By SCOTT FRENCH
CONTRIBUTING WRITER - OCRegister
FULLERTON * Josiah Norwood enjoyed a stirring return from injury Friday night, guiding Troy to touchdowns on its first four possessions – three of them on throws into the end zone for Chris Rahlwes – as the Warriors routed winless Valencia, 35-7, in a non-league game at Fullerton High.
Norwood, who missed the loss two weeks ago to Yorba Linda and got an extra week to heal with Troy off last weekend, completed 10 of 13 passes for 114 yards. He connected with Rahlwes on a 21-yard TD pass on the game's opening drive, a 15-yarder late in the first half and 10-yard score that gave the Warriors (3-1) a 28-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
Norwood's effectiveness throwing the ball out of the Warriors' double-wing attack enabled the running game, behind Cole Thomas (83 yards) and Skylar Taylor (55 yards), to keep Valencia's defense on its heels much of the night. Troy's defense was just as good, limiting the Tigers (0-5) to 44 yards rushing and 119 in all through the first three quarters.
“We had a lot of weapons tonight, and our backs ran really hard, and it was nice to see our quarterback, Josiah, get back in there and run the offense,” Troy coach Kevin Hastin said. “But our defense controlled the game. ... We definitely took a step in the tight direction.”
Michael O'Neill started the first two Warriors drives with long runs, for 20 and 19 yards, en route to 40 in all, and returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown with 6:49 to play, restoring the four-TD edge after Valencia ended the shutout on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Sam Lydic, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 144 yards and ran for 27 more, grinded the final yard for the Tigers’ touchdown after hitting Michael Carrasco with a screen pass for a a 43-yard gain to the 1. Troy drove 73, 60 and 77 yards for scores en route to a 21-0 halftime advantage, then drove 40 yards on their first possession of the second half.