OC Register Writer
PLACENTIA At 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Valencia junior quarterback Jesse Godoy had to battle more than the 11 Kennedy defenders on the field at Bradford Stadium on Friday night. In addition to dodging tackles, Godoy, like he does every game, had to fight off severe asthma, but even the problems catching his breath didn´t keep him from having a huge game.
Behind 241 total yards from their quarterback, Valencia picked up its first victory of the season, defeating Kennedy, 24-14. "He played pretty well tonight," Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. "He´s got to be consistent, but he did a really good job running the team." Junior running back Gabriel Perez rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Valencia (1-5, 1-0 Empire League) held Kennedy to just 10 yards of total offense in the first half before holding off a late charge. "The kids really stepped it up and played well," Marrujo said. "We made a couple of changes here and there and moved some guys around, and they really played well. "We stopped the run. That was the key thing." Kennedy (2-3, 0-2) gained only 41 yards rushing on 20 carries.
The Fighting Irish, playing without receiver Eli Pleasant and running back Darius Miles, were able to fight back from a 17-0 deficit, closing to three points behind with 4:20 left after senior quarterback Chris Harvey´s two touchdown passes.
Leading by just three, Valencia got the ball on its 20, facing the Kennedy defense, which possessed all three timeouts. But the Tigers´ running attack, which was crucial on their previous scores, continued to move the ball down the field. Led by Godoy and Perez, Valencia went 80 yards on nine plays - all rushes - with Godoy´s 18-yard touchdown run icing the victory.