YORBA LINDA Yorba Linda´s 21-7 Empire League victory over Valencia in front of a homecoming crowd at Shapell Stadium might not have been convincing, but it was good enough to keep the Mustangs undefeated and in first place.
The Mustangs (8-0, 4-0) now stand alone in the top spot since Cypress suffered its first Empire League defeat against Tustin on Friday. With Cypress losing, the anticipated Week 9 showdown between the Mustangs and Centurions might lose just a little luster, but the outcome should still go a long way to determining the league champion.
"We´ve got our work cut out for us," said Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey, referring to his team´s slow start against the Tigers (1-8, 1-4). "We just didn´t execute," Bailey said. "There are things we´ve got to get better at." Yorba Linda fumbled the ball away on it 43 on the third play from scrimmage. But the Mustangs came away unscathed when the Tigers couldn´t convert the takeaway into any points. A 60-yard touchdown pass from Alex Bernstein to Lorenzo Ruiz gave Yorba Linda a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Bernstein´s 6-yard touchdown run made the score 14-0 in the second quarter. In the third, Valencia got on the board when Andres Sandoval returned a blocked punt 26 yards for a touchdown. Bernstein then connected with Shad Pace for a 13-yard touchdown with 2:58 left in the third quarter. A key sequence came when the Tigers, trailing 21-7, had a first-and-goal from the 5 with about nine minutes left. It came down to a fourthand-goal from the 2 when the defense stuffed QB Jesse Godoy for a yard loss.