By MARTIN HENDERSON
Special to OCVarsity
PLACENTIA - Trabuco Hills, runner-up a year ago in the CIF-SS Southwest Division, knew that the first playoff game is sometimes a big hurdle. The Mustangs were breathing a lot easier having gotten over that hurdle Saturday night by posting a 35-21 victory over Valencia.
Trabuco Hills (7-4) will play host to third-seeded Western next weekend. Valencia finished 8-3. "We don´t have a whole lot of returners back from last season," Trabuco Hills coach Jason Negro said. "I was nervous about how our kids would respond, how J.J. Mayer would respond."
Mayer, the first-year starting quarterback, responded fine. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 156 yards, with two second-half interceptions. Most impressive, he was 5 of 6 for 130 yards in the first half, including a 46-yard touchdown pass to Chris Simonton for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Simonton had given Trabuco Hills the early lead with a 2-yard run. Shane DeCillo made his mark as well. He rushed 28 times for 120 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 3 yards. The first was perhaps the most important. Just 2 minutes, 14 seconds after Valencia QB David Pina scored from 11 yards, DeCillo capped a seven-play, 80-yard drive.
Less than two minutes later, with 1 minute left on the first-half clock, Donnie Simonsen´s 38-yard interception return made it an insurmountable 28-7.