EC Preps

MOMENTUM SHIFT LEADS TO WOLF PACK PLAYOFF VICTORY

2019 EAST COUNTY FOOTBALL

BY ADAM PAUL

ECPREPS.COM

CIF DIVISION III PLAYOFFS FIRST ROUND

#9 WEST HILLS 21, #8 VALHALLA 14

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (11-8-19) – A huge third quarter by the visiting Wolf Pack results in momentum change and propels them to victory.

Earlier when these two teams met in Santee the West Hills Wolf Pack were shut out in the second half as Valhalla would come back and win 28-14. In that contest, Keegan Baker for the Norsemen had over 200 yards on the ground and a couple of touchdowns.

Fast forward to tonight and West Hills (7-4) was able to contain Baker from running loose as he was held to only 93 yards on the ground.

Valhalla (4-7) would start the scoring just before the end of the first quarter when Helix transfer Josh Meredith ran it in from 6-yards out to make it 7-0. He would finish with 105 yards rushing on the evening.

The Norsemen would lead at the break by the 7-0 margin.

West Hills would kick to start the second half as Valhalla had deferred but the Wolf Pack would have a trick up their sleeve. They would call up the New Orleans Saints playbook from the Super Bowl when they played the Indianapolis Colts.

Valhalla was waiting for the kickoff when the Pack squibbed it and the ball rolled loose and Steven Cristini would recover it in Norsemen territory at the 29-yard line.

With the recovery, the momentum sailed in favor of West Hills and they would take advantage as a couple of plays and under a minute later the Wolf Pack were in business as Gerardo Hernandez found Kole Klingerman open for a 21-yard touchdown and the score all knotted at 7-7.

Later on in the third quarter with a little over two minutes remaining West Hills was able to take their first lead of the game when Brendan Green found the end zone from 3-yards out which made it 14-7.

Leading by a touchdown and with all the momentum the defensive side for West Hills took over as Austin Ruiz Castaneda wreaked havoc with a tackle for a loss and a big quarterback sack. Not to be outdone and having already made his presence known Cristini once again struck as he picked off an errant pass and returned it 18-yards.

The turnover would lead a few plays later to a touchdown by Cristini who this time would haul in a 13-yard score from Klingerman in the end zone to make it 21-7.

The Norsemen in the fourth quarter would things interesting as Josh Meredith would take the ball and run all the way where he would actually superman his way into the house for the score to pull the Norsemen within 21-14.

Later in the fourth quarter, the Norsemen thought they had stopped them on a fourth-down play but unfortunately a flag was thrown. Valhalla was called for roughing the passer thus giving the Pack a first down after the yardage was assessed.

West Hills was able to run the clock out the rest of the way thus preserving the victory.

With the win the Wolf Pack will move on where they will travel up the freeway to take on #1 Scripps Ranch (10-0) who earned the opening-round bye.

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