By DEVIN UGLAND
FOR THE REGISTER
GARDEN GROVE Pacifica and No. 23 Valencia jostled for position all night long, but one play from Tigers quarterback Jesse Godoy secured the 16-6 Empire League victory for Valencia Friday night at Bolsa Grande High. Late in the third quarter, Godoy broke off a 60-yard touchdown run that stretched a lead the Tigers had gained less than 5 minutes earlier.
Valencia´s Jesse Gonzalez had connected on a 44-yard field goal with 4:11 left in the first quarter for the Tigers´ only points of the opening half. Nick Howard hooked up with Avery Watson on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 2:58 remaining in the opening half, giving Pacifica (4-4, 2-2) a 6-3 lead at the break.
Levi Perez punched in a 5-yard rushing touchdown with 4:52 left in the third quarter, giving Valencia (6-3, 4-1) a 10-6 lead. On Pacifica´s next possession, the Mariners were forced to punt the ball away as the Valencia defense held strong with 2:20 to go in the third.
That´s when Godoy put the finishing touches on the victory. The 60-yard score was the senior´s longest carry of day. Godoy carried 23 times for 156 yards. Perez finished with 13 carries for 63 yards. While the Pacifica offense struggled on the night, coach Marcello Giuliano said that his defense did what it was supposed to do. It held Pacifica to just 10 yards total rushing yards for the game.
The Mariners loss also marked the last game that famed Pacifica fan "Peter Pacifica" would be able to attend. Peter supported the Mariners through 507 games.