By Brian Whitehead - OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Valencia needed something. Quarterback Tyler Switzer missed on eight of his first 11 pass attempts, running backs Darren Sandoval and Jahquon Speed mustered minimal gains on the ground, and after punting on their first three possessions, the Tigers turned over the ball on downs deep in enemy territory. Then, Sandoval and Speed got going, and in the second quarter, Switzer ended consecutive drives with touchdown passes.
Valencia built a threescore lead by halftime, and beat visiting University, 37-14, Friday night in the first round of the Southwest Division playoffs. Valencia (11-0) plays Villa Park (11-0) next week in the quarterfinals, at a location to be determined. The Tigers and Spartans, who beat Troy, 48-19, on Friday, are two of the county five unbeaten teams.
We struggled a bit there in the first half Sandoval said. But we picked it up in the second half. I wasn't reading my holes as well as I should've been reading them, but our offensive line kept making great holes all game. Our defense is there. We sometimes just have to work on our offense.
Switzer finished with 181 passing yards, and receiver Jacob Briggs caught a pair of touchdowns. Both Sandoval and Speed rushed for more than 100 yards. Both running backs scored in the third quarter: Speed on a 29-yard run and Sandoval on an 8-yarder. University (8-3) twice cut its deficit to 10 after halftime; Matt Abellaneda and Andre Campbell with touchdowns on consecutive drives. But Valencia answered both scores with points.
It important to come back like that Sandoval said. As we play later in the playoffs, in CIF, we have to prepare for that. We have to play every half like we played the second half tonight.
University quarterback Neil Boudreau passed for 122 yards and connected with seven different receivers. Alex Pourdanesh led all Trojans pass-catchers with 42 receiving yards. Valencia is in the Southwest Division quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. The 2014 Tigers lost to lower-seeded Capistrano Valley, a premature exit Sandoval said will surely fuel this week of practice. Every minute counts he said.
[ Valencia - University] Photo Gallery
By DAN ALBANO OCRegister
PLACENTIA - Valencia showed in the second half Thursday why it is undefeated and a contender in the Southwest Division. The Tigers erupted for 28 consecutive points and forced four turnovers to clinch the Empire League title outright with a 35-14 victory against visiting Pacifica. Valencia (10-0, 5-0) matched its best start since its undefeated season of 1991 and might have sealed the No. 4 seed in the Southwest Division. “I’m very optimistic that we can do pretty well,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said of the playoffs. “We have a good team. We have good skill guys. We have a very good defense. I’m hopeful we can play well.”
Valencia’s defense certainly played well in the second half to help the Tigers erase a 14-7 deficit. It was the first time Valencia trailed at halftime. Valencia intercepted three passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown, all after the Tigers tied the score early in the second half on a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Switzerto Chachmoni Ben-Yisrael. Sam Lydic sparked the defensive flurry by intercepting a pass deflected by Jacob Briggs at the Pacifica 44 with 5:45 left in the third. Three plays later, Darren Sandoval scored on a 17-yard touchdown run as the Tigers took their first lead, 21-14.
Sandoval finished with 93 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Later in third, Briggs returned a fumble forced by defensive lineman Tofi Meleah about 18 yards for a touchdown and a 28-14 lead with 2:15 left in the third. Sandoval then capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 6:57 left in the fourth. The drive chewed up nearly six minutes. Justin McHale and Alec Sweet also had interceptions for Valencia in the second half. Sweet also added a sack and forced fumble in the first that Meleah recovered. “We were motivated,” said Briggs, who also caught a 3-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal early in the second period. “We’ve never been down before. At halftime, we just needed to pick up our heads.
We just knew we had to get the job done, execute our assignment. ... I’m glad we got that victory.” Pacifica (6-4, 2-3) opened a 14-0 lead in the first half on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Nick Garciaand a 74-yard TD strike from Garcia to Aundre Purnell on a slant. The Mariners could land one of the three at-large berths in the Southwest. "They're a good team," Briggs said of the Mariners.
[ Valencia - Pacifica] Photo Gallery]
By DAN ALBANO OCRegister
Valencia High’s stability again started with Coach Mike Marrujo on Friday and flowed like a bolt of energy through his team. The Tigers’ offense played with the balance. The defense played with it. And at just the right moment, Marrujo injected the extra aggressiveness to push his players even further.
Quarterback Tyler Switzer threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Valencia’s defense fashioned a shutout in the second half to power the Tigers to a 24-13 victory at Tustin, clinching at least a share of a second consecutive Empire League crown. The Tigers remained perfectly balanced by their standards: 9-0, 4-0. “I think it’s special,” said Switzer, who has 25 TD passes. “I really feel we have a bond. We’re getting better each and every week. Hope to make it far in the playoffs.”
Valencia and its 35th-season coach certainly have the makings of a contender in the Southwest Division after handing Tustin (7-2, 3-1) its first league loss. Tustin is also headed to the CIF playoffs. Marrujo sparked Valencia with an aggressive play call on the game’s opening series. The Tigers capped a 14-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown plunge by Switzer on fourth-and-goal. The Tigers never looked back.
One of Switzer’s own calls paid off in the fourth. He called an audible for a streak route and tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chachmoni Ben-Yisrael as the Tigers opened a 24-13 lead with 10:01 left.
Tustin stayed close thanks to a 41-yard touchdown reception by Jonathan Di Maio on a pass from Sagel Simon and two field goals by Anthony Garduno. including a 38-yarder with one second left in the first half that cut Valencia’s lead to 17-13.
[ Valencia - Tustin] Photo Gallery
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC Register
Undefeated Valencia remained perfect Saturday night, defeating Empire League rival Cypress 42-14. The Tigers defense, which is allowing 6.5 points per-game, forced four turnovers, two which set them up in the red zone, and held Cypress to 164 total yards and minus-28 yards rushing.
Valencia (8-0, 3-0) built a 21-7 haltime lead, then marched down the field on the first drive of the second half in 10 plays, with Jahquan Speed capping the drive with the second of his three touchdowns. A 34-yard pass from Tyler Switzer to Chochmoni Ben-Yisreal early in the fourth quarter eliminated hopes of a comeback and gave the Tigers a 35-7 lead.
Alex Ashcroft was a bright spot for Cypress (2-6, 0-3), finishing with 192 yards and two touchdowns passing with one interception.
Valencia will face off with a fellow Empire League unbeaten Tustin next week.
[ Valencia - Cypress] Photo Gallery
By TOM CONNOLLY
[ Valencia - Western] Photo Gallery
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC Register
PLACENTIA * High-powered Valencia delighted its homecoming crowd as the Tigers cruised to 62-8 Empire League victory over Western on Friday night at Valencia High. Darren Sandoval scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter as the Tigers scored four times in the first nine minutes of the game. Ronnie Velasquez intercepted a pass on the third play of the game to get the Tigers rolling. Two plays later, Sandoval scored on a 4-yard run to give Valencia 7-0 lead.
Jacob Briggs stepped in front of a Western pass on the Pioneers’ second series and returned it 18 yards for a score. Tyler Switzer completed an 8-yard scoring pass to Mason Paine to extend the lead to 20-0, then Sandoval raced 46 yards for a score as the Tigers surged to a 27-0 lead after the first quarter. Valencia (7-0, 2-0) won its seventh consecutive game and is averaging more than 39 points. The Tigers defense has held opponents to fewer than seven points per game.
Tofi Meleah, Nick Perreira and Justin McHale led a dominant Valencia defense that forced three first-half turnovers and held the Pioneers to negative yardage in the first half. The Tigers kept pushing in the second quarter as Sandoval scored his third touchdown on an 8-yard run. Switzer completed all eight of his passes in the first half, including a second TD pass to Paine. Jahquon Speed (114 yards rushing) capped Valencia’s first-half blitz with a 2-yard TD run that gave the Tigers a 48-0 halftime lead over the Pioneers (1-6, 0-2).
BY DAN ARRITT
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Mike Marrujo has never been a fan of individual recognition during his decorated high school coaching career. In his fifth season at Valencia in 1985, his running back broke the Orange County career rushing record, but Marrujo was dead set against stopping the game to honor the feat. So it was no surprise when Marrujo wanted to keep a low profile leading up to his 300th career victory Friday night, a 42-0 win against visiting Kennedy in an Empire League opener. “It’s a team sport,” Marrujo said after the game. “It’s always been that way here at Valencia. We’ve won all those games and we’ve had all those good players and assistants helping me, so it’s been a real team-type deal.”
Marrujo’s in his 35th season at Valencia and 45th straight year coaching high school football overall. He’s been around long enough that he’s getting repeat business. Senior center Warren Garten is the son former Valencia lineman Steve Garten , who shared in Marrujo’s first victory at Valencia in 1981. “He’s a wonderful man,” Steve Garten said. “He really works with the kids. Makes them into men and that’s what it’s all about. Respect, teamwork, individual work, hard work. … Coach Marrujo is a pillar of that.”
Marrujo, who earned 22 of his wins at Pius X in Downey prior to coming to Valencia, joins an elite list of coaches with at least 300 victories. Los Alamitos coach John Barnes has 323 wins and Bob Johnson of Mission Viejo has 321. Marrujo still coaches the game much the way he did in the 1980s. No headset, few gimmicks and plenty of teaching moments, even in the fourth quarter of a one-sided victory, such as Friday night.
Tyler Switzer and Jacob Briggs made sure everyone got a chance to play Friday, hooking up for five touchdown passes in just more than two quarters. Switzer completed 9 of 12 passes for 233 yards, while Briggs finished with eight catches for 215 yards, the final touchdown giving the Tigers (6-0) a 42-0 lead in the opening minute of the third quarter.
In the final minute, Marrujo’s milestone was announced over the public-address system. It went in one of Marrujo’s ears and out the other.
“Honestly, I just wanted to win the league opener,” he said.
[ Valencia - Kennedy] Photo Gallery
“We want to be balanced and we were able to do that tonight,” Marrujo said. “It was a really good way to finish our nonleague schedule. I’m pleased with our effort and we came out OK, healthwise.” The Tigers found as much success through the air. Quarterback Tyler Switzer completed 7 of 10 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Chach Ben-Yisrael was on the receiving end of all three and finished with five catches for 163 yards.
Valencia’s win slows a storybook start for Laguna Hills, which suffered its first loss. Mitch O’Hair, who had been efficient in managing the Hawks’ first four games, was under pressure most of the night and completed just 3 of 13 passes for 55 yards. He also threw his first two interceptions. The Hawks (4-1) totaled 100 offensive yards. Bear Sutton gained 37 yards on seven carries, the bulk of which came in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. “We just got overmatched tonight,” Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said. “We were a little mismatched up-front. It’s an eye opener and we can use this to get ready for league play next week.”
Valencia (5-0) set the tone early. On the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage, Switzer connected with Ben-Yisrael for an 87-yard touchdown catch and run. Following a three-and-out by the Hawks, Speed capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Ben-Yisrael added a 28-yard touchdown catch and Speed pounded in a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left. Speed finished with 11 rushes for 84 yards, and Sandoval added 12 rushes for 98 yards.
Laguna Hills had chances for points in each half. In the second quarter, defensive end Adam Rink clipped Switzer’s arm on a throw and the ball was picked off by Zac Crowe, setting up the Hawks at the Tigers’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, O’Hair was picked off by Mason Paine at the Tigers’ 2-yard line. In the second half, O’Hair took a shot downfield to a wide-open Christian Ferrara, but the pass dropped to the turf, incomplete.
[ Valencia - Laguna Hills] Photo Gallery
BY TIM TUTTLE
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Valencia turned back a determined second-half comeback charge by Troy to remain unbeaten with a 28-14 victory in a nonleague game Thursday at Valencia.
The Warriors trailed, 14-0, at halftime, but recovered a fumble on Valencia’s opening play of the second half at the Tigers’ 29-yard line. Troy’s Brett Ferguson scored on a 1-yard run to end the seven-play drive and cut Valencia’s advantage to 14-7. Valencia (4-0) responded with an 80-yard, eight-play drive culminated by Jahquon Speed’s 27-yard touchdown run. The Tigers had, seemingly, regained control, 21-7.
Troy (1-3) regained its momentum with a 78-yard touchdown march led by sophomore quarterback Josiah Norwood.
Norwood completed a 30-yard pass to Ryan Scotti to get the Warriors moving. The speedy and elusive 5-foot-10, 155-pounder scrambled 16 yards for a first down to the Valencia 18.
On first down, Scotti adjusted perfectly to Norwood’s pass for a touchdown reception. With Sam Tetrault kicking the extra point, Troy trailed, 21-14, with 3:27 remaining in the third quarter. Valencia put the game away with an 80-yard touchdown march. Quarterback Tyler Switzer completed a 33-yard pass to Chach Ben-Yisrael to reach the Troy 42.
Speed gained 141yards on 19 carries and Darren Sandoval had 70 yards on 18 carries. Switzer completed 12 of 18 passes for 160 yards. He had touchdown passes to Jacob Briggs for 11 and 20 yards in the first half. Briggs had four receptions for 83 yards. Ferguson, a 5-10, 170-pound junior, had 79 yards on 13 carries.
[ Valencia - Troy] Photo Gallery
BY TIM TUTTLE
CONTRIBUTING WRITER OC Register
PLACENTIA * Tyler Switzer threw four touchdown passes and Darren Sandoval ran for 120 yards on 11 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown run, to lead Valencia to a 35-2 victory over El Dorado in a nonleague game Friday night at Valencia.
Switzer had scoring tosses of 29 yards to Sandoval, 16 to Chach Ben-Yisrael, 17 to Jacob Briggs and 34 to Jackson Mirth. The 6-foot, 170-pound senior completed 13 of 21 for 211yards and had one interception. “He’s throwing the ball real well,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “We’ve got some good receivers and we’ve got some good runners. El Dorado was really crowding the box with eight or nine guys and we had to pass.” Valencia improved to 3-0. El Dorado fell to 0-3.
Valencia’s quick and physical defense limited El Dorado to 87 yards of offense: 59 passing and 28 rushing. The Golden Hawks were limited to 2 yards passing and 0 rushing in a first half which ended with the Tigers leading 28-0. Valencia took the opening kickoff and went 78 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead on Switzer’s touchdown pass to Sandoval. The 5-foot-8,180-pound senior turned a short reception into a dash down the sidelines to the end zone with 6:18 remaining in the first quarter. Switzer completed a pass for 25 to Briggs on thirdand-17 from the El Dorado 25 to keep the drive moving.
The Tigers took over on their next possession at the El Dorado 44. On first down, Sandoval ran off left tackle, popped into the secondary and went the distance to increase Valencia’s lead to 14-0 with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Valencia scored on its third straight possession, a 44-yard drive on six plays. Switzer hooked up with Ben-Yisrael for 16 yards on third-and-5 to reach the El Dorado 21. Two plays later, the combination clicked again for a touchdown from 16 yards. The Tigers final TD in the first half was their longest drive, 95 yards on 12 plays. Switzer had completions of 21 to Dylan Neal and 12 to Mason Paine.
[ Valencia - El Dorado] Photo Gallery
STAFF WRITER OCRegister
PLACENTIA * Valencia’s backfield tandem of Darren Sandoval and Jahquon Speed were too much for Brea Olinda too handle in the Tigers’ 34-7 nonleague victory over the Wildcats on Friday night at Valencia High.
Sandoval rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and Speed carried seven times for 150 yards and had scoring runs of 35 and 92 yards.Through two games this season, the pair has combined for 378 yards and five rushing touchdowns.
“We wanted to run the ball, which we did,” Valencia coach Mike Marrujo said. “On almost every down in the first half, they were having some trouble stopping us.”Marrujo also praised the performance of quarterback Tyler Switzer, who was a perfect seven for seven, throwing for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Switzer seems to be making the Tigers (2-0) more of a passing threat than in recent years, completing 17 of 21 passes, including five for touchdowns on the season. Marrujo said he was concerned with stopping the Wildcats’ offense after it put up 35 points in Week 1 against Sonora.
Brea Olinda (0-2), in fact, moved the ball well Friday, but killed drives by committing turnovers. Wildcats quarterback Dylan Flenniken was 19 for 26 for 218 yards and a touchdown. However, a second-quarter interception by the Tigers’ Alec Sweet deep in Valencia territory took away one opportunity. Earlier in the contest, a fumble recovery and 22-yard return by Jacob Briggs stopped a Brea Olinda drive and set up a touchdown for the Tigers.
Valencia hasn’t allowed more than a touchdown in two games. The Tigers established dominance from the start of the game, first stopping Brea Olinda on a fourthand-2 from the Valencia 33 in the opening drive. The Tigers took over and drove 63 yards on seven plays and scoring on a 3-yard run from Sandoval.
[ Valencia - Brea Olinda] Photo Gallery