After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since Mike Marrujo became Valencia High's football coach in 1981, the Tigers will return this year to the playoffs as Orange League champions after defeating Savanna, 23-7, Friday night at Valencia.
Senior Alex Martinez accounted for every Valencia point, scoring three touchdowns and kicking two extra points and one field goal.
The Tigers (7-3, 4-1) struggled throughout the first half, as Savanna (4-6, 1-4) scored its only touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Ryan Poland to Leon Kellum with 1 minute 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Valencia got its first big break when a pass by Poland was intercepted by Martinez at the Savanna seven-yard line. The return for the touchdown combined with his first extra-point kick tied the score at 7-7 with 7:40 seconds left in the third quarter.
Taking advantage of great field position after a 13-yard punt gave the Tigers the ball at the Savanna 20-yard line, Valencia scored five plays later when Martinez caught a seven-yard touchdown reception.
Martinez scored his final touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Eric Young with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. Martinez added a 24-yard field goal at the end of an 11-play drive that took six minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter.