By KENNY CONNOLLY STAFF WRITER OCRegister
PLACENTIA * These are the types of wins Kennedy coach Sean Clark hopes he can circle and look back on in a few years, pinpointing the noticeable growth from his program. Having not beaten Valencia in any of the past eight seasons, the Fighting Irish used senior quarterback Christian Rodriguez’s 289-yard, two touchdown performance to knock off the host Tigers, 24-14, in an Empire League game at Valencia High.
Kennedy (5-2, 2-0) has reeled off four consecutive wins, setting up a huge showdown with league favorite Tustin next Thursday for what should be sole possession of first place in the league standings. “It’s special,” Clark said of topping the Tigers. “Valencia has been the gold standard of the Empire League for a long time.”
The Fighting Irish took a 10-0 lead into halftime, scoring on a 36-yard screen pass from Rodriguez to Gabriel Solorzano on the first drive of the game, and a 33yard field goal from Rodriguez in the second quarter.
Quarterback Sam Lydic and Valencia (1-6, 1-1) finally got rolling in the third quarter. Lydic’s 5-yard keeper capped a 12-play, 70-yard drive to open the second half. His 72-yard scamper on the Tigers’ next series set up Jahquon Speed’s 9-yard TD run, putting Valencia up, 14-10.
But Kennedy scored the final 14 points of the evening in the fourth quarter. Ramirez hooked up with Solorzano for a 39-yard score. Alonza Pineda sealed the victory with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.