Oceanside CA— A stingy El Camino (6-5) defense, scrambling by Sergio Lopez and two touchdowns by Eric Wilson helped the 7th seeded Wildcats advance into the second round of the CIF San Diego Section playoffs, Friday night. The Wildcats dedicated the game to Divante’ Ingram.
Ingram, a 6’3″ lineman, on both sides of the ball, is hospitalized with an unknown ailment suffering from weakness and severe sudden weight loss that required a transfusion earlier in the day according to an El Camino spokesperson. A collection was taken up during the game to help Ingram’s family.
The game was delayed due to the Valhalla (4-7) team bus getting stuck in traffic on the way to Oceanside but Valhalla came out fast, with their no huddle offense, quickly driving in to mid field. There, the El Camino defense tightened up stopping Valhalla cold. After a punt, the Wildcats took over on their own 16.
A fumble on a pitch had the Wildcats back at the 12. From there, Sergio Lopez engineered a 10 play 74 yard drive culminating in a 25 yard scramble up the middle by Lopez giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcat defense stopped the Norsemen at midfield on Valhalla’s second possession and Sergio Lopez had the Wildcats on the move again. The drive ended when Valhalla defensive tackle, Samuel Freeman intercepted a Lopez screen pass and returned it to the El Camino 11 yard line. Again the Wildcat defense held and Valhalla settled for 3 points on a 24 yard Jacob Paape field goal. 3-7 with 11:19 the left first half.
Eric Wilson returned the ensuing kick-off to the El Camino 45. El Camino proceeded to go 55 yards in five plays with the help of two long scrambles by Sergio Lopez, the strong running of junior fullback Nathan Williams and ending with a pitch to Nick Donaldson for the score. PAT good 3-14 El Camino.
The Norseman came right back, driving the length of the field and scoring on a Phillip Naseh to Skyler Coleman pass down the left side. Coleman, the senior wide-out for Valhalla made a spectacular one-handed grab for his first touchdown of the season. 10-14 with 6:29 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats drove deep into Valhalla territory and were poised to increase their lead when Lopez was picked-off at the Norseman two yard line. Naseh had Valhalla on the move again as the Norseman’s hurry up offense had El Camino a little off balance. That’s when Eric Wilson stepped up for the Wildcats with a pick-six returning an interception 61 yards and an El Camino 10-21 lead at the half.
El Camino took the second half kick-off and drove to the Valhalla 25 yard line. The drive stalled there and the Wildcats settled for a 35 yard, Antonio Garcia field goal and a 10-24 lead.
The Norseman came right back driving deep into El Camino territory but on 4th and two from the four yard-line, the Wildcats stuffed a Valhalla run up the right side and took over on downs.
The Wildcats next drive didn’t end in a score but it did take almost eight minutes off the clock. Valhalla got within 7 points, in the fourth quarter, on a 6 yard pitch and run by Jerome Johnson, 17-24 with 6:15 to play.
Eric Wilson added another touchdown with a leaping catch in the right corner of the end-zone, late in the game, erasing an interception he threw in the end-zone on a reverse option pass, to seal the victory. The 17-31 win was their first since their 9-5 defeat of La Costa Canyon on October 10 ending a four game skid. El Camino will travel to second seeded Steele Canyon (7-3) on November 21, 2014 for the second round. Steele Canyon is unbeaten at home this season.
In the other North County Division 1 playoff action. Vista used a punishing ground game and advances with a 35-14 win over Olympian., Vista will travel to 3rd seed St. Augustine next Friday night.