Western Hopes to Extend Its Good Fortune Against Valencia

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the past eight years, Western High School is the only Orange League team to avoid a losing record against Valencia.

Since 1982, Western has split eight games with Valencia, the six-time defending league champions. The teams play at 7:30 tonight at Valencia.

Western (7-1, 3-0) has won seven consecutive games since a season-opening 29-19 loss to Loara and is seeking its third league title in 11 years under Coach Jim Howell. Traditionally, Western has won with a strong defense. This year is no exception.

Outside linebacker Dan Byun and defensive end Robert Southern have led Western's defense.

"Right now, our defense is as good as any I've coached in 11 years here," Howell said. "Our secondary is the quickest group I've ever coached."

Valencia (7-0-1, 2-0-1) counters with the passing of quarterback Richard Wells, who has completed 67 of 116 passes for 957 yards and 13 touchdowns.

"They don't have the high-quality running back they've had in the past, but Wells is one of the better quarterbacks they've had," Howell said. "They've been the team to beat for eight years, and nothing's different this year."

Valencia has won or shared six consecutive league titles and has advanced to three consecutive Southern Section title games under Coach Mike Marrujo.

In tonight's only other high school game, Santa Ana Valley meets Villa Park in a Century League game at El Modena.

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