By Lou Ponsi
The Orange County Register
PLACENTIA -Valencia´s sustained ground attack led by Wes Fletcher, combined with an impressive passing performance from Dave Pina, were too much for Savanna to contend with in a Southern Division first round game played Saturday at Valencia High.
Fletcher carried 30 times for 215 yards and four touchdowns and Pina completed seven of 12 passes for 130 yards and scores to lead tigers to a 58-28 victory. Valencia (7-2-1) will play Irvine at Irvine High on Friday at 7 p.m. in the second round. "I just thought we played solid football, Valencia coach Mike Murrujo said. "Fletcher had a great game."
The Rebels (7-4) had a few speedy playmakers who kept the game close for a while. After the Tigers punted on the first drive of the game, Dominique Williams ran for a 71-yard touchdown on the Rebels´ first play from scrimmage. Fletcher scored on runs of 6 and 2 yards on the tigers´ next two possessions but then Savanna´s Stephen Jones scooped up a fumble and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to tie the first quarter.
Jones later scored runs of 41 and 82 yards and finished with 133 yards rushing on 11 carries. "They were fast," Murrujo said of the Rebels. "I knew they would probably bust a few." But the Tigers´ had a few playmakers of their own.
Rikee Collins returned a punt 72 yards to Savanna 8, setting up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Pina to Ben Hahle three plays later. Collins later scored on a 44 yard punt return and had two interceptions, one which set up a touchdown.
Valencia kicker Jesse Sandoval, who was brought up from the junior varsity team, was also impressive. Sandoval licked a 49-tard field goal as time ran out in the first half to put Valencia up 37-21. The field goal was set up by a 43-yard pass completion from Fletcher to Collins on the half back option. The Tigers led 44-28 after the third quarter.