East County Sports

Johnson, Braves make final statement

The El Cajon Valley varsity team after the season-ending win.



EastCountySports.com staff report

EL CAJON – El Cajon Valley senior Clarence Johnson rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder, leading the Braves to a much-deserved 20-14 victory over the visiting Hoover Cardinals at Priest Field on Friday night.

Johnson amassed his total on just 13 carries. He also returned a pair of kickoffs for 51 yards total and finished with over 300 all-purpose yards on the night.

“Clarence plays his heart out,” El Cajon Valley head coach Nic Osborn said. ”

Quarterback Joe Malone rushed for the other score. He had 71 yards rushing in the contest and made a team-high 13 tackles on defense, and also had a fumble recovery.

It was Malone who chased down a Hoover ball carrier on a fourth-and-goal carry, pushing the Cardinal player out of bounds at the 1.

On the next play, Johnson took off for a record-long score that can never be topped.

On the next series, the Braves forced a fumble in the backfield and recovered the ball.

After taking over possession, Johnson rushed for his second touchdown on the very next play, this time from 58 years out to put the Braves ahead 12-7.

Hoover’s quarterback, however, answered with a long touchdown run to regain the lead for the Cards, 14-12.

Malone forced a fumble to give the Braves the ball and he eventually cashed it in himself with a sneak.

The three-year starting quarterback for the Braves then passed to his most dangerous target – Johnson – for a conversion in the corner of the end zone for the deciding margin.

Senior Wendell Walcott Jr. had 10 tackles in his final game for the Braves, including 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

“Wendell had never played football before and didn’t even know the rules of the game when he started in this program,” Osborn said. “He shows how accountability is key in becoming a great player and person. Without accountability, you can’t have growth physically, mentally, academically, and personally. All those pieces are key to these kids becoming great.”

Junior Jaheim Mendenhall had six tackles for the Braves, while sophomore teammate Yasir Blair had a fumble recovery.

“I am excited about our young group,” said Osborn, a former San Diego State defensive standout. “They are a very solid group with talent. I can’t wait to see these kids next season.”

Jonhson’s brilliant career at El Cajon Valley was highlighted by more than a dozen career touchdowns and nearly 2,200 all-purpose yards.

On defense, Johnson finished with six career interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and 10 passes defended.

“El Cajon Valley is a fantastic school that any athlete or student can thrive at,” El Cajon Valley head coach Nic Osborn said. “You just have to have the desire and commitment to believing in yourself. Our seniors who are with us now stayed committed to the process and are the building blocks of this program. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”


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