PLACENTIA – Valencia’s roller coaster-type season came to an end Friday when the Tigers lost to Chaparral of Temecula 38-0 in a CIF-SS Division 5 game. No. 20 Valencia was the Empire League co-champion this season after starting off 2-3 in nonleague games.
“It’s real hard after your season ends,” Valencia coach Jason Gray said. “In time, when you get a chance to look back and reflect on your whole season, you appreciate things. I’m proud of the things they accomplished this year.”
Chaparral (7-4) finished the regular season in fourth place in the competitive Southwestern League. The Pumas won their last two games to earn at at-large playoff berth.
The Pumas scored 31 points in the second half Friday. Freshman quarterback Trilion Harris completed 10 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown for Chaparral. Receiver Orlando Ornelas had two total touchdowns and a game-high 73 yards receiving.
The game was put out of reach when Harris completed a 51-yard deflected pass to Isaac Blue. On the next play, Ornelas ran for a touchdown to put Chaparral ahead 17-0. Justin Manqueros ran for two touchdowns late in the game for the Pumas. Manqueros ran for a game-high 95 yards.
Valencia (6-5) put together four potential scoring drives, all of which ultimately stalled out. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs twice and lost two fumbles. Valencia was also shut out by Pacifica in its league finale.
“We weren’t happy with the way we executed on offense and we didn’t score any points,” Gray said. “Now that the season is over, we have a chance to reflect on those things and get better.”
Nathan Perez and Nathan Sandoval ran the ball well for the Tigers, finishing with 66 and 57 yards, respectively. Dane Watkins was Valencia’s leading receiver, hauling in 40 of the team’s 51 passing yards.
Chaparral will play Paramount in the second round of the Division 5 playoffs.
[ Valencia - Chaparral] Photo Gallery
PLACENTIA ■ Pacifica’s football team packed its Friday night with effort, history and fulfillment of earlyseason promise. The Mariners used the legs and arm of Ben Jefferson and the leadership and tackling of Isaak Togia to capture their first league title since 2007 with 14-0 victory at Valencia to cap a competitive Empire League race.
“The happiest thing is that we could bring home a championship to Pacifica,” third-year coach Vinnie Lopez said. “It’s been 10 years, so I’m very happy for these kids. … Now we get to play again.”
Pacifica (9-1, 4-1) shares the Empire crown with Valencia (6-4, 4-1) but heads to the CIF-SS Division 10 playoffs as a league No. 1 entry. The Mariners, ranked third in the division, were considered top contenders in the preseason but lost to Cypress in league.
“We used that as motivation,” Togia, a senior, said. “That’s what led us to get the win today.”
Jefferson, a senior dualthreat quarterback, threw a touchdown and rushed for another in the first half as Pacifica led, 14-0. He finished with 120 yards rushing and passed for 168. But it was the Mariners’ defense that shined brightest.
Outside linebacker Tanner Deroisers recorded three of Pacifica’s five sacks while Togia added two tackles for losses, a forced fumble and pass breakup at linebacker.
Pacifica stacked its defensive line with Deroisers, linebacker RJ Draper and linemen Joey Gallo, Dylan Pederson, Robert Ramos and Vincent Antonacci. The line teamed with Togia and Ryan May to hold Division 5 contender Valencia to 85 yards rushing.
“Defense played phenomenal,” Jefferson said of a unit that also produced a goal-line stand from its 3 in the fourth quarter and a late interception from Isaac Torres.
Jefferson guided the Mariners on an 85-yard scoring drive on the opening series, hitting Sean Blake with a 31-yard TD pass.
[ Valencia - Pacifica] Photo Gallery
TUSTIN >> Valencia is here again, and the Tigers are for real.
Valencia put together a physical effort and capitalized on early chances to win its fourth game in a row, 3510, over Tustin in an Empire League game Friday at Tustin High. “When you get a chance where a couple things go your way early,” Valencia coach Jason Gray said, “and you can take advantage of it, that’s what you have to do as a good team.”
Valencia (5 -3, 3- 0) started the season 1-3 and now sits alone atop the Empire League standings with two weeks left in the regular season. Last season, the Tigers started 0-5 before a 4-1 run in league for a share of the league championship.
Tustin (7-1, 2-1) was ranked 17th in the county and first in CIF-SS Division 7. Valencia has won five straight against Tustin. The Tigers ran hard with Elijah Oropeza going for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
Defensive ends Nathan Perez and Garrett Paine led the defensive push for Valencia that held Tustin’s goto back, KC Carr III, to 31 yards on 12 carries in the first half. “It takes 11 guys on defense to stop these guys,” Gray said, “and we played more than 11 tonight. I could name them all. I’m very proud of them.”
On the game’s opening drive, Valencia quarterback Zach Charles connected on a 55-yard pass to Marvin Burgos. Oropeza ran in a 1-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Tustin came back with a big pass from Mike Mierez to Donald McKinney for 39 yards, but settled for a field goal.
Joshua Carrera took the ensuing kickoff down the Tigers’ sideline 82 yards for a touchdown and an 11-point lead. Two plays later, Tustin misplayed a hand-off and Valencia’s Paine pounced on the fumble at the Tustin 9-yard line.
Oropeza took two carries to score on a 4-yard run to the push the lead to 21-3. Tustin got another long pass from Mierez to McKinney for 38 yards, but Valencia later stood up on fourth down. Valencia then took the ball for a 12-play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown sneak by Charles.
Valencia led 28-3 going into halftime. Oropeza broke a 56-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.
[ Valencia - Tustin] Photo Gallery
[ Valencia - Cypress] Photo Gallery
Homecoming at Valencia
Valencia 43, Western 13
PLACENTIA – Valencia knows how to win once the calendar turns to league games. Nathan Sandoval and Eli Oropeza combined to rush for 237 yards to help the host Tigers ditch their slow start to the season and open defense of their Empire League title with a 28-20 victory against No. 22 Cypress on Thursday. The Tigers (3-3, 1-0) shared the league title last season with Tustin after an 0-5 start. But the Tigers feature a twist this fall with the return of longtime coach Mike Marrujo as an assistant or as an “advisor” as he referred to himself before the game.
Valencia claimed the victory after a third-down pass by Cypress quarterback Alex Ashcraft from the Tigers 26 to Dominique Thompson was ruled incomplete with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Thompson, a receiver who made two spectacular leaping catches earlier, and defender Michael Garcia, who also played a strong game for Valencia, appeared to wrestle for the ball in the back corner of the end zone before the ruling. The Centurions’ fourth-down pass fell incomplete with six seconds left, sealing Valencia’s biggest victory of the season by far.
“This is a real nice win for us. They have a lot of very skilled players,” Valencia coach Jason Gray said. “It took everything for us to win that game. I’m real proud of the kids.” The officials didn’t signal touchdown or incomplete pass immediately after Thompson’s near-touchdown reception on third down, which could have moved the Centurions (4-2, 0-1) within a 2-point conversion of potentially forcing overtime.
Thompson emerged from the tussle with the ball. “I thought we intercepted the ball, honestly,” Gray said. “I couldn’t see very well because I’m on the sideline. My guys upstairs were saying it was an interception.” Cypress coach Rick Feldman was on the sideline closer to the play and thought Thompson caught a touchdown. Feldman was calm in talking to the referee after the play. The referee talked to both coaches before the fourth down play and minor clock adjustment.
“I thought it was a catch and a touchdown,” Feldman said in a text message. “After they (the officials) huddled, he (the referee) said they blew it (the play) dead before Dom had it.” But Feldman didn’t focus on the debated play. “We made too many mistakes against a good team,” he said. Valencia opened a 21-6 lead on the second play of the fourth quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Zachary Charles. The sneak capped an 82-yard drive after an interception Marvin Burgos of Valencia just in front of his goal line on a fourth-down play.
But on the ensuing possession, Thompson caught a 49-yard TD reception on fourth down. But Cypress defense forced another turnover and capitalized. Charles turned a fumble recovery by Garcia at the Cypress 28 into another 1-yard TD run and Valencia took a 28-13 lead with 1:30 left in the fourth. Cypress didn’t go away as Ashcraft answered by tossing a 1-yard TD pass to Elias Rios with 49 seconds left to trim the Tigers lead to 28-20. The Centurions also recovered the onside kick after the score. Sandoval rushed for 161 yards on 30 carries while Oropeza added 76 yards. Ashcraft passed for 332 yards. Thompson made eight catches for 167 yards. Western transfer wide out Aaron Bojorquez also played well for Cypress with seven catches for 79 yards.
Valencia led,14-6, at halftime on a pair of touchdown runs by Oropeza. The sophomore capped a 41-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run on third-and-2 as the Tigers opened a 7-0 lead with 1:01 left in the first quarter. A 21-yard punt return by Garcia positioned Valencia for the short, scoring march, which featured four runs by Oropeza. Late in the first half, the Tigers drove 70 for Oropeza’s second TD run, a 5-yard rumble, that helped open a 14-3 lead. Marrujo inserted the 6-foot, 180-pound Oropeza back into the game on the previous play and the running back broke a 20-yard run to the 5.
Valencia sparked the drive with some flair typical of Marrujo’s teams in the past. Charles rolled right and threw left to tight end Garrett Paine for 32-yard gain to the Cypress 40. Sandoval rushed for 84 yards on 15 carries in the first half. Cypress’ Ean Dettmer kicked a 29-yard field goal, his second of the first half, on the final play of the second quarter to cut Valencia’s lead to 14-6. Cypress reached the red zone twice in the first half but the Tigers forced field goals each time, sequences that loomed significant in the second half.
[ Valencia - Cypress] Photo Gallery
Valencia 28, Cypress 20
PLACENTIA – Nathan Sandoval rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns for Valencia in a 30-13 nonleague win over Troy on Thursday at Valencia High. Valencia concluded nonleague play with a 2-3 record. Troy is 0-4.
Sandoval, a 5-foot-6, 160-pound junior, was sharing the carries with senior back Nathan Perez through the Tigers’ first four games. Perez was unable to play Thursday because of an ankle injury.
Sandoval carried 18 times. He scored on runs of 30 and 23 yards, and got plenty of support from the Tigers’ offensive line of Kyle Crane, Ethan DePriest, Adrian Diaz, Brandon Gonzalez and Robert Moreno. Sandoval this season has rushed for 393 yards and three touchdowns.
Valencia junior receiver Dane Watkins had touchdown receptions of 13 and 25 yards on passes from senior quarterback Zachary Charles.
Troy junior receiver Chris Rahlwes scored the Warriors’ two touchdowns on receptions of 45 and 75 yards. Rahlwes finished with 10 catches for 115 yards. He went into the game with 13 receptions for 174 yards. Rahlwes’ first touchdown reception came on Troy’s game-opening possession to put the Warriors on top, 7-0. Sandoval’s 30-yard scoring run on the Tigers’ first possession tied it.
Valencia took a 9-7 advantage when Chase Chocek tackled Troy’s punter in the end zone for a safety. The Tigers added Watkins’ 13-yard touchdown catch for a 16-7 lead near the end of the first quarter. Sandoval’s 23-yard touchdown run increased the lead to 23-7.
After a scoreless third quarter, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Charles to Watkins made it 30-7. Rahlwes’ 78-yard touchdown concluded the scoring.
After a bye next week, Valencia plays its Empire League opener Oct. 5 with a home game against Cypress. The Tigers were a league co-champion last season with Tustin.
Troy, which took its bye last week, plays a nonleague home game Sept. 9 against Don Lugo of Chino. The Warriors play their Freeway League opener Oct. 6 against Buena Park at Fullerton High. Troy last season finished third in the league with a 3-2 league record.
[ Valencia - Troy] Photo Gallery
By DANIEL HERNANDEZ - OC Register
PLACENTIA – Valencia receiver Joshua Carrera hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Charles with over a minute left against El Dorado to bring his team to within one point of a tie and possible overtime. But the Golden Hawks did not want to let go of a victory against their rival.
El Dorado senior James Crupi went crushing through linemen, blocked the ensuing extra point and preserved a 14-13 victory for his team in a nonleague game Friday night at Valencia High. “We have a ‘block right’ in, and we had gone over it in the meeting room at halftime, and he (special teams coach) told them, ‘hey if we get a chance we might be able to block one,’ ” El Dorado coach Zack LaMonda said.
Chris Hertl, who rushed for 108 yards on 11 attempts for El Dorado (2-1), found the end zone for his team’s go-ahead score on a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter. The touchdown gave El Dorado a 14-7 lead with 2:06 left to play. Although running backs for Valencia (1-3) tallied 179 yards in the first half, penalties and fumbles kept them from entering the end zone until later in the second quarter.
Valencia running back Elijah Oropeza smashed his way through the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown that tied the score, 7-7, just before the half. Crupi recovered a fumble on a Valencia punt return in the first quarter, handing El Dorado the ball in scoring position on the 11-yard line.
Hertl caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Jack Strouse to give El Dorado a 7-0 lead. Valencia running back Nathan Perez rushed for 108 yards in the first half, but did not play in the second half because of an injury.
[ Valencia - El Dorado] Photo Gallery
El Dorado 14, Valencia 13
El Dorado 7 0 0 7 – 14
Valencia 0 7 0 6 – 13
Passing: Strouse (ED) 18-30, 183, 1 TD. Charles (Val) 3-13, 9.
Rushing: ED – Hertl 11-108, Bass 4-26, Ruiz 1-18. Val- Perez 14-108, Oropeza 11-69, Sandoval 13-33.
Receiving: ED – Hertl 5-74, Crupi 4-38, Nitzel 4-29. Val – Watkins 1-7, Carrera 1-5.
El Dorado and Valencia are both heading into their Friday matchup this week after winning their previous games. El Dorado took its contest against Estancia last week by a conclusive 28 - 3 score. Meanwhile, Valencia crushed Brea Olinda last week, winning 56 - 0.
After having lost a blowout to El Toro in its previous game, El Dorado was happy to get the victory over Estancia. El Dorado ran circles around Estancia, picking up 493 total yards as opposed to Estancia's 159. The win bumped El Dorado's record up to 1-1.
As for Valencia, it won its contest early last week: the score was 42 - 0 at the half. Senior running back Nathan Perez didn't have many carries in the previous game, but he had more touches this time and made them count as he ran for 152 yards and punched in three touchdowns. The win got Valencia up to 1-2.
With both El Dorado and Valencia swaggering in after impressive performances, we'll find out which team will step up to teach the other some humility.
Valencia 56, Brea Olinda 0
Brea Olinda 0 0 0 0 — 0
Valencia 28 14 7 7 — 56
Passing: Brea, Moon 6-19-91 1 int. Val, Charles 8-10-115 3 TD
Rushing: Brea, Moon 8-16. Val, Perez 10-152 3 TD, Sandoval 10-115, Moran 9-67
Receiving: Brea, Thongphrachanh 3-42. Val, Paine 2-47 2 TD, Watkins 2-38 1 TD
Football Game Preview: Valencia vs. Brea Olinda
By: Staff Report | MaxPreps.com
Valencia will have its first chance of the season to defend its home turf as it faces off against Brea Olinda on Friday at 7:00 PM. If Valencia wants to avoid dropping the game, it will first need to focus on holding onto the ball since the team had three turnovers last game.
Valencia received a tough blow as it fell 34 - 14 to Yorba Linda. Senior tight end Chase Chocek didn't go down without a fight, though. He put up some defensive resistance with 17 tackles.
As for Brea Olinda, victory was within reach last week, but it ultimately lost 26 - 20 to Sonora. Even though the end result wasn't ideal, Brea Olinda did expose weaknesses in Sonora's offensive line by sacking the quarterback six times.
After their losses, Brea Olinda dropped to 0-1 and Valencia dropped to 0-2. We'll see which team manages to turn its luck around when they battle it out this week.
Having spent 27 years as an assistant coach, Jason Gray is now in the driver’s seat. He replaced Shawn Racobs, who coached the Tigers for one season after the legendary Mike Marrujo retired in 2015.
“Being the head coach at Valencia is an honor and I see it as an opportunity to help the program continue to succeed,” said Gray, who has been teaching on campus for 18 years. “Valencia is a special place and these kids work hard every day to represent themselves, Valencia, and their community well.”
Marrujo, who coached the Tigers for 35 years, is returning in an assisting role. “Having Coach Marrujo coaching again is great for the kids and the program,” Gray said. “We are all fortunate to have him.
The Tigers finished 4-7 overall in 2016 and shared the Empire League championship with Tustin. The team’s returning starters are providing some needed experience for the team, Gray said. That experience will be put to the test when Valencia and El Dorado meet in the annual Battle of the Bell on Friday, Sept. 15. El Dorado took the prize last year for the first time since 2011.
“We hope to play in a significant game with a big game atmosphere as the season progresses, so I look at the El Dorado game as a valuable experience for the kids,” Gray said. “Winning the game is great, I see it as something that the players and the community really enjoy.”
The community will be watching to see which team gets to ring the coveted Victory Bell.