By TIM TUTTLE
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Mason Winter rushed for 135 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns and Yorba Linda’s defense held Valencia scoreless for the final 30 minutes in a 14-13 nonleague victory Friday night on the Tigers’ field. Winter’s 13-yard scoring run with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter andCole Magliano’s conversion kick put the Mustangs on top, 7-6.
Valencia responded with a 71-yard, 12-play march on its next possession to regain the lead, 13-7, on Zachary Charles’ 1-yard quarterback sneak andMarvin Burgos’ PAT with 6:09 left in the first half. Yorba Linda took the ensuing kickoff and went 72 yard on 11 plays, with the 5-foot-8, 195-pound Winter thundering into the end zone from the 3. Magliano’s kick for a 14-13 lead with 1:46 left in the first half was the game’s decisive point.
Valneica’s Jahquon Speed rushed for 109 yards on 21 carries and had a 9-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. But Speed had only 13 yards on seven carries in the second half. It was the opening game of the season for Yorba Linda (1-0) and the second for Valencia (0-2).
“I thought our kids settled down and got better as the game went on,” Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey said. “Valencia is a good football team with some physical kids and they’ll get better. It didn’t help them that Speed banged up his ankle a bit in the second half. “Winter is a tough kid running inside and we blocked pretty well.”
Luke Wilson, a 5-foot-10, 140-pound junior, made his first start at quarterback for the Mustangs and completed 8 of 12 passes for 88 yards. He also didn’t have a turnover. Valencia played without quarterback Eric Terrones, the opening game starter who was knocked out of last week’s 34-0 loss to Capo Valley on a second-quarter sack that injured his shoulder. The senior is out indefinitely.
Charles replaced Terrones against Capo Valley and was the starter against Yorba Linda. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior showed promise, completing 8 of 18 for 70 yards and running for 39 yards on eight carries. Valencia’s snap on its first PAT hit the ground in front of holder Joshua Carrera, who grabbed it and was tackled.
Jack Benson, an 11-year-old cancer survivor, will lead the Valencia High School football team onto the field tonight as its honorary captain to raise awareness for childhood cancer. Three years ago, Jack was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer common in children.
“Over the course of the next nine months, Jack would have 10 rounds of chemo, a surgery for a full knee and femur replacement followed with another 10 rounds of chemo before he would be declared cancer free,” said his mother, Shannon Benson of Yorba Linda.
Fifteen months later, a tumor was found in his lower left lung and multiple lymph nodes in his chest. Jack began eight rounds of debilitating chemotherapy and endured two surgeries. Jack is cancer free once again, but has to go in for a scan every three months. “You never leave the cancer world,” Benson said, “because you always have the fear of the cancer coming back.”
Jack will be recognized at the Tigers game against Yorba Linda High School in honor of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. “We will be giving Jack a jersey he can wear and keep with the No. 4 and his last name on it,” said Luis Garcia, an assistant varsity coach at Valencia High School. “When I asked him why he wanted that No. he simply replied, ‘More than four.’”
According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, only 4 percent of federal government cancer research funding goes to children. Jack wants to change that. “Four percent isn’t enough to get kids the better chemos so we don’t get so sick,” Jack said.
Organizers are encouraging the community to support childhood cancer research through Give A Buck, a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Information: g1veabuckfund.org.“We are hoping that it opens people’s minds and hearts in understanding that pediatric cancer research is highly derfunded,” Benson said. “We need to be protecting our kids. They are the ones who are going to be taking care of our world and we are not protecting them.”