooh recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter, the Norsemen drove 65 yards in nine plays.

Last week against Granite Hills, Adnan returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown.

The Wolf Pack lead the all-time series, 14-12-1… VALHALLA, 21-14.

All of this week’s first-round playoff games are Friday at 7 unless noted.

(12) SAN MARCOS (4-6) at (5) GROSSMONT (7-3) – In Division I, Grossmont will host San Marcos at Jack Mashin Stadium.

Senior Jaime Odom passed for 292 yards and four touchdowns to a season-ending road win at El Capitan last Friday.

The Vaqueros rallied from a 28-6 deficit to tie the game at 28-all but Odom rushed for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth, then passed to Kadon Tedokon for another score.

Senior Brody Schicker had eight receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

These two teams met in Week 2 of last season when San Marcos shut out the Hillers in the second half for a 32-21 road win. The Foothillers led 21-6 at the half.

Odom and Schicker connected for a 64-yard touchdown pass to take the lead early, 7-0.

In the second quarter, Odom and Robert Tucker connected on a deflection that resulted in a 46-yard touchdown and the Foothillers were up 14-0.

Tucker missed last week’s game against the Vaqueros but senior Chris Alba, one of the area’s top defensive players, got the majority of the touches out of the backfield and performed above admirably, gaining over 100 yards of total offense.

Alba also had 14 tackles on defense and forced and recovered a fumble in the game.

Jalen Bainer, still a star this season for the Knights as a senior, had an 11-yard touchdown reception to give the Knights their first lead, 25-21. Bainer has seven touchdown receptions this season.

Sophomore quarterback Emmitt Brown had 13 passing touchdowns and nine rushing touchdowns this season.

Grossmont won its playoff opener last season as an underdog, so don’t expect a slip up here… GROSSMONT, 35-28.

(11) GRANITE HILLS (5-5) at (6) LA COSTA CANYON (5-5) – The Eagles treated Senior Night like an early playoff game in a 43-6 win over visiting Valhalla as junior quarterback Justus McComb passed for four touchdowns, including two to junior Jacob Setterberg, and a 73-yard score to Matt Keeley.

Granite Hills freshman Jaylen Hall had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Eagle senior James Johnson had six catches in the game and finished the regular season with 73 receptions.

Despite the identical records, the Mavericks are considerable favorites to advance… LA COSTA CANYON, 28-21.

(9) POWAY (6-4) at (8) MONTE VISTA (6-4) – In the Division II playoffs, the Monarchs are riding a five-game winning streak heading into the postseason.

Monte Vista won the Grossmont Valley League championship for the second-straight year with a 42-0 win at West Hills last Friday, as he Monarch senior Isaiah Gardner rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another to senior Julian Robledo.

Poway senior running back Josh Burler has 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns this season so these teams could finish this game in two hours.

Despite Monte Vista’s lower seed, the computers would suggest the Titans are the road favorite here by as many as two touchdowns… POWAY, 28-27.

(11) OTAY RANCH (4-6) at (6) CHRISTIAN (5-5) – Also qualifying for the Division II, the Patriots (5-5) fell to the sixth-seed after losing at La Jolla, 20-19, on a touchdown in the final seconds. A Christian win would have clinched a share of the league title with the Vikings.

Gabe Krug, Christian Salacup and Nate Stine scored touchdowns for the Patriots.

Otay Ranch senior quarterback Paco Puente has thrown 16 interceptions this season… CHRISTIAN, 28-21.

(10) CORONADO (6-4) at MOUNT MIGUEL (5-5) – The Mount Miguel Matadors returned to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus following an impressive 49-26 win over visiting Del Norte in a memorable Senior Night last Friday.

Matador senior Jahiem Allen-Pompey, who leads the country in receiving yards, set the San Diego Section record for most yards and most receptions in a single season in the victory in the victory over the Nighthawks.

Allen-Pompey caught a section-record tying 17 passes, including four for touchdowns, as Mount Miguel pulled away from a 28-20 halftime lead. He finished with 269 yards, which ranks in the top ten in single-game reception yards in the county all-time.

The 5-foot-7, 130-pound star has 102 receptions for 1,921 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. He passed current Ohio State receiver Chris Olave to set the yardage mark and is just four touchdowns away from tying him for the single-season TD reception record.

Mount Miguel junior quarterback Jacob “J.D.” Laverdiere passed for 365 yards and five touchdowns.

Laverdiere’s 3,099 yards this season ranks him 15th in the section all-time for single-season passing yards and is 13th all-time in the section in career passing yards with 2,034. He ranks 14th all-time in the section with 57 career passing touchdowns (30 this season).

The Matadors will try to stop Islander back Devon Schulte, who has nearly 700 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

The Islanders come in averaging nearly 33 points per game but the Matadors are putting up nearly 37 per contest… MOUNT MIGUEL, 42-35.

(9) MOUNTAIN EMPIRE (2-7) at EL CAJON VALLEY (3-7) – The El Cajon Valley Braves earned a home game in the Division V playoffs at Daryl R. Priest Field.

El Cajon Valley senior Joe Malone tossed a 69-yard touchdown pass to Clarence Johnson in the loss to Santana last Friday.

The Braves’ Damarius Hyde has rushed for 643 yards and five touchdowns this season.

The RedHawks had a game canceled two weeks ago in advance of the possible wildfire conditions and only played nine games.

Mountain Empire quarterback Khaliel Whitehead, a junior, passed for more than 1,200 yards this season and ran for over 300 more. Senior Jericho Brennan is the leading ball carrier for the team, rushing for over 600 yards this season.

The matchup favors the Braves despite the close seeding… EL CAJON VALLEY, 35-21.

(1) FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN (9-0) vs. (2) SAN DIEGO JEWISH ACADEMY (7-0) (Saturday at Mission Bay High) The defending section eight-man champion Foothills Christian Knights advanced to the championship game with a 61-14 win over visiting Ocean View Christian (5-3) at Seau Field last Saturday.

Foothills Christian will face second-seeded San Diego Jewish Academy in the final.

Foothills senior Tony Mroz has 23 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns this season.

Eight different receivers have scored touchdowns for FCHS.

The Knights defeated the Lions, 41-14, to capture last year’s eight-man section banner.

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