PLACENTIA The secondhalf performance by the 10th-ranked Cypress Centurions suited Coach Mike Cobleigh better than the first half. Cypress (7-0, 4-0) overcame a sluggish first half to finally put away host Valencia, 17-0 in an Empire League game Thursday. Valencia falls to 3-5 overall and 0-4 in league.
Vincent Rivera snapped a scoreless tie when he raced 32 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the third quarter. The drive started at the Valencia 48 when linebacker Marcus Moore recovered a fumble. Rivera added a 3-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left in the game. He finished with 113 yards rushing and intercepted a pass in the second half.
In between Rivera touchdown runs, Casey Eyman booted a 37-yard field goal for Cypress. "He´s a terrific player," Cobleigh said. "He just keeps working. ...He´s on the field all time." Cobleigh credited the offensive line (Anthony Ianotti, Jeromy Mehr, Steven Carl, Jeremy Miranda, Jacob Higgins and tight end Zack Belanger) for their play in the second half.
The victory, which is the 18th consecutive Empire League victory for the Centurions, started slowly as both teams struggled with offensive consistency. Cypress didn´t gain its initial first down until late in the second quarter when quarterback Chris Austin tossed a 21-yard pass to Victor Vasquez.
Cypress ran just six plays in the first quarter, while Valencia dominated the time of possession. The Tigers ran 18 plays in the opening quarter, including a 12-play drive that stalled at the Cypress 38.The game was scoreless at halftime. "We knew we were going to be in for it," Cobleigh said. "I´m proud that our kids battled." After the game, Cypress senior linebacker Jorden Pounds was taken to Placentia-Linda Hospital. Eyewitnesses said that Pounds had moments where he went in and out of consciousness. A concussion was ruled out.