Week 8: Castle Park Trojans 40, El Cajon Valley Braves 21
Castle Park senior quarterback Diego Rodriguez threw for four touchdowns – three of them to senior teammate Joel Torres – as the Trojans defeated host El Cajon Valley, 40-21, on Friday night.
Rodriguez and Torres connected for the first two scores of the game, the first one coming on the Trojans’ first possession after the Castle Park defense stopped the Braves on a three-and-out to open the game.
Torres caught a pass in stride for a 35-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Castle Park senior Isaiah Morineau had an interception on the final play of the first quarter, then Rodriguez and Torres made good on a 29-yard connection for a 14-0 score.
El Cajon Valley sophomore Clarence Johnson impressed for the second-straight week with a big kick return to the Trojan 38.
On the next play, Damarius Hyde, another Brave sophomore, broke off the right side and broke some tackles on the way to a 38-yard score, boosting the hosts’ confidence in front of a Homecoming crowd.
Trojan senior Tyrone Lake added a 25-yard run for a score to put the visitors back up by two scores.
A combined sack by Castle Park’s Mauricio Mendez and Victor Rodriguez set up a final first-half scoring drive, as Martinez had his third passing touchdown of the half thanks to a terrific leaping catch in the left side of the end zone by senior Christian Bustos.
Torres caught his third touchdown from Martinez just 1:06 into the third quarter.
Johnson had another strong kick return past midfield to give the Braves a scoring chance.
Hyde picked up his second touchdown of the game on a nifty run off a couple of Trojan tacklers for a score with 6:57 to play in the third, bringing the margin to within 34-14.
El Cajon Valley’s Darrel Davis return to the lineup and had an interception on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Sophomore fullback Ramon Cabal added the final Trojan score on a run with just over seven minutes remaining.
The Braves got a final touchdown with 1:33 left in the game when Davis took a reception well into CPHS territory, then senior Brandon Robinson scored on a screen pass from senior quarterback Atlantas Eidejus.
Castle Park improved to 3-4 on the season, but 3-2 on the field. The Trojans will host Montgomery in a sure tightly-contested league opener int he Metro-Pacific.
The Braves (0-7, 0-1 Grossmont Valley League) will travel to take on Mount Miguel in a league tilt.
The El Cajon Valley Braves host the Castle Park Trojans in what should be a closely-contested game, but the circumstances are vastly different from the only other time the schools met 13 years ago.
Currently, both football programs are fighting the laws of attrition when it comes to adequate participation when competing on the varsity level.
Castle Park has had to forfeit a pair of games this season because it couldn’t field a healthy team, but the Trojans also have a pair of wins.
The Trojans lost a heartbreaking game in overtime to Crawford last Friday night when they got the ball down to the 1 trailing by six points, but fumbled a final snap.
Senior quarterback Diego Martinez has nine touchdown passes and just one interception this season. He had 275 yards against the Colts.
Senior wide receiver Christian Bustos leads the team with five touchdowns receptions, including two last Friday.
Senior corner Joe Torres had an interception in the defeat, his third of the season.
El Cajon Valley is winless, but are just a few notches below the Trojans in the official computer ratings. Combined with the Braves’ home field advantage, that could put the teams on near-even terms.
The Braves had some young talent on display last week against West Hills and also turned in one of the wackiest plays of the year.
Sophomore Clarence Johnson picked up a live ball after a screen pass wasn’t blown dead. After some encouragement from the El Cajon Valley bench, Johnson began running to the end zone and won a sprint to pick up six on what turned out to be a 75-yard run.
Johnson also had a receiving touchdown in the game from senior quarterback Atlantis Eidejus.
Senior Brandon Robinson leads the Braves with 10 receptions this season.
El Cajon Valley is coached by former San Diego State defensive standout Nick Osborn.
When the Braves have had to find a non-league game in the middle of their league schedule, they have gone 5-4 in those contests, dating back 25 years.
The Braves and Trojans last met in the 2005 CIF Division 2 quarterfinals after several Castle Park parents filed a lawsuit after the CIF ruled the team would forfeit six wins. At the time, at least three forfeits made a team ineligible for postseason play.
A Superior Court Judge allowed the Trojans to play their playoff games, but the Braves had the final verdict behind Abraham Muheize’s seven touchdown passes and 600-plus yards of total offense in a 56-32 win.
For highlights of San Diego County prep football games on Friday night, tune to the Prep Pigskin report on KUSI at 10:45 p.m.