BY MATTHEW HANLON
STAFF WRITER OC REGISTER
PLACENTIA ♦ The 2013 contest between Yorba Linda and Valencia – one that would ultimately decide the Empire League champion – was all Mustangs.
The 2014 rematch was a different story. The Tigers defense kept Yorba Linda’s offense to a distant murmur as they handed the now-Crestview League Mustangs a 28-3 nonleague loss at Valencia High on Friday.
Valencia (1-0) clung to a 7-3 lead at halftime but sped its offense up considerably in the third quarter. An 11-play drive that culminated in a 10-yard Pat Godoy pass to Chachmoni Ben-yisrael spearheaded the Tigers’ strong second half performance.
“I thought early on – offensively especially – we were all over the place, shooting ourselves in the foot,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “Defense fortunately kept us in the game with the three takeaways in the first half. And then we found our stride in the second half.”
Godoy tacked on touchdown runs in the third and fourth quarters to seal the victory. He finished with three touchdowns and 35-yards rushing. Will Van Dam rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries.
Yorba Linda (0-1) entered the contest already plagued by summer injuries that left three starters sitting on the bench – Ryan Faithe, Chandler Scharr and featured receiver Carter Kimberly. Mustangs running back Jimmy Gillis had nine carries and 20 yards before getting injured during the game as well, Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey said.
“Obviously we even had some more injuries during the game and the kids that were there were battling their butts off,” said Bailey. “That’s a good team. They’re a CIF-caliber team and I got to (take) my hat off to them, they pounded us and they did what they were supposed to do.” The Mustangs led at the end of the first quarter, 3-0, on 27-yard field goal by Max Miller. Valencia stole that lead a quarter later. An interception by Jacob Briggs brought the Tigers to the 22-yard line, paving the way to Godoy’s touchdown – a 1-yard run early in the second quarter – that gave the Tigers their 7-3 lead. Yorba Linda plays host to Orange Lutheran next week. Valencia faces Brea Olinda.