BY PATRICK KINMARTIN
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC REGISTER
PLACENTIA ♦ Now a lot more people know Valencia reacts well when situations get zany.
The overflow crowd was loud at the Tigers' home stadium for Friday night's inner-city faceoff against El Dorado and halfway through they lost starting quarterback Tyler Switzer. Never, though, did Valencia look nervous.
The 44th annual “Battle for the Bell" was a strong 31-13 victory for the Tigers, who were arguably too comfortable amid the craziness at times. They committed four personal-foul penalties on high-energy plays in the first half to help the resilient Golden Hawks keep the game close for three quarters.
“As hard as we can, that's the way we like to play,” said Valencia linebacker Cody Gores, who contributed to three sacks in the win. “We like to come out as aggressive as possible.”
A solid example is the way the Tigers (3-0) ran the ball. Will Van Dam had 152 yards on 24 carries, often running behind rowdy tight end Nick Coghill and getting blocks upfield from receiver Jake Watkins. “You could see our style tonight,” Gores said. “It was on display on the field and in the final score also.”
Switzer's fancy-footed running contributed 57 more yards on nine carries, though his night ended with an injury in the third quarter. Valencia's medical staff iced Switzer's knee during the fourth quarter. His backup, senior Patrick Godoy, completed the Tigers' only two touchdown passes. The second was an impressive 38-yard throw to Watkins in the end zone that put Valencia ahead 31-7.
El Dorado (0-3) had to endure through the same problem. Quarterback Dominick Martinez had to be helped off the field twice, yet returned after both episodes and finished with 188 total yards. “Everything was hurting,” Martinez said. “But I had to get back out there in a game that means as much as this one.”
Valencia, which has won the past three meetings between the rivals, scored on its first three possessions before its groove began to stall. The Tigers' next score didn't come until Godoy connected with Watkins for a 15-yard scoring pass with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter.