PREP FOOTBALL : Valencia Carves Up El Dorado for 11th in Row
The faces change but Valencia High School continues to have one of the best football programs in Orange County.
Valencia gave another demonstration of fundamental football, Mike Marrujo style, in a 28-0 victory over El Dorado Friday night in front of 1,800 spectators in Placentia’s Bradford Stadium.
Valencia rushed for 227 yards, intercepted 2 passes and recovered a fumble to win its 11th consecutive game over the past two seasons, the longest current winning streak in the county.
There was nothing clever about the Tigers’ victory, but rather a workman-type effort under Marrujo, the winningest coach in the county over the past six years with 58 victories.
“They’re like surgeons on the football field,” said Carl Sweet, El Dorado coach. “They execute as well as anybody I’ve ever gone up against. There’s nothing different about them.
“You know what they’re going to do, but you can’t stop them. It’s a credit to Mike and his coaching staff that Valencia continues to win year after year.”
Valencia has won five consecutive Orange League titles and appears to be on course to challenge for its sixth straight after what Marrujo called, “By far, our best game of the season.”
Fullback Keef Leasure was Valencia’s top rusher with 94 yards in 19 carries and 2 touchdowns. Running mate Kevin Thomas added 91 yards in 15 carries and 1 touchdown.
But the most impressive player on the field was wide receiver-safety Guy Shepard. Shepard caught 5 passes for 83 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He also intercepted his third pass in three games in third quarter.
“He compares favorably to Mike Edwards,” Marrujo said. Edwards was a two-time all-county star at Valencia who is now attending the University of Utah on a football-baseball scholarship. Like Sweet said, the faces change, but the level of play remains the same.
Valencia had a 14-0 lead at halftime but the Tigers could have easily doubled the score. Valencia had a 26-yard touchdown pass nullified by a holding penalty and quarterback Tracy Garrett overthrew a wide-open Thomas for what appeared to be another sure touchdown.
Garrett was accurate, though, on a 34-yard pass play to Shepard for the Tigers’ first touchdown in the first quarter and had 80 yards passing at halftime. He completed 8 of 13 pass attempts for 123 yards.
Leasure started slowly with a 9-yard loss in his second carry, but the fullback got into a groove in the second quarter and scored Valencia’s second touchdown on a 4-yard run. Leasure had 64 yards rushing in the first half and Thomas added 66 yards as the Tigers piled up 194 yards offensively.
El Dorado, which stunned Valencia, 10-6, last year, missed its only scoring opportunity in the first half. Brian Wolf gave the Golden Hawks excellent field position with a 53-yard kickoff return that set up his team at the Valencia 30-yard line.
El Dorado drove to the Tigers’ 15-yard line, but the advance ended when Matt Luke fumbled following a 10-yard pass reception and Valencia linebacker Steve Rangel recovered at the 5-yard line.
Sweet said this week the game would determine how much work his team would need before entering Empire League play. Judging from Friday night’s performance, there’s still plenty to be done.
El Dorado had 64 yards rushing and 76 yards passing and crossed midfield only twice. Still, Sweet wasn’t discouraged.
“We’re going to be a factor in the league once we get everybody healthy,” he said. El Dorado played without its two best running backs, Scott Sporrer and Crosby Spencer, who were out with injuries.