By JASON EICHELBERGER
MISSION VIEJO Sticking to a game plan of ball control offense and tough, hard-nosed defense laid out by head coach Chi Chi Biehn proved to be the winning formula for the Capistrano Valley Cougars. Senior running back Clay Guess carried 31 times for 142 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, while Capistrano Valley´s defense recorded four sacks and yielded only 11 yards passing in a come-from-behind 14-7 nonleague victory over Valencia on Friday night at Capistrano Valley High. "Our goal this week was to play hard and we just kept after it," Coach Chi Chi Biehn said. "We know that we have to continue to improve."
The Cougars (2-2) snapped a two-game skid in which they were outscored, 65-6. "We know the strongest part of our offense is our offensive line and they gave me opportunities tonight," said Guess. After both teams struggled to generate any offense in the first quarter, the Cougars drove deep into Tigers territory, but an interception by senior Karsen Garcia at the Tigers 13 ended the threat.
Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers (1-3) used a turnover to set up the only points of the half, as Tigers junior Omar Perez corraled a bobbled pass and returned the interception 45 yards to the Cougars 1. Two plays later, Perez scored to make it 7-0. However, it was the Cougars who seized the momentum in the third. After forcing a punt on Valencia´s first possession of the half, Capistrano Valley drove 65 yards to narrow the Tigers´ lead to one as senior quarterback Brandon Brennan hit junior wide receiver Bobby Lewis on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. The ensuing extra was missed.
The Tigers offense was again forced to punt, and TThe Cougars capitalized on their next possesion. After a 37-yard reception by junior Cole Winninghoff put them deep into Tigers territory, Guess converted a key fourth-and-3 from the Tigers 7. Guess finished off the drive with a 2-yard plunge into the end zone.
Brennan then hit Winninghoff on a 2-point conversion for a 14-7 lead. The Tigers had two final possessions in the fourth quarter, but was unable to move the ball amid a swarming Cougar defense.