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Valencia High School
Valencia High School

Life is greener in Hawaii - Valencia's Hansen thought he was unwanted, then a Warriors coach called.

By DAN ALBANO
The Orange County Register

Austin Hansen entered the valley of his recruiting odyssey in early January.

The Valencia offensive lineman was so discouraged about his chances of securing a Division I-A scholarship that he checked out a few local community colleges and told his parents his recruiting efforts had been in vain. "I told them it wasn't going to shake out," Hansen recalled. But at the constant urging of his father, Jon, Hansen stayed in the recruiting game. He kept e-mailing, calling and following up leads. And by mid-January, about three weeks before national signing day, one of his recruiting lines from late December finally got a strong tug.

Hawaii assistant coach Wes Suan had seen some of Hansen's game tapes and wanted the 6-foot-4, 285-pound senior to visit the university. With signing day approaching fast, Hansen made the visit the last weekend of January. The Warriors didn't offer Hansen a scholarship on the trip but a few days later they did. Hansen committed last Wednesday. Two days from now, he will be one of an estimated 30 Division I-A football recruits from Orange County who will sign national letters of intent. "It's a blessing," Hansen said. "I'm really, really happy to be a Warrior."

Before Hawaii's interest, Hansen experienced his share of frustration with the recruiting process. He received interest from San Diego State and Colorado State as a junior. San Diego State showed even more interest this past fall. Hansen said he received regular phone calls from the Aztecs and tickets to some of their home games. A scholarship offer, however, never arrived. Because of his 3.2 grade-point average and impressive 1960 SAT score, Stanford seemed like a possibility in mid-December, but that didn't materialize either.

Hansen sought out Hawaii after hearing positive reviews from workout buddy Bryce Runge, a former Hawaii long snapper who attended Valencia. Hansen e-mailed Suan in late December with a highlight video that showcased his aggressive blocking style and ability to stay on his defender. From there, Hansen was on his way out of his recruiting valley, though he didn't know it at the time. In the end, he credits his father for encouraging him to keep trying. "He definitely believed in me" Hansen said. "(And) I think he wanted to save money on college)." Here's Hansen's Recruiting Video

Hawks bounce Tigers 19-17

By CHRIS TOBOLSKI
The Orange County Register

PLACENTIA - Valencia found that climbing up Hills is nothing like a walk on the Beach. The Tigers fell short against Laguna Hills, 19-17, in the CIF-SS Southern Division quarterfinals Friday night at Valencia High. That came after their first-round victory last week, 55-0, over Laguna Beach. The Hawks were eliminated last season in the playoffs by Valencia. "It was exactly what we thought it would be," Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said. "We knew it was a tough task and a huge challenge."

The Tigers, who trailed 19-7 in the second quarter, cut their deficit to 19-17 on a Wes Fletcher 1-yard scoring run in the third. Then in the final quarter, Valencia took over at its own 20 with 5:43 left. However, the drive ended when the Hawks' Eddie Hernandez broke up a fourth-down pass attempt with less than two minutes remaining and the Hawks ran the clock out from there. "The team played as hard as they could," Tigers coach Mike Marrujo said. "We hung in there and kept battling."

Valencia struck first on its opening drive. Fletcher ran 67 yards on the first play and then punched it in from 2 yards three plays later. "With the exception of the first play, I thought we did well with (Fletcher)," Ingalls said. The Hawks countered on their first drive with a Chris Giovinazzo 6-yard run, tying it at 7. Later in the first, Valencia pinned the Hawks at their own 1-yard line. But on third down, the Hawks delivered the biggest play of both the game and their season.

Quarterback Ryan Wertenberger connected with Giovinazzo 99 yards down the left sideline, and the Hawks never trailed again. The Tigers blitzed on the play, leaving single coverage on Giovinazzo on the outside. "When you have a quarterback with a live arm, that can happen," Ingalls said. "It easily changed the game." Wertenberger hooked up with Cameron Hall on a 30-yard touchdown pass for the Hawks' final score. The Hawks play the winner of tonight's Kennedy-Savanna match up next week.

Laguna Hills 13 6 0 0 - 19
Valencia 7 3 7 0 - 17

Val - Fletcher 2 run (Russell kick)
LaHi - Giovinazzo 6 run (Sargent kick)
LaHi - Giovinazzo 99 pass from Wertenberger (kick blocked)
LaHi - Hall 30 pass from Wertenberger (run failed)
Val - Russell 31 FG
Val - Fletcher 1 run (Russell kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- LaHi, Giovinazzo 14-84, Antone 2-9; Val, Fletcher 28-171, Schmidt 6-29
Passing- LaHi, Wertenberger 8-22-0-221; Val, Beckman 15-26-1-97
Receiving- LaHi, Giovinazzo 3-145, Hall 2-36; Val, Russell 5-47, Zamora 5-31
Records:LaHi 3-0, 9-1; Val 3-2, 7-5
 

Fletcher, Valencia run over Laguna Beach 55-0

By CURTIS ZUPKE
The Orange County Register

LAGUNA BEACH - Wes Fletcher ran for 270 yards and three touchdowns as Valencia defeated Laguna Beach, 55-0, in a CIF-SS Southern Division first-round game Friday night at foggy Laguna Beach High. Fletcher, the county's fifth- leading rusher, had 260 yards in the first half and surpassed 1,800 yards for the season. He opened the scoring with an 81-yard run on the second play of Valencia's first drive and added touchdown runs of 27 and 37 yards. His performance followed a six touchdown, 282-yard performance against Katella in the regular-season finale.

The Tigers (7-4) pitched their third shutout of the season and have allowed 6.4 points a game over the past seven games. Valencia will play Laguna Hills next week. "It was a real good way to start the playoffs," Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. "I was pleased. They did a good job."

Valencia got outstanding play on special teams. Dan Stikeleather turned a busted play into an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, and Kelii Jackson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards to make it 42-0. Charley Bowman completed 10 of 19 passes for 125 yards for the Breakers (5-6), who were trying to advance past the first round for the first time since 1987.

Valencia 14 21 13 7 - 55
Laguna Beach 0 0 0 0 - 0

Val - Fletcher 81 run (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 27 run (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 37 run (Russell kick)
Val - Russell 34 pass from Beckman (Russell kick)
Val - Stikeleather 82 punt return (Russell kick)
Val - Jackson 95 kickoff return (Russell kick)
Val - Howell 3 run (Russell kick failed)
Val - Howell 5 run (Russell kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- LB, Bowman 9-4, Hands 4-13; Val, Howell 9-44, Fletcher 19-270
Passing- LB; Val, Beckman 3-6-0-55
Receiving- LB, Thomas 6-72, Smith 2-15; Val, Russell 3-55
Records:Val 3-2, 7-4; LB 3-0, 5-6

Valencia, Fletcher Roll 58-13

By CHRISTEN D'ALESSANDRO
Special to the Register

ANAHEIM - Wes Fletcher led Valencia to a 58-13 Empire League victory over Katella with six touchdowns and 257 rushing yards in 26 carries in just the first half at Glover Stadium. "We played one of our best games of the year," Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said, "and our offensive line blocked really well to allow Fletcher to have a great game." Valencia (6-4, 3-2) got off to a strong start with Fletcher's 51-yard touchdown run in the first 10 seconds of the game.

Katella (3-7, 1-4) responded when quarterback Vincent Peraza hooked up with Moylon Criddle on a 33-yard touchdown a minute and a half later. But then Valencia took control, outscoring Katella, 37-6, en route to a 44-13 halftime lead. Valencia quarterback Marcus Beckman threw for 102 yards with seven completions. Wide receiver D.J. Russell had four receptions for 75 yards.

Valencia 22 22 7 7 - 58
Katella 7 6 0 0 - 13

Val - Fletcher 51 run (Russell kick)
Kat - Criddle 33 pass from Peraza (Blanke kick)
Val - Fletcher 35 run (Fletcher run)
Val - Fletcher 1 run (Russell kick)
Kat - Blanke 77 pass from Peraza (kick blocked)
Val - Fletcher 4 run (Russell pass from Beckman)
Val - Fletcher 1 run (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 2 run (Russell kick)
Val - Howell 14 run (Russell kick)
Val - Gomez 1 run (Russell kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- Kat, Sanchez 10-48, Peraza 7-4, Ramirez 3-4; Val, Alverez 2-38, Fletcher 29-282
Passing- Kat, Peraza 9-21-0-170; Val, Beckman 7-10-0-102
Receiving- Kat, Blanke 2-87, Criddle 1-33; Val, Russell 4-75, Zamora 2-21
Records:Val 3-2, 6-4; Kat 1-4, 3-7
 

Defense key for Centurions 10-6

Defense key for Centurions 6-10

By LOU PONSI
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - Cypress made stops in key situations in the first half and never allowed Valencia to get into scoring territory in the second half en route to a 10-6 Empire League victory over the Tigers on Friday night at Western High.

The Centurions (7-2, 2-2), who have not played in the postseason since 2000, could make the playoffs with a victory over Loara on Thursday. A key sequence came late in the first quarter when Cypress stopped the Tigers (5-4, 2-2) on a fourth-and-7 from Centurions' 24. Valencia got the ball right back in Centurion territory again on an interception by Chad Bullerdick.

The Centurions' defense stepped up a second time, again stopping the Tigers on a fourth-and-8 from the 24. Anthony Jackson's acrobatic one-handed catch and sprint down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown gave the Centurions a 7-0 second-quarter lead. Wes Fletcher brought the Tigers (5-4, 2-2) right back with a 75-yard touchdown run on the ensuing possession. Cypress' Josh Davidson blocked a 34-yard field-goal attempt late in the first half.

Valencia 0 6 0 0 - 6
Cypress 0 7 0 3 - 10

Cyp - Jackson 75 pass from Vanderipe (Saumur kick)
Val - Fletcher 75 run (kick failed)
Cyp - Saumur 34 FG

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- Cyp, Rivera 9-18, Perez 12-30; Val, Fletcher 21-138, Schmidt 2-3
Passing- Cyp, Vanderipe 5-16-1-124; Val, Beckman 9-22-0-123
Receiving- Cyp, Jackson 2-96, Davidson 2-26; Val, Schmidt 1-26, Russell 5-69
Records:Val 2-2, 5-4; Cyp 2-2, 7-2

Shaver return helps Valencia 42-0

By LOU PONSI
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - Blake Shaver's 103-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted Valencia's 42-0 Empire League victory over Loara on Thursday at Glover Stadium. Wes Fletcher rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns, and Marcus Beckman completed 9 of 12 passes for 120 yards and a score to lead the Tigers (4-3, 1-1).

Fletcher carried eight times for 75 yards on a 10-play, 82-yard first-quarter drive that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead. The junior capped that drive with a 1-yard touchdown, and added scoring runs of 4 and 2 yards. With the Tigers leading, 28-0, in the third quarter, the Saxons (0-7, 0-2) had a second-and-14 on the Valencia 17.

Shaver picked off James McNamara's pass 3 yards deep in the end zone and raced down the left sideline for the score. He outran several defenders who seemed to have an angle on him. Loara was held to minus-30 yards rushing and 46 yards of total offense for the game.

Valencia 7 14 7 14 - 42
Loara 0 0 0 0 - 0

Val - Fletcher 1 run (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 4 run (Russell kick)
Val - Russell 7 pass from Beckman (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 2 run (Russell kick)
Val - Shaver 103 interception return (Russell kick)
Val - Pina 2 run (Russell kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- Loa, Bautista 6-2, Orozco 4-1; Val, Cox 7-31, Fletcher 23-147
Passing- Loa, McNamara 9-29-1-80; Val, Pina 1-2-0-17, Beckman 9-12-0-120
Receiving- Loa, Orozco 4-29, Smoot 2-26; Val, Russell 3-39, Zamora 3-50
Records:Val 1-1, 4-3; Loa 0-2, 0-7

Kennedy rolls past Valencia 16-6

By STEVE FRYER
Photo by  ERIC WOLFE
The Orange County Register

PLACENTIA - Kennedy running back Ed Pleasant only had 23 rushing yards at halftime. "We needed to find him some plays that worked," Kennedy coach Mitch Olson said. They found them. Pleasant rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown in the second half, and Kennedy's defense shut out Valencia for three quarters Friday for a 16-6 victory in an Empire League game at Valencia High. It was the league opener for the teams picked by league coaches to be the top contenders for the league championship. "It's a very big win," Pleasant said. "We're the top two teams in the league. But I'm not saying we've already won the league championship, because we've got a long ways to go."

A team that has emerged as a league contender is Cypress, which beat Katella on Friday in another Empire League opener. Cypress is 6-0 overall, and plays Kennedy in two weeks. Kennedy had lost three in a row, by a total of seven points, going into the game. The Fighting Irish are 3-3 overall, 1-0 in league. Valencia is 3-3 and 0-1. Valencia took the opening kickoff and drove 78 yards on 15 plays to score. The drive took more than eight minutes, with Wes Fletcher carrying a 2-yard touchdown run. The kick for the extra point missed, leaving Valencia with a 6-0 lead with 3:36 to go in the quarter.

Penalties and a turnover - Valencia's D.J. Russell made an interception - conspired to keep Kennedy scoreless until the final moments of the half. With 1.9 seconds remaining, Kennedy quarterback Erick Okula connected with receiver Steve Salazar in the right back corner of the end zone. The Fighting Irish extra-point kick failed, too, leaving the score at 6-6 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Kennedy took the lead on an 8-yard touchdown run by Pleasant, who had a 36-yard carry on that scoring drive. Seth Guardado's kick for the extra point gave the Irish a 13-6 advantage. Guardado added a 31-yard field goal with 4:25 to go to make it 16-6.

Kennedy's defense held Valencia to 78 yards of offense in the second half. Among the Irish defensive stars was junior linebacker Ryan See, who had three sacks, including two in the fourth quarter. "That was his best game," Olson said. "The whole team hung in there and played tough." Pleasant said it was, in some ways, a typical game for Kennedy. "We're a second-half team," he said. "Our linemen really picked it up in the second half." Fletcher rushed for 110 yards on 24 carries, for an average of 4.6 a carry. He was averaging 149 yards a game and 7.5 a carry going into the game. Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said Fletcher had been nursing a sprained ankle.

Fletcher had 17 carries for 62 yards in the first half, and seven for 48 in the second. Kennedy quarterback Erick Okula was 12 for 22 for 122 yards. Both teams had byes last week. Next week, Kennedy will play Katella on Friday at Western High. Valencia will play Loara on Thursday at Glover Stadium.

Kennedy 0 6 0 10 - 16
Valencia 6 0 0 0 - 6

Val - Fletcher 2 run (Russell kick failed)
Ken - Salazar 16 pass from Okula (Guardado kick failed)
Ken - Pleasant 8 run (Guardado kick)
Ken - Guardado 31 FG

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- Ken, Pleasant 22-185, Smith 5-19; Val, Fletcher 24-110, Schmidt 2-14
Passing- Ken, Okula 12-22-1-122; Val, Beckman 9-20-0-94
Receiving- Ken, Smith 4-43, Norton 3-27; Val, Schmidt 2-18, Russell 5-66
Records:Ken 1-0, 3-3; Val 0-1, 3-3

Valencia runs over Sonora in a shutout 26-0

By RYAN STAAB
Special To The Register

PLACENTIA - Running back Jeremiah Rodriguez rushed for 193 yards and two second-half touchdowns as the Valencia Tigers defeated the Sonora Raiders, 26-0, at Valencia High on Thursday night. Valencia improved to 3-2. Sonora is 1-3. "The offensive linemen really helped tonight." Rodriguez said. "Their blocks enabled me to make some big plays." Valencia dominated possession in the first quarter for nearly seven minutes, effectively rushing the ball deep into Raiders territory. Running back Wes Fletcher scored the Tigers' first touchdown on a 1-yard run with 1:20 left in the first quarter.

Tigers wide receiver Julius Macharia's lone reception was a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marcus Beckman early in the second quarter. Sonora's Kris Fierro passed for 109 yards. Valencia has a bye next week. The Tigers will face Empire League rival Kennedy at home on Oct. 13.

Sonora 0 0 0 0 - 0
Valencia 6 6 7 7 - 26

Val - Fletcher 1 run (kick failed)
Val - Macharia 34 pass from Beckman (pass failed)
Val - Rodriguez 16 run (Macharia kick)
Val - Rodriguez 8 run (Macharia kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing- Son, Rooks 11-8, Porter 1-18, Fierro 2-11; Val, Rodriguez 21-193, Fletcher 10-50
Passing- Son, Fierro 6-15-0-109; Val, Beckman 8-13-1-94
Receiving- Son, Cervantes 2-71; Val, Russell 4-35, Macharia 1-34
Records:Son 0-0, 1-3; Val 0-0, 3-2

Golden Hawks shut out crosstown rival 38-0

By LOU PONSI
The Orange County Register

PLACENTIA - The El Dorado High football team suffered its share of heartbreaking defeats during the 2005 season, including a down-to-the-wire loss to crosstown rival Valencia. The way the Golden Hawks played Friday, there was no chance of that happening again.
El Dorado executed its game plan to near perfection from its first drive and went on to a 38-0 nonleague victory over the Tigers at Valencia High.

The Golden Hawks (3-1) take the Championship Bell trophy back from Valencia (2-2), where it had been for the past three years. "I think the kids were excited about the rivalry," El Dorado coach Jeff Bailey said. "I knew that if we played well, we'd have a chance of winning." El Dorado quarterback Michael Coulter completed 10 of 17 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns, all to Matt Cardenas.

Coulter hit Cardenas with a 22-yard scoring pass on El Dorado's first drive of the game. Coulter and Cardenas later connected on touchdowns of 9 and 32 yards. "The whole team felt good and we were confident going in," said Coulter, who missed his junior season because of surgery on both knees. "It's just awesome. It's just a blessing to be able to play. Valencia was never able to settle into a rhythm offensively, partly because running back Wes Fletcher, who was averaging 178.9 yards going into the game, was held to 40. Fletcher carried the ball only once in the second half before being taken out of the game.

Three Valencia drives were also thwarted by interceptions. Justin Ditolla, Kyle Allen and Cameron Davilla had picks for El Dorado. After Coulter's first two touchdown passes, Clay Leyton scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a 2-yard touchdown giving the Golden Hawks a 21-0 lead. With 8:30 remaining in the second quarter, Valencia put together a nice drive and had a chance to get back in the game before the half. The Tigers drove from their 23 to the El Dorado 12 and faced a third-and-9 when quarterback Marcus Beckman was sacked by Anthony Laurenzi for a 6-yard loss. Beckman threw an incompletion on fourth down. Valencia managed only four first downs in the second half, and drove inside Golden Hawks territory only once. The Tigers play host to Sonora on Thursday and the Golden Hawks play Sunny Hills at Buena Park High on Friday.

El Dorado 7 14 17 0 - 38
Valencia 0 0 0 0 - 0

ED - Cardenas 22 pass from Coulter (Hilgenberg kick)
ED - Cardenas 9 pass from Coulter (Hilgenberg kick)
ED - Leyton 2 fumble return (Hilgenberg kick)
ED - Hilgenberg 30 FG
ED - Cardenas 32 pass from Coulter (Hilgenberg kick)
ED - Adams 27 run (Hilgenberg kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing - ED, Adams 5-34, Van Holland 12-41; Val, Fletcher 15-40, Howell 10-45
Passing- ED, Coulter 10-17-0-130, Wilson 1-1-0-2; Val, Beckman 8-18-3-71, Pina 1-3-0-9
Receiving- ED, Cardenas 6-89, Gartner 1-17; Val, Zamora 4-41, von Zabern 2-15
Records:ED 0-0, 3-1; Val 0-0, 2-2

Valencia bounces back 28-20

By DAN ALBANO
Photo by MARK AVERY
The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM - Wes Fletcher ran for 212 yards and Valencia's defense made two key stops in the second half to lead the Tigers to a 28-20 victory against host Western in a duel between Southern Division heavyweights Thursday night. Tight end Andrew Zamora grabbed a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Marcus Beckman with 3:35 left in the fourth quarter as Valencia (2-1) took a 28-20 lead. Defensive back D.J. Russell then sealed the victory with an interception near his 40-yard line about a minute later.

Valencia forced three turnovers - leading to eight points - in defeating Western (1-1), the top-ranked team in the Southern Division. The Tigers' defense earlier held on a fourth-and-5 from their 25 with 29 seconds left in the third quarter. It was a strikingly improved defensive performance from No.4 Valencia compared to last week's 36-18 loss to Villa Park. In that game, the Spartans racked up 432 yards rushing.

Western's double-wing offense produced 300 total yards rushing Thursday. "The defense stepped up," Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. "They (Western) have some quick guys." Defensive tackle Mark Luna added three tackles for losses in his first action on the line after playing linebacker in the Tigers' first two games. Defensive back Kelli Jackson intercepted a pass at his 4 with 30 seconds left in the first half and also recovered a fumble.

Fletcher scored three touchdowns and was strong from start to finish. He recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Tigers' first score but then carried the ball eight times for 65 yards on Valencia's final TDdrive. "He kept getting stronger," Western coach Toby Howell said of Fletcher. "We had our chances. They probably wore us down a little in the end." Fletcher, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior, kept running hard despite some hard collisions with Western defensive tackle Andrew Iupati (6-2, 280).

Valencia 7 8 6 7 - 28
Western 7 0 7 6 - 20

Wes - Bodiford 1 run (Celis kick)
Val - Fletcher fumble recovery in end zone (Russell kick)
Val - Fletcher 7 run (Fletcher run)
Val - Fletcher 6 run (Russell kick)
Wes - Bodiford 1 run (Celis kick)
Wes - Carr 2 run (kick failed)
Val - Zamora 3 pass from Beckman (Russell kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Rushing- Val, Fletcher 29-212, Schmidt 3-6; Wes, Bodiford 16-118, Gonzalez 12-55
Passing- Val, Beckman 8-11-0-111; Wes, Bodiford 2-6-2-24
Receiving- Val, Zamora 3-39, Russell 2-32 Wes, Gonzalez 1-13, Griffin 1-11
Records:Val 0-0, 2-1; Wes 0-0, 1-1

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Empire League 2017-18

Schools

0Empire0

0Overall0

Cypress 3-2-0 7-3-0
Kennedy 0-5-0 2-8-0
Pacifica 4-1-0 9-1-0
Tustin 3-2-0 8-2-0
Valencia 4-1-0 6-4-0
Western 1-4-0 4-6-0

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