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Prep Football : End of Streak Means Tie for Troy : Valencia Breaks Warriors’ Scoreless String for 7-7 Final

Times Staff Writer

It wasn’t Orel Hershiser’s streak, but Troy High School had a notable string of zeros going Thursday night.

The Warriors entered their game against Valencia having held their opponents scoreless for 10 consecutive quarters. Three quarters into a game viewed by 3,200 at Valencia, it was easy to see why. Troy’s front line was crushing, its ends were quick off the ball, and its secondary was playing tight. After three quarters, the game was scoreless. More goose eggs.

But in the fourth quarter, both teams scored touchdowns, and the game ended in a frustrating, 7-7 tie. Troy learned a valuable lesson: A good defense can go only so far.

“It was a great defensive game all around,” said Mike Marrujo, Valencia’s coach. “You could say neither one of us was executing on offense, but it was a case of two good defenses going at it and not allowing much. We had our opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”

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The first three quarters were an exercise in three-plays-and-punt, though both teams had chances to score. Valencia missed a field goal and twice failed on fourth-and-short inside the Troy 30.

But in the fourth quarter, when both defenses grew tired and the offenses came up with big plays that ignited scoring drives.

On the second play of the period, Troy quarterback Brad Zeppieri rolled to his right and lofted a wobbling pass to split end Tom Wilson, who zigged and zagged his way for a 24-yard gain. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a first down.

Five plays later, Zeppieri hit Wilson on the same pattern--and with the same precision--for a 24-yard touchdown. Rob Duarte kicked the extra point to give Troy a 7-0 lead with 9:32 remaining.

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Valencia came back with some big plays of its own. On the sixth play of a drive that began at its own 20, Valencia faced a fourth-and-13 at the Troy 39. Quarterback Tracy Garrett faded into the pocket and, with two defenders hanging on his knees, hit Duane Allen for a 24-yard completion that gave the Tigers a first down at the 15. Three plays later, Garrett hit Guy Shephard with a 5-yard touchdown pass with 5:18 left. Marrujo elected to go for the extra point rather than trying for two, and Richard Wells’ kick made it 7-7.

Troy then drove to within the Valencia 30, but after a sack, Duarte’s 50-yard field goal fell just short as time expired.


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