Week 5: Mount Miguel Matadors 46, Valhalla Norsemen 28

Mount Miguel junior quarterback J.D. Laverdiere accounted for seven touchdowns as the Matadors overcame a 14-0 deficit to defeat visiting Valhalla, 46-28, in a Grossmont Conference nonleague game on Friday night.

Laverdiere passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns (including two to his favorite target Jahiem Allen-Pompey), while also rushing for 39 yards and four scores, as Mount Miguel evened its record at 2-2.

The Matadors outscored Valhalla, 33-12, in the second half. The Norsemen were playing in their third-straight road contest.

The Norsemen scored on just the second play from scrimmage when junior running back Hussain Bakir did his best Kegan Baker impersonation and scored on a 58-yard touchdown sprint for a 7-0 lead.

After Valhalla (2-2) forced a turnover on downs behind the defensive plays of Allen Kalasho, Dominic Yancy, Ethan Ferkich and Landon Hickman, the Norsemen scored on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Raymond Sanchez for a 14-0 lead.

Sanchez had the big play of the drive when he picked up a fumble by a teammate on a fourth-and-1 at the Matador 43 and turned it into a 25-yard yard gain.

Laverdiere quickly hooked up with Allen-Pompey for a 49-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7 just 1:39 into the second quarter.

The Matadors terminated the next drive with a couple of big defensive plays led by Julius Ford, Loyal Acree, and Quincy Snipes Jr.

Mount Miguel turned the stop into points five plays later when Laverdiere threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Allen-Pompey, as the Matadors trailed, 14-13, at halftime.

Mount Miguel took the lead on the first series of the second half when Laverdiere completed a pair of passes to Allen-Pompey totaling 61 yards, then the quarterback scored the first of his four rushing touchdowns with a 5-yard gain and the Matadors’ first lead of the game, 19-14.

However, Baker had a 70-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage to re-take the lead, 21-19, just 1:39 into the period.

After Snipes Jr. led the Matador defense to a three-and-out on Valhalla’s next possession, a special-teams blunder resulted in Mount Miguel taking over at the Norse 2, where Laverdiere went in on the next play, giving the hosts back the advantage, 25-21.

Following a three-and-out, Laverdiere dumped a well-designed screen pass to sophomore Ruben Hernandez, who covered the 13-yard distance to extend the Matador lead to 32-21 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter.

After Snipes helped terminate the next series with a third-down sack, Laverdiere capped a 5-play, 43-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown run for his third rushing score of the night.

Junior Jojo Castillo recovered a fumble on the next Valhalla possession and Laverdiere capped a four-play drive with his fourth rushing score – a 9-yarder to give Mount Miguel a 46-21 lead in the fourth quarter.

Baker added his second score of the night on a 7-yard run with 2:22 to play to account for the final score.

Allen-Pompey also recorded an interception, which he returned 25 yards, in the second quarter.

Valhalla sophomore safety Giovanni Alejo had a pair of breakups during a Matador series late in the first half.

Norsemen junior Miles Tomlinson was injured in the fourth quarter and had his neck stabilized after paramedics arrived. He was taken to a hospital but was reportedly conscious and had feeling in his extremities as he was being attended to.

Two teams with vastly different offensive personalities will meet in a matchup of Grossmont Conference teams on Friday night.

Valhalla (2-1) and its persistent ground game will go up against the freewheeling passing attack of Mount Miguel (1-2).

Before opening this season with a pair of victories, the last time the Norsemen had won a football game was back in Week 3 of 2017 when they defeated the Matadors, 24-14.

The Norsemen were reminded of the taste of defeat for the first time this season when they fell to Hilltop, 27-13, in a matchup of undefeated teams last Friday night in the South Bay.

Many of the Valhalla players will have to admit they had long forgotten that bitter flavor of a near two-year losing streak the program suffered before this year’s dramatic resurgence that has them at 2-1.

This Friday, the Norsemen will get a chance to avenge a 25-13 defeat to the Matadors last season when they travel to Spring Valley to take on host Mount Miguel at 7. It will be Valhalla’s third-straight road game, a test at any level.

“While no loss is ever a good loss, we used the results of our Hilltop game as a learning tool during our film sessions,” Valhalla coach Mike Kasten said this week. “We learned, when you make mistakes against good teams, it’s hard to win.

“The mistakes are correctable and will be one of our focuses during this week’s practices. We are not going to dwell on the past, we’ll learn from it, made corrections, and continue to move forward.”

Valhalla’s sudden success may not necessarily be a surprise given the development of the talent on the roster.

Senior running back Kegan Baker has nearly 600 yards this season and nine touchdowns. Baker rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Lancers last Friday.

Baker runs behind an offensive line that he is quick to give credit to. Juniors Allen Kalasho, Ibrahim Ibrahim, Elijah Estrada, and Samer Faraj join senior Anthony Stephen to lead the way.

Valhalla junior quarterback Luke Pillsbury had 154 yards in the home loss to the Matadors last season.

“Mount Miguel is a well-coached team,” Kastan said. “They play aggressive, pressure defense, and hope to force you into errors. Their offense can score from anywhere on the field, and their quarterback is very talented and experienced. The game will be another challenge for us.”

The Matadors are coming off a 35-20 road loss at Santa Fe Christian after falling behind 28-0 after three quarters.

The combination of junior quarterback J.D. Laverdiere and senior receiver Jahiem Allen-Pompey hooked up three times in a fourth-quarter frenzy but never threatened.

Laverdiere had 358 yards through the air and surpassed 4,000 career passing yards. Allen-Pompey had 10 receptions for 235 yards.

In last season’s victory over Valhalla, Laverdiere passed for 368 yards and four touchdowns. For Allen-Pompey, he will be facing the Norsemen for the third time in his career.

Mount Miguel’s slowed Baker and the ground game early behind now-seniors Ulices Monje and Quincy Snipes Jr.

The Matadors own a 44-7 Week 2 win over Chula Vista. The team’s firepower ensures they are never out of any contest.

“We are proud of our kids,” Mount Miguel head coach Troy Starr said. “They give us all they have and have dramatically improved off the field. We like to say they will run through a brick wall for us, however, it may not always be the correct wall. But, we are working on that.”

Mount Miguel leads this all-time series, which dates back to 1974, 27-16-1. Despite the history, this year’s matchup is a non-league contest.

Tune to the Prep Pigskin Report on Friday at 10:45 for highlights of this annual rivalry.

Categories: This Week’s Games