DAVID DELGADO, Contributing writer OCRegister
GARDEN GROVE ● Good things come to those who wait.It took six weeks but Valencia finally got in the win column with a 28-14 triumph over Pacifica on Friday night in an Empire League game at Garden Grove High.
The Tigers (1-6, 1-0) were led by Jahquon Speed, who rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. The Valencia defense also came up big, forcing five turnovers, including three interceptions.
First-year coach Shawn Racobs earned his first victory after succeeding Mike Marrujo. The Mariners (3-3, 0-1) got off to a sloppy start as they fumbled on their first possession. Valencia’s Jose Soria recovered and the Tigers took over in Pacifica territory.
Speed made the Mariners pay for that turnover with a 10-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. At the end of the first quarter, the Pacifica offense started to get back on track as it went on an eight-play drive and tied the score early in the second quarter when Ben Jefferson hit Nate Deaton on a fourth-and-goal pass in the back of the end zone.
But it took just one play for Valencia to regain the lead as Speed took a handoff and raced up the field for a 68-yard TD run. The Tigers defense was able to corral the prolific rushing duo of Raul Balderas
and Jeffers, holding them to a combined 79 yards.
[ Valencia - Pacifica] Photo Gallery
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.
[ Valencia - Troy] Photo Gallery
DALE RUHE, Contributing writer - OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Bragging rights in the city were on the line Friday, and El Dorado came away doing the celebrating.
Jack Strouse threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the Golden Hawks past Valencia, 28-14, in a nonleague game at Valencia High. Strouse went 13 for 17 for 189 yards and two touchdown tosses to his favorite target, Connor Leech, who had eight catches for 142 yards. The second Strouse-to-Leech TD came with 5 seconds left in the half to give El Dorado (2-1) a 13-7 lead.
Valencia (0-4) had taken a brief 7-6 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the half on Eric Terrones’ 7-yard run. Strouse took El Dorado 73 yards on two plays in 22 seconds to take the lead for good. El Dorado’s first touchdown drive went a little bit longer, lasting 16 plays and just over five minutes.
The 76-yard march ended when Strouse found Leech open with a 5-yard scoring strike with just over eight minutes left in the opening period. The Tigers opened the second half with a drive to the El Dorado 30-yard line, but the Golden Hawks took over on downs and went 70 yards in six plays.
Strouse threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Robert Arroyo at the midway point of the third quarter. Valencia closed the gap on Michael Carrasco’s 9-yard run with 36 seconds left in the quarter. El Dorado called 11 consecutive plays on the ground before Strouse called his own number on a 9-yard TD run with 7:14 remaining in the game.Jahquon Speed led the Valencia offense with 105 rushing yards on 24 carries.
[ Valencia - El Dorado] Photo Gallery
BREA * Brea Olinda’s backfield of versatile Noah Rivera, tailback Michael Martinson and quarterback Dylan Flenniken showed plenty of speed and skill against Valencia, leading the Wildcats to a 33-21nonleague victory Friday night at Brea Olinda.
The 5-foot-7, 142-pound Rivera had touchdown runs of 16 and 49 yards and caught a 31-yard scoring pass from Flenniken. The 165-pound Martinson had 4- and 2-yard scoring runs and the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Flenniken was elusive while running and accurate while passing in gaining 277 yards in total offense.
Rivera gained 81 yards on six carries and caught five passes for 120 yards Martinson rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries. Flenniken completed 10 of 16 for 205 yards and ran nine times for 72. Brea (2-0) had 473 yards in total offense. It led 26-7 at halftime and extended it to 33-7 early in the third period.
Valencia (0-3) started Sam Lydic at quarterback for the first time this season. He’d been a wide receiver in the opening two games, but the loss of starter Eric Terrones in the season-opening loss to Capistrano Valley and the ineffectiveness of junior Zach Charles last week against Yorba Linda forced Coach Shaun Racobs, in his first season at Valencia, to switch to the senior Lydic.
The Tigers also played without star running back Jahquon Speed, who was out with an injury. Michael Carrasco, a 200-pound senior, replaced Speed admirably by rushing 19 times for 108 yards. Carrasco had a 27-yard touchdown run that tied the game, 7-7, in the first quarter.
Lydic completed 13 of 17 for 179 yards and ran 16 times for 35. He threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Jordan John in the third period. Nathan Perez scored Valencia’s final touchdown, a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter. Valencia showed resiliency, outscoring Brea 14-7 in the second half. Brea took the opening kickoff and drove 77 on 9 plays, with Rivera scoring on his 16-yard run.
Valencia scored on its first possession with Carrasco’s run, and Brea regained the momentum with a 67-yard, 8-play march capped by Rivera’s 31-yard touchdown reception from Flenniken. un, and Brea regained the momentum with a 67-yard, 8-play march capped by Rivera’s 31-yard touchdown reception from Flenniken.
[ Valencia - Brea-Olinda] Photo Gallery
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.
[ Valencia - Yorba Linda] Photo Gallery
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.”
PLACENTIA * Capistrano Valley crushed Valencia, 34-0, on the strength of Kevin Brown’s 249 yards passing and a physical defense that had seven sacks Friday in a nonleague season opener for both teams on the Tigers’ field.
Brown connected with sophomore Nathan Manning for touchdown passes of 2 and 25 yards and added a 5-yard scoring run. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior completed 15 of 27 attempts. Jude Michinock and Sam Vivolo each had 2-yard touchdown runs for the Cougars, who were 18th in the Register’s preseason rankings.
Valencia was held to 143 total yards, 94 passing and 49 rushing. The Tigers’ swift and strong Jahquon Speed was limited to 64 yards on 23 carries. Capistrano Valley sacked Valencia quarterbacks seven times for 32 yards in losses. The defeat ruined the first game for Valencia coach Shawn Racobs, who took over the program from longtime coach Mike Marrujo. Capistrano Valley also had big plays from its special teams.
Justin Buck’s 47-yard punt return to the Tigers’ 24 set up the Cougars’ first touchdown. Brown completed passes to Manning for 9 yards and Michincock for 13 to move to the 2. After a 3-yard loss, Brown ran 5 yards for the score with 52.4 seconds left in the first quarter. Capistrano Valley’s Michael Dyer returned a punt 30 yards to the Valencia 12 to set up a 3-play drive for a touchdown. Brown hit Manning from the 2 for the score with 8:46 left in the second quarter.
Valencia had one drive deep into the Cougars’ territory. Kion Lathan returned a kickoff 47 yards to the Capistrano Valley 45. On third-and-15, Terrones hit Sam Lydic for a 36-yard gain to the 14. Speed gained 2 yards on first down, but Capistrano Valley recorded three consecutive sacks to end the threat.
[ Valencia - Capo Valley] Photo Gallery
By DAMIAN CALHOUN - OCRegister STAFF WRITER
OCVarsity’s season preview for 2016:
Coach: Shawn Racobs
Last season: 11-1 overall, 5-0 league
Scouting report: The new era of the Valencia program is underway, as Shawn Racobs replaces longtime coach Mike Marrujo, who retired after 35 years. Racobs was the team’s defensive coordinator under Marrujo. The Tigers have six starters returning on offense and five on defense, with a solid core of all-league players back. On offense, the Tigers have two players in the mix to be the starting quarterback, Eric Terrones and Zach Charles. At running back, the Tigers will have Jahquon Speed (907 rushing yards, eight touchdowns). Speed earned first team all-league honors last season. The Tigers will need to develop some wide receiver threats. First-team all-league linebacker Ronnie Velasquez leads the defense.
Bottom line: The Tigers might have a different look on the field, but they should figure things out and contend for the league title.
Players to watch: Jahquon Speed, RB, Sr.; Tyler Glosser, OT, Sr.; Adrian Diaz, OG, Jr.; Ronnie Velasquez, MLB, Sr.; Jake Moran, DT, Sr.
By STEVE FRYER STAFF WRITER OCRegister
Valencia's Marrujo a winner to the very end. 284-131-6. Valencia was 1-9 in 2011. The school’s football team had been so good for so long. Maybe 1-9 was an indication that the good times were over. Tigers coach Mike Marrujo did not think so. Marrujo hung in there. He returned the program to respectability, and beyond. Valencia went 11-1 in 2015 and won another Empire League championship with a 5-0 league record.
For such a fine turnaround and outstanding season, Marrujo is the Register’s Orange County football coach of the year. The season and award capped a great career. Marrujo, 64, announced this month his retirement from coaching. He was Valencia’s coach for 35 years. His coaching career and 2015 season ended with a loss to Villa Park in the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs. Going into that game, the Tigers were 11-0 for only the third time in school history.
Marrujo has seen much success at Valencia. His record at the school was 284-131-6. Marrujo’s teams won three Southern Section championships and 15 league championships. Only John Barnes, who is retiring at Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo’s Bob Johnson and Mater Dei’s Bruce Rollinson have more league titles in Orange County football.
This year’s league championship was one of the more satisfying ones for Marrujo. Before the season opener, he was confident the Tigers had talent in some areas. He wasn’t quite so sure about a couple of other units. “We knew we had the skill guys,” Marrujo said. “But we didn’t know about the offensive line. We had one big guy coming back. but he got hurt early in the season. So we were left there with one senior, three juniors and a sophomore starting for us.
“We figured if they played reasonably well, we’d be OK. And they did.” Valencia’s defense also came through. “We were confident that we’d be pretty good there,” Marrujo said. “But not as good as the defense turned out to be.” Marrujo handed defensive coordinator responsibilities to Shawn Racobs, El Dorado’s head coach some years ago and who recently had been an assistant coach at Santa Ana College.
“Shawn did some things with our defense that he’d been doing over at SAC,” Marrujo said. “He got more juice out of the kids on defense. That unit played really well.” Valencia allowed only 10 points a game. The Tigers recorded back-to-back shutouts in October against Laguna Hills and Kennedy. Both of those opponents qualified for the Southwest Division playoffs.
The Tigers scored 36 points a game. They did not score fewer than 24 points in a game until the 28-15 loss to Villa Park on Nov. 20. Six of the Valencia’s 10 regular-season wins were against teams that went on to qualify for the playoffs. The Tigers got off to a roaring start with a 41-7 win at Yorba Linda. Then came wins of 34-7 over Brea Olinda and 35-2 over El Dorado, and Valencia was on its way to a succesful season.
Racobs was named Marrujo’s replacement shortly after Marrujo announced his retirement. Marrujo hoped that would occur. Marrujo said he was fortunate to have excellent assistant coaches on his staff during his long tenure. Of the many, Marrujo singled out Curt Pike, who has with Marrujo since the 1980s.
“He was one of my student-teachers in my first or second year of teaching, too,” Marrujo said. Marrujo said he will miss the camaraderie and game-planning with Valencia coaches. He will miss, too, the challenges brought by opposing coaches of whom he has some favorites, such as Loara coach Mitch Olson, who years ago coached Kennedy in many great games against Valencia.
“We had some battles,” Marrujo said. “He was always a lot of fun. In the ’80s, when I was just starting, there were some great games against ‘Moon’ Mullen when he was at Anaheim. And I always liked Myron Miller at Tustin, just a very classy guy.” The hours required to run a high school football program continue to increase. Coaching began to physically wear down Marrujo. He figured this would be a good time to move along.
“It’s been 35 years,” he said. “If not now, when?” Marrujo goes out on top. The view is familiar.
By STEVE FRYER STAFF WRITER
Valencia’s administrators tried to talk him out of it. Of course they would. No school wants to see its football coach, who won more than 300 games while having the respect of coaches throughout Southern California, walk out the door. Mike Marrujo announced Monday that he is retiring as football head coach at Valencia, where he was head coach for 35 seasons.
Marrujo, 64, coached Valencia to three CIF-SS titles and 15 league championships. Only John Barnes, who last week announced his retirement at Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo’s Bob Johnson and Mater Dei’s Bruce Rollinson have won more Orange County league titles. His record at Valencia is 284-131-6. Including four years coaching at Pius X of Downey, Marrujo’s career record is 306-131-1. Barnes and Johnson are the only other county coaches with 300 or more wins.
Marrujo said coaching finally had become a grind. “It was wearing on me physically this last year,” he said. “It’s a lot tougher to coach when you’re older than it is when you’re 26 years old, which I was when I started.” Marrujo is unsure if he will also retire as a U.S. history teacher at Valencia at the end of this school year.
He is very sure he is finished coaching, although Valencia administrators would love to keep him around. “They asked me if I wanted to walk on if I retire from teaching,” said Marrujo, referring to the “walk-on” label applied to a coach who is not a full-time faculty member. “I said no. Valencia needs a full-time, on-campus football coach.”
This season’s teams was among Marrujo’s better ones. The Tigers won the Empire League championship with a 5-0 league record and were undefeated overall until a loss to Villa Park in the second round of the CIF-SS Southwest Division playoffs. They finished 11-1. He coached many outstanding teams and many outstanding players at Valencia. “I enjoyed all of it to the very end,” Marrujo said.
ONE MORE YEAR
Mission Viejo's Johnson said he plans to coach the Diablos in the 2016 season. That would be his 18th season coaching at Mission Viejo. Johnson previously coached at El Toro and Los Amigos. If the Diablos beat Vista Murrieta on Friday in the West Valley Division championship game, it would be a second-straight undefeated run through the regular season and CIF-SS playoffs. Johnson’s grandson, Brock, the starting quarterback, is in his senior year. So it sets up perfectly that this would be a great way to call it a career.
“No,” Johnson said. “I am coaching next year.” As for this year’s team, there was no single game or event that convinced Johnson this would be a great season. He was confident from the start. “I really liked this team from the beginning,” Johnson said Monday. “We had a tough schedule. Three teams we played are still playing in the finals. Five of our opponents went to the semifinals. We knew from the get-go we had something special here.”
NORTH VS. SOUTH
When La Habra plays San Clemente in the Southwest Division on Friday, the game matches Orange County’s northern-most school, La Habra, against the southern-most school, San Clemente. The Highlanders and Tritons have played each other before, in a pair of nonleague games a few seasons ago.
La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta likes the north-south angle. “I expected if we did our part,” Mazzotta said, “they would be there, too, because they’re so good.” Mazzotta figured the Highlanders had what it takes to get to the championship game because of the way they prepare for every game. “It’s been a great practice team,” he said. “There’s been a high level, every day.”
There can be drama about where CIF-SS championship football games are played. This season is no different.
The Southern Division championship game, Canyon vs. Brea Olinda, is Brea’s home game. Brea has selected its on-campus stadium for the game, which is the school’s right. The stadium holds 4,000 spectators. Canyon representatives spoke with CIF-SS leadership Monday, requesting that CIF-SS consider a change of venue. Canyon administrators said Santa Ana Stadium or Orange Coast College would be preferred venues.
Orange Coast has been the site of the Southern Division final in five of the past six years. The exception was the 2012 game that was played at Angel Stadium as part of a CIF-SS finals tripleheader. The San Clemente vs. La Habra game, the Southwest Division final, will be at Cerritos College. La Habra, the home team and in charge of securing a venue, attempted to work with Cal State Fullerton so that the university’s stadium could be the site, but it had made no progress as of Monday evening.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
STEVE FRYER STAFF WRITER OCRegister
ORANGE * Villa Park’s football team just did something it had not done since the 1960s.The Spartans hope they can do something they have not done since the 1970s. The Spartans beat Valencia, 28-15, in a CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division second-round playoff game Friday night at El Modena High. Villa Park is 12-0 for the first time since 1968. The Spartans will play at La Habra (11-1) in the semifinals next week, with the hopes that leads to their first CIF-SS football championship since 1976. Offensive balance and defensive steadiness were the chief factors in Friday’s win. Junior quarterback Nick Sipe completed 15 of 22 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He did make one mistake – an interception returned 78 yards for a touchdown by Mason Paine in the third quarter – but was otherwise precise.
Spartans senior running back Ramon Chaves rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, both 2-yard runs in the second quarter. Brennan Corbin had 114 receiving yards, including a 76-yard touchdown catch. Jake Ruiz had five receptions for 67 yards, including a 23-yard scoring reception. Villa Park, which beat Troy, 48-19, in the first round, will try to qualify for its fifth CIF-SS football championship game when it plays the top-seeded Highlanders on Friday. The Spartans’ most recent finals appearance was in 2012, when they lost to Edison in the Southwest Division game at Angel Stadium.
Valencia finished 11-1. The Tigers won the Empire League championship and last week beat University, 27-14, in the first round. Among the other highlights was Coach Mike Marrujo, the Tigers’ coach since 1981, getting his 300th career win. Villa Park coach Dusan Ancich said he was pleased with the outcome and overall performance by the Spartans offense and defense. But, as he sometimes is, Ancich was slightly dismayed by a few details. “We played a good game offensively,” Ancich said. “In the second half we got a little too conservative and put ourselves in some thirdand-long situations. We could have made some better choices and played more efficiently.”
The Spartans took an 8-0 lead in the first quarter on the Sipe-to-Corbin touchdown pass of 76 yards and Chaves’ run for two points. Valencia tied it on a 6-yard screen pass for a touchdown from Tyler Switzer to Darren Sandoval. Switzer passed to Chach Ben-Yisrael for two points to tie it 8-8. Villa Park took the lead for good, 15-8, on Chaves’ first 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. After Villa Park recovered a fumble, Chaves’ second scoring run make it 22-8. The Spartans stretched the lead to 28-8 on Sipe’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Ruiz.
Paine provided the only touchdown of the second half on his 76-yard interception return. Villa Park’s defense kept the Tigers offense in check, including a drive-stopping interception by Josh Torres on a pass tipped by teammate Khalil Wilson. It was a winning effort all around for Villa Park, which faces a tough challenge next week. “We just have to tune up,” Ancich said. “We have a talented team. We have a chance to do some good things.”
[ Valencia - Villa Park] Photo Gallery