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Valencia claims inside track for Empire crown 14-13

October 24, 2014 11:46 PM

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


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


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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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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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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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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BREA ♦ Valencia’s offense was far from perfect. But the Tigers’ defense – for the second game in a row – was everything it needed to be. Despite a handful of Valencia turnovers, that defense paved the way for the Tigers’ 21-0 nonleague shutout over Brea Olinda on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium. Valencia (2-0) has yet to allow a touchdown this season. "Defense played well, they made plays when they had to,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “The way our defense has been playing, three points (allowed) in two games, we’ll take that.”

The Tigers started their second drive of the game from the Wildcats’ 45-yard line. Five plays later, they had the game’s first score – all the offense they’d need – on Pat Godoy’s 36-yard scramble down the left sideline.
Brea Olinda (0-2) answered with a seven-play drive to Valencia’s 14-yard line after a 39-yard run by Billy Hanley. Then it got sloppy.

Three consecutive fumbles followed – each resulting in a change of possession – and the Tigers ended up with the ball. “We've got to stop our little blunders,” Brea coach Robb Perrance said. “This team’s got a lot of fight. They’re battlers.” Valencia junior backup quarterback Tyler Switzer – who entered the game after a big hit hobbled Godoy midway through the second quarter – completed eight of 14 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

On his second drive, he arced a 24-yard pass to the back of the end zone that found a diving Nick Watkins. The score gave Valencia a 14-0 lead with a minute remaining in the second quarter. Valencia added a third score in the fourth quarter on Switzer’s second touchdown pass of the night, a 46-yarder that deflected off a Brea defender to receiver Jackson Mirth, who trotted into the end zone.

Valencia’s Will Van Dam rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries.Hanley again provided the bulk of Brea Olinda’s offense, rushing for 90 yards on 14 carries. The Wildcats will look for their first win against Diamond Bar next week.

[ Valencia - Brea Olinda] Photo Gallery

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PLACENTIA ♦ The 2013 contest between Yorba Linda and Valencia – one that would ultimately decide the Empire League champion – was all Mustangs.

The 2014 rematch was a different story. The Tigers defense kept Yorba Linda’s offense to a distant murmur as they handed the now-Crestview League Mustangs a 28-3 nonleague loss at Valencia High on Friday.

Valencia (1-0) clung to a 7-3 lead at halftime but sped its offense up considerably in the third quarter. An 11-play drive that culminated in a 10-yard Pat Godoy pass to Chachmoni Ben-yisrael spearheaded the Tigers’ strong second half performance.
“I thought early on – offensively especially – we were all over the place, shooting ourselves in the foot,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “Defense fortunately kept us in the game with the three takeaways in the first half. And then we found our stride in the second half.”

Godoy tacked on touchdown runs in the third and fourth quarters to seal the victory. He finished with three touchdowns and 35-yards rushing. Will Van Dam rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries.

Yorba Linda (0-1) entered the contest already plagued by summer injuries that left three starters sitting on the bench – Ryan Faithe, Chandler Scharr and featured receiver Carter Kimberly. Mustangs running back Jimmy Gillis had nine carries and 20 yards before getting injured during the game as well, Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey said.

“Obviously we even had some more injuries during the game and the kids that were there were battling their butts off,” said Bailey. “That’s a good team. They’re a CIF-caliber team and I got to (take) my hat off to them, they pounded us and they did what they were supposed to do.” The Mustangs led at the end of the first quarter, 3-0, on 27-yard field goal by Max Miller. Valencia stole that lead a quarter later. An interception by Jacob Briggs brought the Tigers to the 22-yard line, paving the way to Godoy’s touchdown – a 1-yard run early in the second quarter – that gave the Tigers their 7-3 lead. Yorba Linda plays host to Orange Lutheran next week. Valencia faces Brea Olinda.

[ Valencia - Yorba Linda] Photo Gallery

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Tiger News 2013


PLACENTIA > It has been three long years since Fullerton High last celebrated a postseason victory. While Indians coach Gus Martinez could have done without the late-game drama, he´ll nevertheless relish the sweet taste of a playoff win.

James Hubbard scored three touchdowns and accounted for 229 yards of total offense for Fullerton as it narrowly escaped Valencia, 29-21, in a CIFSS Southwest Division firstround game Friday at Valencia High.

"I´m about to collapse," Martinez joked after the game. "It´s awesome though. We´ve talked all year about getting back to this point. And through everything that we´ve been through this season, we´re thrilled to be back in this position." Fullerton (9-2) will host Los Alamitos (9-2) next week in the quarterfinals. "We´re back to where we´re supposed to be," Martinez added.

Leading, 22-15, with just more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hubbard came in motion from his receiver spot, took a handoff from quarterback Scott Lloyd and raced 85 yards for what looked to be the gameclinching touchdown. The Indians led, 29-15, with 2:19 to play.

But on Valencia´s ensuing possession, sophomore quarterback Tyler Switzer guided the Tigers´ offense 80 yards in just three plays. Switzer connected with Jake Watkins on a 36-yard touchdown pass 44 seconds after Hubbard´s score, cutting the Indians´ lead to 29-21 with 1:35 remaining.

For the second consecutive week, Valencia (8-3) was forced to play the second half without its starting quarterback, Patrick Godoy. The junior suffered a concussion in the second quarter and watched the second half from the sideline. Switzer relieved Godoy at the start of the third and the offense was unable to produce any points in his first five drives.

Fullerton recovered the ensuing onside kick and merely had to gain one first down to put the game out of reach. On a second down play, Lloyd took off on a quarterback keeper and was stripped of the football. Tigers defensive back Ray Gonzales recovered the ball in midair at the Valencia 38-yard line, reclaiming possession with 45 seconds to play.

[ Valencia - Tustin] Photo Gallery

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Tiger News 2013

PLACENTIA - Valencia back-up quarterback Tyler Switzer threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Larrasquito on fourth down with 1:29 remaining, allowing the Tigers to escape with a 14-10 victory over Kennedy on Friday night in the Empire League finale at Valencia High. The Tigers (8-2, 5-1) claimed the league´s No. 2 seed in the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs.

Kennedy (5-5, 3-3) came 90 seconds short of earning a playoff bid. A win over Valencia would have catapulted the Fighting Irish into the No. 2 spot. Instead, they find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.

Kennedy held a lead at halftime because of Justin Minor´s 50-yard Hail Mary to Joe Lovetere. The senior brought the ball down in the end zone with no time left in the second quarter, giving the Fighting Irish a 10-7 advantage.

Valencia starting quarterback Patrick Godoy injured his left ankle midway through the second quarter and watched the remainder of the game from the sideline, limping noticeably. With Switzer, the Tigers turned the ball over three times and never got into a rhythm offensively.
"The defense shut (Kennedy) down in the second half," Mike Marrujo said. "We had to have that. And we made enough big plays late to get it done."

Valencia´s last drive started on the Kennedy 31 after a 15-yard punt return from Chach Ben-Yisrael. The Tigers drove to the Fighting Irish 8 and were faced with a fourth-and-2. Rather than try for a field goal, Marrujo went for the win, and won the gamble.

The kids really played their tails off," Kennedy coach Brit Johnson said. "It´s a football game and it hurts right now, but hopefully the kids take it as a learning experience and realize that good things will come from this."

[ Valencia - Kennedy] 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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0Empire0 0Overall0
Cypress 2-1-0 6-2-0
Kennedy 2-1-0 5-3-0
Pacifica 0-3-0 1-7-0
Tustin 2-1-0 5-3-0
Valencia 3-0-0 7-1-0
Western 0-3-0 1-7-0
No Pain No Gain                       Go Tigers!!!            

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