BY KENNY CONNOLLY
Photo by Blaine Ohigashi
OCVarsity preview for the 2015 season:
Coach: Mike Marrujo
Last season: 10-2 overall, 5-0 league
Scouting report: Tyler Switzer becomes the starter under center this fall, but the senior has experience playing in crunch time. As a sophomore, Switzer replaced an injured Pat Godoy during a playoff game and he did the same last year in a nonleague matchup with Brea Olinda. While he has shown he’s plenty capable of making all the throws, Valencia’s offense starts with the run, so having Darren Sandoval back in the fold is a bonus for longtime coach Mike Marrujo. A smashmouth offensive attack will again be complemented by a physical defense led by linebacker Jacob Briggs, who tallied a team-high 120 tackles in 2014. Sandoval, Chach Ben-Yisrael and Jackson Mirth give the Tigers three returners in the secondary. While the faces change, the product on the field remains consistent. Valencia doesn’t have the athletes Tustin boasts, but it’s the clear favorite to finish second in the Empire League.
Bottom line: Valencia will miss last season’s playmakers, but it heads back to the postseason by following a proven formula.
Players to watch: Chach Ben-Yisrael, WR/S, Sr.; Jacob Briggs, LB, Sr.; Mason Paine, WR/K, Sr.; Darren Sandoval, RB/S, Sr.; Tyler Switzer, QB, Sr.