East County Sports

Norsemen show out on Homecoming

Valhalla's Isaac Casas with the ball on Friday night. / P.J. Panebianco

2021 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

VALHALLA 41, EL CAJON VALLEY 25

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

RANCHO SAN DIEGO —- A repeat of yet another déjà vu experience saw the Valhalla Norsemen finally turn the corner.

Junior receiver A.J. Cornthwaite collected touchdown bombs of 44 and 63 yards from quarterback Tommy Logan, while the Norsemen defense limited El Cajon Valley to a mere 104 yards in offense over the final three quarters, making for a happy beginning to Homecoming weekend by downing the Braves, 41-25, in Friday’s (Oct. 1) Grossmont Valley League football game.

After allowing at least three first-quarter touchdowns for the fourth time this season, the Orange Nation defense limited El Cajon Valley. Norsemen outside linebacker Randall Shamon led the charge with a variety of keys stops.

Shamon forced fumbles on consecutive possessions, although they occurred some 30 minutes apart.

He closed the first half with a sack for an 11-yard loss. Then on the opening snap of the second half, Shamon again jarred the ball loose on a third-down play, Although the Braves recovered, but then missed the ensuing field goal attempt.

Early on, Braves running back Kal-el Gordon found great success by running the ball straight up the middle, setting up a pair of scores to give ECVHS the lead at 18-7 through the first period.

However, Valhalla turned around another poor start with its best second-quarter of the season, taking a 28-18 halftime advantage.

Included was a 1-yard keeper by Logan, then he found Cornthwaite deep along the right sideline for a score, as the free safety couldn’t get to the receiver after he beat the cornerback in man coverage.

In the second half, a chippy third period saw both ballclubs flagged several times for major penalties. Another Logan-to-Cornthwaite connection on what looked like an identical play to the first TD went for 62 yards and a 34-18 advantage.

El Cajon Valley answered with a 67-yard drive, capped on a fake handoff from the Valhalla 1, as Daniel Jacobs flipped the ball over the D-line to a wide-open Paris Dixon, a sophomore.

However, now down 10 points, the Braves elected to kick the extra point, leaving them trailing by nine points and still needing two scores to at least force overtime.

The first opportunity came a minute later on an interception by Dixon at the ECV 5.

The Braves then marched 94 yards to the Norsemen 1, as Gordon sprung free for his second 40-yard carry of the contest. But on fourth down, Shamon made the goal-line stop to forge a turnover on downs.

The Braves got the ball back quickly after forcing a three-and-out, but another fourth-down play was also stooped for no gain.

Official statistics were not available from Valhalla, but Cornthwaite caught at least three balls for 124 yards.

Meanwhile, Gordon had rushed for gains of 40 (twice), 37, 28, and 25 yards — each between the tackles — in finishing with 230 yards on the ground.

The deciding factor may have been special teams.

After Valhalla blocked the Braves’ first PAT attempt, then went for two points on the next two scores. They also tried a variety of kickoffs, be it a squib kick or an on-sides kick, giving Valhalla good field position. Then, when they needed to go for a 2-point play in the second half, they elected to instead kick the point.

SUMMARY
NORSEMEN 41, BRAVES 25

ECVHS (2-5, 1-2 GVL)……18  0 7 0 – 25
Valhalla (2-5, 1-2 GVL)..  7 21 6 7 – 41

ECV – Cosio 31 interception return (kick blocked)
ECV – Jacobs 1 run (pass failed)
VAL – Casas 6 run (Shamo kick)
ECV – Hopson 43 pass from Jacobs (pass failed)
VAL – Logan 1 run (Shamo kick)
VAL – A.J. Cornthwaite 44 pass from Logan (Shamo kick)
VAL – Logan 1 run (Shamo kick)
VAL – A.J. Cornthwaite 62 pass from Logan (kick blocked)
ECV – Dixon 1 pass from Jacobs (kick good)
VAL – Logan 1 run (Shamo kick)

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