By CHRIS TOBOLSKI
PLACENTIA - Valencia clinched a playoff spot with its 31-12 victory over Kennedy in Empire League play Thursday night at Valencia High. "This was a team victory," Tigers quarterback Dave Pina said. Pina rushed for 71 yards, but he made his biggest impact at cornerback. He had two interceptions. The second prevented a touchdown in the end zone. "
It kept Valencia (7-2, 3-1) ahead, 14-0, late in the second quarter. The Tigers took that lead on a 5-yard keeper by Pina and a 6-yard run by Isaac Dominguez. Kennedy (4-5, 1-3) responded with a drive to the Tigers 16 after Dominguez´s score, but Pina´s pick ended the Fighting Irish´s chance.
Valencia took over at its 20 and scored on Jesse Sandoval´s 37-yard field goal to lead, 17-0, at halftime. Dominguez scored on runs of 19 and 1 yard in the second half to push the Tigers advantage to 31-0. He finished with 14 carries for 99 yards and three touchdowns. Teammate Ruben Escarsega was just as punishing without scoring, ending with a game-high 19 carries for 133 yards.
Kennedy avoided the shutout late on Kyle White´s 1-yard run. The Irish recovered the kickoff and quarterback Andy Peterson scored on a 7-yard scramble to make it 31-12 with 3:48 to play.