El Dorado High won the battle for bragging rights on Bradford Street in a convincing manner Friday night by dominating defending Southern Section Division VI champion Valencia in every phase of the game.
El Dorado snapped a five-game losing streak to cross-town rival Valencia and claimed the Placentia city championship with a 31-3 victory in front of 3,500 fans in Valencia's Bradford Stadium.
When asked the significance of El Dorado's first victory over Valencia since a 10-6 victory in 1986, Golden Hawks Coach Rick Jones said, "It was a long time coming. The fact that we won so convincingly against a program so well respected as Valencia says a lot for how far we've progressed over the past three years."
Valencia (1-2) had outscored El Dorado, 125-18, in four previous victories but the Tigers were hardly a match this time. Valencia managed only eight yards passing and had only five first downs.
The Tigers failed to get their usually potent running game untracked. Running backs Chris Draft (15 carries, 51 yards) and Ace Riggins (seven carries, 25 yards) were never a factor as Valencia managed only 76 yards in total offense.
"They're very good," Valencia Coach Mike Marrujo said. When asked to assess his team's play, all Marrujo could say was, "I'll have to wait until I see the game films."
What he'll see is a team that has managed only a field goal by Luis Adrian Garcia in its last two games. He'll see an offense that has been unable to sustain drives under a young quarterback, Rob Petko, and a defense that was on the field too long against El Dorado.
The film should receive much better reviews from El Dorado. The Golden Hawks punted only once all evening and a first-quarter interception by Valencia's Draft was the only bad pass thrown by quarterback Jim Beck.
El Dorado (3-0) balanced its passing and running game perfectly. Beck completed eight of 12 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown and tailback Spencer Frost turned in a blue-collar performance with 18 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
"I had great protection and I've great receivers," Beck said. "They make my job easy. This team is more experienced and more confident than last year. We're together as a team at all times."
Jones, who has turned El Dorado's program around in three seasons, praised his players, who dominated both sides of the line.
"Our linemen had fire in their eyes," Jones said. "Each week we've improved as a team. I thought tonight we stepped up about three levels. But we're still going to have to get better if we want to compete in the tough Empire League."
Empire League members Los Alamitos and Esperanza are ranked first and second in the county and it looks as if El Dorado is ready to move into the top 10 next week after its third impressive victory of the season.