By DAMIAN CALHOUN
The Orange County Register
PLACENTIA - For the second consecutive week, Valencia was stingy to its opponent. One week after posting a shutout against Loara, the Tigers (5-3, 2-1) stymied the passing attack of visiting Pacifica (5-3, 2-1) for a 28-6 Empire League victory Thursday night. Pacifica entered the game having scored 94 points in its previous two games.
"The defense has turned the corner," Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. "It (the defense) has improved as the year has gone on." It also didn't hurt to have Mike Alvarez coming off of the corner.
Alvarez, a junior linebacker, recorded three sacks and intercepted a pass for the Tigers. Alvarez's interception proved to be the turning point of the game. Late in the second quarter, Alvarez intercepted a screen pass intended for Pacifica's Tri Vo at 1:28. Valencia quarterback Marcus Beckman connected with D.J. Russell on a 20-yard touchdown pass two plays later for a 21-6 halftime lead.
The defense forced a Pacifica turnover midway through the third quarter to give the Tigers possession on the Pacifica 21-yard line. Valencia running back Wes Fletcher moved the ball to 1-yard line on four plays, and Jeremiah Rodriguez capped the drive with a 1-yard scoring run and a 28-6 lead. Fletcher finished with 142 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Pacifica 0 6 0 0 - 6
Valencia 7 14 7 0 - 28
Val - Fletcher 28 run (Russell kick)
Pac - Vo 2 run (kick failed)
Val - Schmidt 23 run (Russell kick)
Val - Russell 20 pass from Beckman (Russell kick)
Val - Rodriguez 1 run (Russell kick)
Rushing- Pac, Vo 16-75, Ortiz 6-30; Val, Fletcher 28-142, Schmidt 5-77
Passing- Pac, Garcia 5-13-1-61, Ortiz 5-15-0-41; Val, Beckman 6-10-0-60
Receiving- Pac, Strain 4-50; Val, Russell 2-22, Zamora 2-23