With 11 minutes 14 seconds remaining, the outcome of the Central Conference championship game at Glover Stadium in Anaheim was very much in doubt.
Valencia High School of Placentia had the ball on its 20-yard line and held a 7-0 lead over Anaheim.
But the Tigers went on a 17-play drive that gobbled up nearly eight minutes. Although it yielded no points, the drive effectively killed Anaheim's chances, and Valencia, which scored a late touchdown, won its first Southern Section football title, 13-0.
That late drive coupled with a stingy defense provided Valencia (12-2) with all it needed to beat Anaheim.
The Colonists finished 10-3-1 under Ted Mullen, in his first season as Colonist coach.
Mullen was making his sixth appearance in a championship game and was trying to become only the second Southern Section coach to win three titles at three different schools.
He won Southern Conference championships at Villa Park in 1977 and Foothill in 1981.
Except for a touchdown on Valencia's first series, the Tiger offense had sputtered against the Colonists' swarming defense. But on that drive, the Tiger offensive line opened big holes for running backs Keef Leasure and Randy Roskelly.
After the drive stalled and Paul Rivera missed a 35-yard field goal, Anaheim took over with just 3:45 left. On the Colonists' first play, a flea-flicker--from quarterback Robert Aldaz to running back Joaquin Garcia and back to Aldaz--lost four yards.
On second down, Aldaz fumbled the snap from center, and Valencia's Fred Jenkins recovered at the Anaheim 14.
Two plays later, Leasure vaulted over from the two-yard line, giving Valencia a 13-0 lead with 1:39 left.
Leasure, a junior, rushed for a game-high 112 yards in 21 carries, including a 31-yard gain on the Tigers' opening series that set up the game's first score.
Quarterback Robert Navarette threw a seven-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Mike Edwards with 8:34 left in the first quarter. The Tigers, aided by a personal foul penalty against Anaheim on the opening kickoff, drove 51 yards in 7 plays.
The Tiger defense limited Garcia, the Colonists' leading rusher, to 54 yards in 17 carries.
"Our defense played great as usual," Valencia Coach Mike Marrujo said. "We didn't do anything different. We didn't put any new plays in. We went with what's worked for us all season."
Twice Valencia stopped Anaheim drives inside the Tiger 10. The first time, Anaheim reached the Valencia one-yard line, but another fumbled exchange killed that threat with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
Then early in the fourth quarter, the Colonists drove to the Tiger 7, but Rick Reyes missed a 25-yard field goal.
That came with 11:14 left, and Valencia began its long drive.