By LOU PONSI
The Orange County Register
PLACENTIA - Valencia came away with a down-to-the-wire 17-16 victory over crosstown rival El Dorado in a non- league game Friday at Valencia High. However, a decision by Tigers coach Mike Marrujo before a down was played might have factored into the victory more than anything else. CIF rules require that both coaches agree before the game to play overtime in the event of a tie after four quarters.
Marrujo chose not to play overtime. So when a 23-yard touchdown pass from El Dorado quarterback Raymond Contreras to Matt Cardenas made the score 17-16 with just under two minutes remaining, the Golden Hawks went for two points but failed on the potential winning conversion. Valencia (3-0) recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
"This is our rival, and we were going for a win," El Dorado coach Jeff Bailey said. "We weren't going to come out of here with a tie." The Golden Hawks (0-3) would not have been in position to go for the victory if Nolan Sheldon hadn't blocked a punt that gave El Dorado the ball at the Valencia 23. The Golden Hawks scored on the next play.
The Tigers took a 17-10 lead on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Luis Cruz to Ken Cormier with 3:58 remaining. "I think my kids played really well in the second half," Marrujo said. "It really was a mental thing more than anything else." El Dorado's Craig Leyton led all rushers with 140 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Valencia 0 7 3 7 - 17
El Dorado 7 3 0 6 - 16
ED - Leyton 6 run (Hilgenburg kick)
Val - Magee 11 pass from Cruz (Russell kick)
ED - FG Hilgenburg 28
Val - FG Russell 28
Val - Cormier 18 pass from Cruz (Russell kick)
ED - Cardenas 23 pass from Contreras (pass failed)
Rushing - Val, Fletcher 23-66, Torres 4-49; ED, Leyton 25-140, Van Holland 1-4
Passing - Val, Cruz 11-20-0-144; ED, Contreras 5-19-1-76
Receiving - Val, Cormier 4-75, Magee 4-50; ED, Cardenas 2-35, Long 1-30