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COUGARS’ VICTORY HAS A SPECIAL FLAVOR 26-7

MISSION VIEJO ♦ Capistrano Valley extended its special playoff run Friday thanks to key plays on special teams and a swarming defense.

Adam Gordon returned a punt 31 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and later added an interception as the Cougars defeated visiting Valencia, 26-7, in the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs.

Capistrano Valley’s faithful delivered a standing ovation in the final seconds as the Cougars (9-3) advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1990. And they took that step by defeating a league champion for a second consecutive week.

“We all believed,” said Gordon, who also caught a 24-yard TD pass from Gavin Pruett and kicked two 30-yard field goals. “After that La Habra win came in (in the first round), we knew we had a special feeling about these playoffs.”

Capistrano Valley, the third-place team from the Sea View League, will play at league champion San Clemente in the semifinals next Friday. The Tritons beat the Cougars, 54-27, in early October. Capistrano Valley used two plays on special teams early in the fourth quarter to put away Empire League champion Valencia (10-2). Leading 16-7, Capistrano Valley employed some trickery on a fourth-and-5 from its 38 to set up Gordon’s punt return.

Capistrano Valley lined up for a first-down attempt but snapped the ball directly to running back/punter Jordan Bocko, who was lined up slightly behind Pruett. The Tigers guarded against the first down and didn’t have a returner for Bocko’s kick, which Trevor Wise downed at the Valencia 1with 10:46 left in the fourth.

The Cougars then forced a punt from the 3 and Gordon fielded the kick on the run and raced to his first punt return TD as the Cougars took a 23-7 lead with 9:45 left. Gordon said the Cougars practice the punt trickery, under special teams coach Roger Biehn, but ran it for the first time. “Capo Valley is based on special teams,” Gordon said.

Capistrano Valley’s defense also delivered a critical stop deep in its territory early in the third. On a fourth-and-1 from the Cougars’ 5, junior defensive tackle Alex Bale recorded a tackle for loss on a rush play to preserve a 16-0 lead.

The play loomed large as Valencia’s Jake Watkins scored on a 26-yard TD reception from Patrick Godoy on a third-and-17 with 2 seconds left in the third, trimming the Cougars’ lead to 16-7.Capistrano Valley held Valencia’s powerful ground attack – averaging 256 yards – to 56 yards and forced three turnovers.

Capistrano Valley led, 16-0, at halftime on the strength on two TD passes by Pruett. The Cougars forced turnovers on Valencia’s first two plays from scrimmage, including a one-handed interception by Wise with 9:36 left in the first quarter. Wise made the grab at the Tigers’ 43 and returned the ball 18 yards.

Pruett capitalized two plays later, tossing a 24-yard TD to Gordon – his 11th on the season – for a 6-0 lead. Capistrano Valley drove for a 30-yard field goal by Gordon for a 9-0 lead with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

[ Valencia - Capistrano Valley] Photo Gallery 
See CIF Division Bracket breakdown CIF SOUTHERN SECTION

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VALENCIA ROARS OUT OF THE GATE, NEVER LOOKS BACK 45-14

BY BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC REGISTER

PLACENTIA ♦ The writing was on the wall early in Valencia’s 45-14 victory over visiting Northwood.
Before the Tigers (10-1) ran three offensive plays, they led 21-0. From there, Northwood never mustered much of a challenge in Friday night’s one-sided CIFSS Southwestern Division playoff opener.

Valencia held the Timberwolves (7-4) on the game’s opening possession, and on its first play from scrimmage, Patrick Godoy hit Jake Watkins on a 58-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers got the ball back less than three minutes later, and Godoy promptly scored on an 82-yard sprint. Then Nick Coghill intercepted Northwood quarterback Brian Abel and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead just 5:38 into the game.

Valencia rushed for more than 400 yards, including a game-best 143 yards on just six carries for Darren Sandoval. He scored on a 75-yard run as the third quarter came to an end, which meant the fourth quarter would be played with a running clock.

Valencia will travel to Capistrano Valley next Friday for a quarterfinal game. “We came in wanting to run the ball well, and we did a good job of that,” Valencia coach Mike Marrajo said. “We’ve done a good job of being balanced offensively and our defense was solid as usual.”

Abel led Northwood with 105 yards rushing, and completed 12 of 28 passes for 143 yards. Abel scored on 66-yard run and connected with Andy Clyde on a 32-yard touchdown pass. Godoy finished with 119 yards rushing and 72 passing for Valencia, and Jahquon Speed gained 70 yards on 10 carries. Watkins had four catches for 74 yards and the score.

[ Valencia - Northwood] Photo Gallery 
See CIF Division Bracket breakdown CIF SOUTHERN SECTION

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VALENCIA REFUSES TO LET UP 28-0

BY MATT HANLON
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC REGISTER

WESTMINSTER ♦ With a playoff spot already secured, Valencia could have taken it easy Friday night. Instead, the Tigers showed why they’re a playoff-bound team. Valencia wore down Pacifica with a persistent ground game and its usual steady defense in a 28-0 victory – the Tigers’ second shutout this season – at Bolsa Grande High.

“We played a good, clean game,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “It wasn’t real emotional, but I was really pleased the way we played, we ran the ball real well. … I feel real good where we’re at right now.” The Tigers (9-1, 5-0) didn’t draw a penalty in the game.

The win preserved their perfect Empire League record, a week after they clinched the league title and a CIF-SS Southwest Division playoff berth with a 39-36 win over Tustin.

Quarterback Pat Godoy ran 10 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 53 yards. The Tigers took the lead on Godoy’s 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He added a 32-yard touchdown run in the third. Jahquon Speed ran for a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a 26-yard score in the third.

He finished with 87 yards rushing. The Mariners (2-8, 1-4) didn’t advance inside Valencia’s 40 in the second half. Marcus Tolbert led the Pacifica offense, rushing for 62 yards on 19 carries.

 

[ Valencia - Pacific] Photo Gallery


CIF SOUTHERN SECTION

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VALENCIA SECURES TITLE 39-36

October 31, 2014 
BY KENNY CONNOLLY STAFF WRITER

PLACENTIA ♦ As the rain clouds settled over Valencia High on Friday evening, quarterback Pat Godoy and the Tigers offense trotted to their 20-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in a tie ball game. Executing the two-minute drill in practice is one thing. Driving down the field in light showers with an Empire League championship on the line is something different.

Behind its unwavering three year starter, Valencia drove 60 yards on 10 plays to the Tustin 20-yard line. Junior kicker Mason Paine capped a wild night by booting a 37-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 39-36 victory over Tustin in a back-and-forth slugfest.

With the win, Valencia (8-1, 4-0) earned its first Empire League title since the 2007 season. The Tigers can try to finish with a perfect 5-0 league clip next Friday when they take on Pacifica in the regular-season finale. Tustin (5-4, 2-2) can grab the Empire League’s third guaranteed playoff spot if it can defeat Kennedy, which has an identical record, in next Saturday’s finale.

“It was a great win for us,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said after the game. “Tustin’s a tough team. They’ve got a lot of great athletes.”

The Tillers held a 15-14 lead at halftime thanks in large part to receiver George Wilson, who caught four passes for 133 yards, including touchdowns of 40 and 56 yards. Both scores, however, were followed by missed extra point attempts.

Valencia rebounded in the second half, scoring on its first three drives to regain control. With 7:11 left in the fourth quarter, Godoy capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 2-yard keeper, giving the Tigers their largest lead at 36-21.

Wilson did not have a single reception in the second half, but, trailing by 15, Tustin quarterback Alema Pilimai guided the Tillers 71 yards in a little more than three minutes. Receiver Tyler Noble capped the nine-play drive with a 10-yard sweep, cutting the Valencia lead to 36-28 with 3:17 remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, Paine muffed a pooch kick, allowing Tustin to recover at the Valencia 45. Pilimai’s third touchdown pass of the game came seconds later, when Elijah Asiata took a screen pass 40 yards for the score.

A successful Robert Washington run on the 2-point conversion tied the score at 36 with 2:20 remaining, setting the stage for Godoy and Valencia’s offense. “It’s unbelievable,” Godoy said. “(Mason) did a good job. He was confident (before the kick).”

[ Valencia - Tustin] Photo Gallery

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Valencia claims inside track for Empire crown 14-13

October 24, 2014 11:46 PM
BY KENNY CONNOLLY STAFF WRITER

PLACENTIA ♦ While the Empire League title wasn’t on the line in Friday night’s highly anticipated showdown between Valencia and Cypress, overwhelming control of the league’s fate certainly was. As both Mike Marrujo and Rick Feldman suspected, the game’s outcome came down to the final drive, actually, its final play.

Unfortunately for Feldman, Cypress’ first-year coach, he’ll be asking himself one question for the foreseeable future: what if? Centurions kicker Nick Buras was unable to attempt the potential winning 36-yard field goal due to a botched exchange from long snapper to holder, allowing the Tigers to savor a hard-fought 14-13 league win at Valencia High.

“We knew it was going to be close and it was,” Marrujo said. “I thought our defense won that game for us. It was one of those whatever-it-takes-to-win kind of games.” Tied with Cypress atop the standings entering Friday night, the Tigers (7-1, 3-0) have the inside track at claiming their first Empire League crown since 2007. Valencia will host Tustin (5-3, 2-1) Friday.

“I’m just going to enjoy this one tonight,” Marrujo continued, “and worry about beating Tustin tomorrow.” Cypress’ Quinten Pounds compiled 95 yards of total offense on 16 touches. His 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was his fifth of the season, and it gave Cypress a 10-7 lead with 5:07 remaining in the first half.

Tigers quarterback Pat Godoy finished with a game-high 122 yards rushing on 12 carries. He earned 84 of those yards late in the third quarter with his team struggling to string together first downs.

Backed up in Valencia territory late in the third, Godoy dropped back to pass, avoided the Centurion rush by stepping up in the pocket, and then took off. The senior raced 84 yards for a touchdown, claiming a 14-10 lead for Valencia with 39 seconds to go before the fourth.

Cypress (6-2, 2-1) cut the lead to one point when Buras, the team’s starting quarterback, booted his second field goal from 34 yards with 6:33 remaining. The Centurions had two possessions in the final 4:45, one resulting in a three-and-out, while the other advanced 41 yards down to the Valencia 18-yard line with 3 seconds to go.

“It’s eating away at me right now because a loss isn’t just a loss to these kids anymore,” Feldman said. “These kids have worked so hard and come so far, it’s a painful ordeal. “We just left too many points out on the field.”

[ Valencia - Cypress] Photo Gallery

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Valencia continues quest to rule Empire 44-7

BY DAVID DELGADO
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC REGISTER

ANAHEIM ♦ The Valencia Tigers certainly looked the part of Empire League favorite in their dominating, 44-7 win over Western Saturday night. The Tigers, who rushed for 270 yards, made quick work of the Pioneers by establishing a punishing ground game from the start.

Strong offensive line play was the catalyst for everything Valencia had success with, enabling the running back trio of Mario Van Dam, Darren Sandoval and Jahquon Speed to do much of the damage to the Pioneer defense.

Valencia quarterback Pat Godoy ran for 75 first half yards and accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing and two passing). The Tigers started quickly when Sandoval scored from two yards out to give his team an 8-0 lead with 6:57 to play in the first quarter. On the Tigers second drive of the game, Godoy broke a 45-yard run giving Valencia the ball deep inside Western territory and, two plays later, he scored on an eight-yard touchdown run.

Western (1-6, 0-2) faced a 16-point hole entering the second quarter but put together an efficient 13-play drive that finally got them on the board and was capped with one-yard QB sneak by Nick Zarate on fourth-and-goal.

Moments later, after a failed onside kick by the Pioneers, Valencia would answer right back when Godoy hit Watkins for 41-yard pass that put the ball at the Western 7. Godoy scored on the next play, giving the Tigers a 22-7 lead. On the final play of the first half, Godoy hit a streaking Jake Watkins for a 56-yard score, giving Valencia a 37-7 lead at the break. Watkins finished with two catches that went for 97 yards.

Valencia (6-1 2-0) will host Cypress Friday in a battle for first place in the Empire League.

 

[ Valencia - Western] Photo Gallery

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Valencia pounds its way past Kennedy 37-7

BY STEVE FRYER
STAFF WRITER OC REGISTER

ANAHEIM ♦ Valencia is the Empire League favorite and played like it Thursday.

The Tigers did everything well in a 37-7 win over Kennedy in the league opener for both at Western High.Valencia (5-1 overall) made no turnovers, committed only two penalties, ran the ball effectively and held Kennedy running back T.J. Williams well below his usual output.

Tigers junior running back Darren Sandoval rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Patrick Godoy passed for a touchdown and ran for another. Valencia’s defense contributed to the scoring with a safety. Valencia coach Mike Marrujo liked what he saw. “We got physical, particularly on defense,” he said. “We kept (Williams) from breaking a lot of long runs. We kept pounding away on offense.” Of course, a coach in his 34th season, as Marrujo is with the Tigers, will see room for improvement in a 30-point win.

“Some of our blocking has to get more precise,” he said. “But we’re improving on that. We talk about preventing the big play, making no mental errors and no turnovers and we were good there.” Williams, who has missed a couple of games because of a toe injury, ran for 63 yards on 18 carries. He had been averaging 206 yards a game.

Sandoval carried 19 times. The Tigers played without running back Will Van Dam, their leading rusher going into this week, who was out with an ankle sprain.

Valencia’s Jacob Briggs intercepted a pass on Kennedy’s opening possession to give the Tigers the ball at the Kennedy 26-yard line. Five plays later, including a 16-yard run by quarterback Patrick Godoy, Darren Sandoval scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 Valencia lead.

The Tigers added two points on a safety when Kennedy quarterback Adrian Quezada was flagged for intentional grounding in the Fighting Irish end zone. Valencia extended the lead to 16-0 in the final seconds of the first quarter on a 17-yard touchdown run by sophomore Jahquon Speed. Joey Ortega returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown for Kennedy (3-3). Sandoval’s second touchdown, this one on a 1-yard dive, with 2:06 to go in the second quarter pushed the Tigers’ lead to 23-7.

In the third quarter, Jake Watkins turned a short pass from Godoy into a 34-yard touchdown play. The Tigers concluded the scoring when backup running back Tommy Bui scored on a 1-yard run with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Valencia finished second in the Empire League last season. Valencia plays Western at Western in an Empire League game Oct. 18. Kennedy plays Pacifica at Bolsa Grande High next Friday.

 

[ Valencia - Kennedy] Photo Gallery

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VALENCIA DEFENSE BOUNCES BACK 37-7

BY JEREMY BALAN
STAFF WRITER OC REGISTER

PLACENTIA ♦ Valencia seemed motivated to make last week’s defensive performance look like an aberration against visiting Laguna Hills on Thursday night.A week after allowing a season-high 31 points in a loss to Troy, the Tigers looked stingy once again in a 37-7 nonleague win over Laguna Hills.Valencia (4-1) allowed Laguna Hills (1-4) to gain only 146 yards in the game, 27 in the first half when Valencia took a 17-0 lead to the break.

The Hawks didn’t advance the ball into Tigers territory until early in the fourth quarter and had only one first down in the first half. The Tigers have allowed 10.8 points per game this season.

“We’ve been really good against the run all year, but last week, in the first half, we gave up big plays,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “Up front, we played like we have. That’s the strength on this team.” On offense, the Tigers had difficulties sustaining drives at times, but made up for it with big plays.

Four of the Tigers’ five touchdowns were on plays of 41 yards or more. Valencia quarterback Patrick Godoy threw for three touchdowns and 206 yards on 10-of-14 passing. Darren Sandoval had a 41-yard touchdown run to go along with a game-high 145 yards rushing.

Receiver Jake Watkins had 109 yards retouchdown catch. A bright spot for Laguna Hills was the return of BYU-bound linebacker Will Sedgwick, who had 13 tackles after missing four games with a thumb injury.

 

[ Valencia - Laguna Hills] Photo Gallery

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TROY WIN SEALED WITH KICK 31-28

BRIAN WHITEHEAD
STAFF WRITER OC REGISTER

FULLERTON ♦ Young Troy fans flooded Fullerton High’s football field following their school’s “Romecoming” game, and began mimicking senior Zach Johnson.

Johnson isn’t Troy’s quarterback. He isn’t a receiver, running back or linebacker, either.He is Troy’s kicker, and thanks in part to his right leg, the Warriors escaped Friday with a 31-28 nonleague victory over Valencia.

A 23-yard field goal off Johnson’s foot capped Troy’s winning drive, and Johnson said afterward that he’s spent hours practicing that same routine in front of his bedroom mirror.“For most kickers, a field goal like that should be a chip shot,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that happened. It was a great moment. I’ve been kicking since my freshman year, and have taken some flak for some missed kicks, but this is the ultimate high.”

Troy running back Nick Magee carried the ball 21 times for 68 yards, and quarterback Thomas Becerra scored two touchdowns as Troy (4-1) compensated for the early loss of star running back Dray Shaw.“Nick Magee played out of his head tonight,” Warriors coach Kevin Hastin said. “ ... It feels good to beat a good football team that’s well coached. I have all the respect in the world for Coach (Mike) Marrujo.” Troy receiver Dominic Vaccher finished with 137 receiving yards, and when Valencia began doublecovering him in the second half, his teammates made plays.

Receiver Spencer Hayes, in particular, had a crucial 12-yard reception on Troy’s winning drive. “I’ve learned a lot about our character this week,” Hastin said.

Four plays after extending Troy’s second possession of the game with a fake punt near midfield, Vaccher scored on a 20-yard reception. Early in the second quarter, Magee capped Troy’s third drive with a short TD run. Valencia (3-1) momentarily pulled within a touchdown on Jake Watkins’ 43-yard TD catch, but Magee returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for six points.

Valencia running back Will Van Dam and Becerra exchanged touchdown runs late in the quarter, and Troy led, 28-14, at halftime. Valencia, the Southwest Division’s third-ranked team, played without QB Tyler Switzer (leg).


[ Valencia - Troy] Photo Gallery
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FEISTY VALENCIA WINS ‘BATTLE FOR THE BELL’ 31-13

BY PATRICK KINMARTIN
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC REGISTER

PLACENTIA ♦ Now a lot more people know Valencia reacts well when situations get zany.

The overflow crowd was loud at the Tigers' home stadium for Friday night's inner-city faceoff against El Dorado and halfway through they lost starting quarterback Tyler Switzer. Never, though, did Valencia look nervous.

The 44th annual “Battle for the Bell" was a strong 31-13 victory for the Tigers, who were arguably too comfortable amid the craziness at times. They committed four personal-foul penalties on high-energy plays in the first half to help the resilient Golden Hawks keep the game close for three quarters.

“As hard as we can, that's the way we like to play,” said Valencia linebacker Cody Gores, who contributed to three sacks in the win. “We like to come out as aggressive as possible.”

A solid example is the way the Tigers (3-0) ran the ball. Will Van Dam had 152 yards on 24 carries, often running behind rowdy tight end Nick Coghill and getting blocks upfield from receiver Jake Watkins. “You could see our style tonight,” Gores said. “It was on display on the field and in the final score also.”

Switzer's fancy-footed running contributed 57 more yards on nine carries, though his night ended with an injury in the third quarter. Valencia's medical staff iced Switzer's knee during the fourth quarter. His backup, senior Patrick Godoy, completed the Tigers' only two touchdown passes. The second was an impressive 38-yard throw to Watkins in the end zone that put Valencia ahead 31-7.

El Dorado (0-3) had to endure through the same problem. Quarterback Dominick Martinez had to be helped off the field twice, yet returned after both episodes and finished with 188 total yards. “Everything was hurting,” Martinez said. “But I had to get back out there in a game that means as much as this one.”

Valencia, which has won the past three meetings between the rivals, scored on its first three possessions before its groove began to stall. The Tigers' next score didn't come until Godoy connected with Watkins for a 15-yard scoring pass with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter.


[ Valencia - EL Dorado] Photo Gallery

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Special Dates 2014

√ Home Coming
      Oct. 24th Friday
√ JV/Frosh Banquet
      Nov. 18th Tuesday
√ Varsity Banquet
      Dec. 4th Thursday
√ CIF Championship

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Empire League 2014-15

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0Empire0 0Overall0
Cypress 4-1-0 8-3-0
Kennedy 2-3-0 5-6-0
Pacifica 1-4-0 2-8-0
Tustin 3-2-0 6-5-0
Valencia 5-0-0 10-2-0
Western 0-5-0 1-9-0
     
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