By LOU PONSI
A clutch play by the defense keyed Valencia's 19-3 non-league victory over Villa Park on Thursday at El Modena High School. The Tigers (2-0) hadn't done much offensively in the first quarter and trailed, 3-0, in the second quarter when Villa Park (0-1) faced a third-and-4 on their own 19.
Valencia's Mike Alvarez charged quarterback Tyler Watkins and then leaped high to deflect his pass into the arms of defensive tackle Zack Johnson, who ran the ball 9 yards for a touchdown.
"We'll sure take that," said Valencia coach Mike Marrujo of the defensive touchdown. "Defensively, I thought we played well." The score seemed to inspire the Tigers, who dominated the contest the rest of the way.Valencia quarterback Marcus Beckman's 1-yard touchdown run capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive that gave the Tigers a 12-3 lead.
Beckman also complted a 33-yard pass to Kelli Jackson, which set up another score. Running back Wes Fletcher scored the Tigers final touchdown on a 1-yard run with 5:53 remaining. Fletcher, considered one of the county's top backs, finished with 137 yards on 28 carries, 25 coming in the second half. "We just kept feeding him the ball," Marrujo said. Anthony Privitelli led the Spartans with 68 yards on 19 carries.