By JOHN W. SCAFETTA
FOR THE REGISTER
TUSTIN > With a new face manning the Tustin sideline, Valencia coach Mike Marrujo´s goal was simple when it came to showcasing his spread offense Friday night. Wear down the defensive front and run the ball relentlessly.
Powered by a trio of resourceful running threats, the Tigers did just that. Senior running back Tom Torres had 17 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown as Valencia defeated host Tustin, 21-0, in the opening of Empire League play. "I knew Tustin would play much better and they did," Marrujo said. "The coaches really got those kids turned around in just a week. We ran our basic plays tonight and the kids just executed."
The Tigers´ racked up 301 yards as quarterback Patrick Godoy capped Valencia´s run-heavy, 13-play, first drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to tight end Nick Coghill at the 4:46 mark of the first quarter.
The Tigers (4-1, 1-0) completed two fourth-down conversions in the drive and took more than six minutes off the clock. Tustin (0-5, 0-1), playing its first game under Coach Winter Welz, had only 78 yards. Welz took over for first year coach Greg Gano, who resigned last week.
With only three days to prepare his team, the Tillers forced three turnovers on defense and held Valencia to just 187 first-half yards. But ultimately, the Tigers´ meticulous offense wore down Tustin´s strongwilled defense.
Staked to a 7-0 halftime lead, Valencia owned the play clock for much of the second half. Torres scored on a 30-yard run to make it 14-0 in the third quarter.