By Curtis Zupke
The Orange County Register
MISSION VIEJO - Eric Cox ran for three and Rikee Collins rushed for 167 yards as Valencia defeated Capistrano Valley High. Marcus Beckman threw two touch downs as the Tigers improved to 3-1-1 They played without starting running back Wes Fletcher, who sat out the game because of a twisted ankle suffered last week.
"I thought the whole team stepped up and played really well" Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. "The best game we´ve played so far this year." Collins ran for 126 yards in the second half. His 38-yarder on Valencia´s opening drive of the second half helped set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Cox to give Valencia a 21-3 lead.
The Cougars (3-1) came back with a 50-yard touchdown pass from Parker Finley to Austin Messick, but their next two possessions ended in an incomplete pass and an interception of a tipped ball by defensive lineman Zach Johnson. Collins broke off a 27-yard run and Beckmen completed a 27-yard pass to Julius Macharia on third-and 9 to set up Cox´s 2-yard touchdown run in the forth quarter.
Fletcher, Empire League offensive player of the year, is week-to-week, Marrujo said. Valencia has a bye next week.