By DAN ALBANO OCRegister
Quarterback Tyler Switzer threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Valencia’s defense fashioned a shutout in the second half to power the Tigers to a 24-13 victory at Tustin, clinching at least a share of a second consecutive Empire League crown. The Tigers remained perfectly balanced by their standards: 9-0, 4-0. “I think it’s special,” said Switzer, who has 25 TD passes. “I really feel we have a bond. We’re getting better each and every week. Hope to make it far in the playoffs.”
Valencia and its 35th-season coach certainly have the makings of a contender in the Southwest Division after handing Tustin (7-2, 3-1) its first league loss. Tustin is also headed to the CIF playoffs. Marrujo sparked Valencia with an aggressive play call on the game’s opening series. The Tigers capped a 14-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown plunge by Switzer on fourth-and-goal. The Tigers never looked back.
One of Switzer’s own calls paid off in the fourth. He called an audible for a streak route and tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chachmoni Ben-Yisrael as the Tigers opened a 24-13 lead with 10:01 left.
Tustin stayed close thanks to a 41-yard touchdown reception by Jonathan Di Maio on a pass from Sagel Simon and two field goals by Anthony Garduno. including a 38-yarder with one second left in the first half that cut Valencia’s lead to 17-13.