By ANTONIO MORALES
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
PLACENTIA > Valencia considered it crucial to get out of the gate fast against Pacifica on Thursday night. The Tigers didn´t exactly dominate the first half, but they took a touchdown lead into the break and turned it into a 40-14 victory against the Mariners in an Empire League matchup at Valencia.
Valencia wanted to start strong after falling behind by 20 points last week against Yorba Linda and eventually losing by seven. "They came out and ran a new defense they hadn´t run, and they had us going," Tigers coach Mike Marrujo said of the Mariners. Once we figured it out, we were OK, but they made it awful tough on us."
Marrujo estimated his team ran about three plays in the second half, and most of them were power-running plays that Pacifica 2-6, 1-3) couldn´t seem to stop. Tom Torres was the benefactor of the adjustments. After rushing for just 26 yards on eight carries in the first half, Torres exploded for 102 in the second half. His second touchdown, a -yard scoring run, put Valencia (6-2, 3-1) ahead by 19 with 4:16 left in the third.
Nick Howard and Pacifica´s offense threatened to make a game of it once it reached the Tigers´ 15 on the next possession, but Trent Salcedo stepped in front of a Howard pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.
Patrick Godoy had a strong performance for Valencia, completing 9 of 12 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jake Watkins, while also rushing for a score.