by Christopher Mohr
Editor's Note: Starting this week, East County Magazine will have a Game of the Week article covering a football game featuring at least one high school team from the area.
September 2, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--Our first Game of the Week takes place this Friday, when the Norsemen of Valhalla High School take on the visiting Falcons of Our Lady of Good Counsel from Olney, MD. The Falcons are currently ranked second in the Washington Post’s poll of area high school football teams, and averaged just over 38 points per game in 2008. Heavily recruited standouts like E.J. Scott and Stefon Diggs exemplify the team speed of Good Counsel’s explosive offense.
ESPN2 covered the Falcons’ 42-21 win over DeMatha of Hyattsville, MD last season. Just a few weeks later, DeMatha avenged that loss with a 34-7 playoff win over Good Counsel. It was the only loss in the Falcons’ 11-1 season.
If you watch college football, a name you will hear more often is that of Good Counsel alum Jelani Jenkins, who graduated last year to play linebacker for the University of Florida. Jenkins was honored as Maryland Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and was ranked either first or second among linebacker prospects by Scouts.com, ESPN and Rivals.com.
Valhalla is currently ranked twelfth in the San Diego Union-Tribune poll. Last season, the Norsemen finished with an 11-2 record and went deep enough in the playoffs to earn a trip to Qualcomm Stadium to play in the sectional championship. Unfortunately for Valhalla, that game did not go well as they lost 49-13 to the eventual state champion, Cathedral Catholic.
Eight starters return for the Norsemen offense in 2009. Pete Thomas, who has given a verbal commitment to Arizona State, returns as quarterback. He threw for 2,691 yards in 2008, while completing 68.5% of his passes.
Traivonne Brown will do most of the ball carrying. He comes off an impressive season where he ran 954 yards on 110 carries for an average of 8.5 yards per carry. It’s nice to have a running back who almost averages a first down every time he gets the ball.
Wide receiver Matt Swanger, along with Nino Mallory and James Leighton will catch many of Thomas’ passes this season. The linemen who protect Thomas and open up the holes for Brown are led by Taylor Phipps, Kevan McDougal and Jamie DeCarolis.
On defense, Shane Pennix anchors the defensive line and has drawn interest from collegiate recruiters, while Hansell Wilson leads the secondary.
The game kicks off at 7:00 this Friday at Valhalla High School. This is a great opportunity to see some highly talented prep football players in a fierce match up. You won’t want to miss it!
Christopher Mohr is a freelance writer in the San Diego area. He writes articles for BleacherReport.com and is a huge Chargers, Padres and Detroit Red Wings fan.