By Dan Arritt Correspondent OC Register
MISSION VIEJO >> Capistrano Valley started the season right against Valencia for the second consecutive year, surging to a sizable early lead before cruising to a 38-7 victory Friday night at Capistrano Valley High.
Capistrano Valley junior quarterback Nathan Manning threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half and finished 24 of 38 for 301 yards and one interception.
The Cougars beat Valencia, 34-0, in the season opener last year and went on to finish 12-2 and advance to the CIF-SS Division 5 final, where they lost to Calabasas, 35-14, in their first final since 1990.
Manning threw for eight touchdowns with no interceptions last season in a back-up role, and was also third on the team in receiving. “It’s not his first time under the lights, but you know it’s the first time starting a game at quarterback,” Capistrano Valley coach Ernie Bucher said. “He threw the ball real well.”
Manning completed 18 of 26 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as the Cougars built a 31-0 advantage.
He was 5 of 5 on the opening drive for 78 yards, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass to Michael Dyer, who broke a pair of tackles en route to the end zone.
Zach Ritner, who had 18 sacks for Capistrano Valley last season, ended Valencia’s opening drive
with a fourth-down sack.
James Giles and Justin Burk had firsthalf interceptions for the Cougars. “The defense played well,” Bucher said. “Really controlled the line of scrimmage and took away their ability to run the ball for big yardage.” Jake Meyer out-jumped a Valencia defender to secure a 46-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0.
Matt Blethen caught a 4-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter to make it 21-0.
Ben Selecky added a 34-yard field goal before Gianni Munoz followed Burk’s interception with a 6-yard TD catch.