East County Sports

Braves find stride, can’t catch Cards

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

HOOVER 30, EL CAJON VALLEY 22

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

SAN DIEGO — The El Cajon Valley Braves may have found their stride in just the second game of the season on Friday night.

The Braves trailed 24-0 to the host Hoover Cardinals at halftime but made it close and took the game down to the final minutes in a 30-22 defeat at Breitbard Stadium.

The Braves scored all of their points in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally against a team that had lost 16 consecutive games.

Senior Ahmed Sohail Ameer Hussein rushed for 105 yards on 19 carries for ECV.

The Braves had 140 yards rushing behind their line of Jesse Higuera, Luis Hernandez, Qudrat Nadir Ali, and Christian Preciado.

El Cajon Valley has a good offensive front, but with such a short roster, the unit can afford no injuries this season. And by no injuries, we really mean zero.

“We have improved not just physically but mentally,” Higuera said. “I’m proud of each one of them and the people who stepped up but we still have improvements to make. We need to improve the beginning of the game, not wait for the second half.”

Jayden Barnett, a former Brave, now a senior at Hoover, scored on a 24-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to give the Cardinals a 12-0 lead. Barnett had six receptions for 93 yards, including a second touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to make it 30-14.

Statistically, the Braves’ return numbers match up with any team in the county of the last several seasons.

The latest in a line of dangerous return men appears to be junior Daelin Richardson, who had an 89-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. This one wasn’t straight up the field, and he had to run to his left-side blockers to get to where he needed to be to use his speed.

Richardson also rushed for a touchdown to bring the Braves to within 24-14 following a two-point conversion.

Ruben Cosio recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, as well, just one minute into the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Kenny Spence, of Hoover, passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more, as he amassed over 300 yards of total offense.

“A lot goes into a week when it comes to preparation and our guys had a big challenge.” El Cajon Valley head coach Nick Osborn said. “They had to overcome the adversity of a big loss and bounce back and gain confidence in themselves. Losing key players did hurt but so many guys stepped up when we needed them to and they finished well.

“We just have to put together a complete game. Our calls didn’t change from the first half to the second half. It was the attitude and will and want to win. I expect to see them get better as the weeks progress. Our eams gad to grow quickly we have a lot of work to do.”

Cosio led the defense with four tackles, including one for loss.

Sophomore Paris Dixon had an interception for the Braves.

The win was just Hoover’s third since the 2016 season.

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