El Cajon Valley Braves look for improvement as young squad gains maturity this season

Photo by Phillip Brents ECV’s Kal-El Gordon in 2021

The El Cajon Valley Braves finished 3-9 last season with a trip to the San Diego Section Division V playoffs, playing into the second round.

The Braves, receiving the No. 10 seed, upset seventh-seeded Army Navy Academy, 21-14, before ending their season with a 35-7 loss at second-seeded Mission Bay.

ECV head coach Nick Osborn is looking for his team to climb the ladder this season after a 1-5 finish in Grossmont Valley League play.

“We have a strong cohesive group of kids who have good
chemistry,” Osborn said. “This is a junior heavy squad of players who have played together since their freshman year. We have a strong run game, which we will rely on, but we’ll look to improve our numbers in the air while winning the turnover battle.

“We look to do real well in nonleague and make a big impact in league play. We’ve stepped up each season in our league play. Not all can see that because they
will only look at the win/loss column. But for those on the field, El Cajon is gaining respect amongst teams and we are ready to continue to grow. Our biggest goal is to maintain a team GPA of 3.0 this season.”

Top returners include senior running back/linebacker Kal-El Gordon, junior receiver Paris Dixon, junior running back/linebacker Omar Jaimes, junior offensive-defensive lineman Enrique Hernandez, senior offensive-defensive lineman Eddie Dement, junior running back/linebacker Christian Preciado and senior tight end/defensive lineman Yasi Blair.

Gordon and Dixon were both first team all-league picks while Jaimes was honorable mention. Gordon rushed for 1,401 yards and scored nine rushing touchdowns last season while making two touchdown pass receptions. He finished the season with 1,530 all-purpose yards, a staggering 170 yards per game.

Dixon recorded three receiving touchdowns while Jaimes had one rushing touchdown.

Jaimes ranked second on the team with 46 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss. Dixon ranked fourth on the team with 40 tackles and topped the team with five interceptions.

The team’s impact newcomers include junior quarterback Darick Dixon, junior running back/cornerback Joseph Johnson, junior offensive-defensive linemen Shekaub Hussain and Raul Villegas.

Dixon received some varsity experience at the tail end of last season.

The Braves kick off the 2022 season with a non-league game at Mission Bay on Aug. 19, followed by a home game against the Hoover Cardinals on Aug. 26.

Other non-league games follow against Vincent Memorial (home on Sept. 2) and Montgomery
(home on Sept. 8).

El Cajon Valley’s league opener is Sept. 15 at El Capitan High School.