By ADAM MAYA
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Anaheim - Valencia quarterback Pat Godoy took the handoff, lowered his shoulder and crashed into his center at the 4-yard line, ramming his way into the end zone. There´s nothing fancy or mysterious about the Tigers offense. No trick plays or even misdirection. It´s just straight-down-your-throat bully ball.
Valencia claimed second place in the Empire League, separating itself from Thursday´s opponent, Cypress, with a 41-3 win at Western High.
The victory clinched another playoff berth for the Tigers during the storied tenure of Coach Mike Marrujo, whose teams have missed the postseason just twice since he took over in 1981.
Valencia beat up Cypress the Marrujo way, running 50 times for 354 yards.
"At halftime we talked about it, we´re not going to fool around," Marrujo said. "We´re just going to keep running the football."
The Tigers were relentless, gaining at least 5 yards on 30 of their carries. Tom Torres ran for 120 yards and Will Van Dam had 130, with both scoring a touchdown. Godoy threw 10 times and completed six passes, including a 61-yard touchdown to Jake Watkins.
The first of Godoy´s three touchdown runs came late in the second quarter, giving Valencia a 20-3 lead at halftime. The junior quarterback rushed a team-high 18 times for 92 yards. "He really complements our running backs," Marrujo said. No. 21 Valencia (7-2, 4-1) was just as dominant on the other side of the ball. Defensive end Mike Sota had two sacks and defensive end Cody Gores had an interception and safety.
After Cypress (6-3, 3-2) drove down and kicked a field goal on the game´s opening possession, the Centurions managed just four more first downs, including only one in the second half. "Our offensive line won the game for us, them and the defensive line," Marrujo said. "This is one of the better games we´ve played this season."