Rob Petko, Valencia quarterback, can get on with the rest of the season secure in the knowledge he has accomplished that immediate goal.
With the Tigers’ 38-0 dismantling of Servite Friday, Petko could take a moment to bask. He had avenged last season’s slight. Washed away the bitter taste of a 14-0 defeat to the Friars. He had settled a score.
Revenge? Petko saw it as nothing less than a feud.
“I’ve been waiting a whole year for this one,” Petko said. “I had some bitter feelings after last year’s game. I wanted them bad. This was the pay-back.”
OK, Rob, we get the picture.
Petko backed up his swagger. He threw two first-quarter touchdown passes to help the Tigers take a 17-0 lead after their first three possessions. A little ungrateful, considering Petko once was a ball boy for the Friars when his brother, Mike, was a Servite linebacker.
But after being pushed around by the Friars last season, Petko was ready to sever all family ties.
“They hit me pretty good last season,” said Petko, who threw two passes that were intercepted against the Friars a year ago. “I just remember guys being on top of me.”
In all, Petko completed six of 10 passes for 76 yards Friday. Not exactly in-your-face numbers, but they fit into the Tigers’ system.
“We’ve never won a game since I’ve been here when we’ve passed 20 times,” Coach Mike Marrujo said.
Said Petko: “He’s been telling me that all week.”
As if he needed the reminder. Petko was 21 of 35 for 302 yards against Villa Park last week. Valencia lost, 30-26.
So it was back to earth, or at least to the ground, for the Tigers. Chris Draft gained 156 yards in 15 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Draft caught a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Steve Munoz gained 66 yards as the Tigers amassed 224 yards rushing.
“This was Valencia football,” Draft said.
On defense, as well.
Servite (0-2) was shutout for the second consecutive week, having already lost to Mater Dei. There was little evidence of improvement.
The Friars gained only 118 yards. They had only one first down in the first half. Quarterback Dan Baine completed one of 10 passes and had four intercepted, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Defensive lineman Chad Claxton went four yards on one, and defensive back Art Francis went 28 yards on the other.
“This was the greatest game,” Petko said.
Yeah, Rob, we know.