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Valencia surges late on Saugus

Posted: October 11, 2013 11:10 p.m.
Updated: October 11, 2013 11:10 p.m.

Valencia's Jay Jay Wilson looks to the end zone as he makes a catch against Saugus at College of the Canyons on Friday.

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The four-time defending Foothill League champion Valencia Vikings can be content with a 38-24 win over the Saugus Centurions on Friday at College of the Canyons.

But they’re not content with much else after both teams’ league opener.

Four personal fouls, little running game, inconsistency in the passing game and a special teams nightmare.

Valencia is lucky it survived.

“We’ve got so much to work on,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir.

Muir has said for weeks that he doesn’t compare how his Vikings are doing with Hart and Canyon — the two most impressive Santa Clarita Valley teams thus far.

But it might be time to if Valencia wants a fifth straight league title.

For the Vikings (4-2 overall, 1-0 Foothill League), a 19-16 lead midway through the third quarter ballooned to 38-16 late in the fourth.

A 51-yard completion from Jake Wallace to Jay Jay Wilson set up a 4-yard scoring connection between the same pair to make it 26-16.

A Valencia blocked punt led to a Wallace 3-yard touchdown run to make it 32-16.

The Vikings’ final score came on a 4-yard run by Stone Jackson.

But Saugus’ ineffectiveness on offense contributed to that Viking run.

It underscored the significance of running back Reid Rupe’s ankle injury.

After missing most of the last two games, he sat out all of Friday’s game after starting the season as arguably the valley’s best runner.

“I think that’s part of it,” said Saugus head coach Jason Bornn on why his offense struggled. “But we had other guys ready to step up and compete.”

After Valencia went up 12-0 early on a 6-yard Jackson run and a 14-yard Jackson interception for a touchdown, Saugus’ Dakota Taylor cut the lead to 12-7 on a 36-yard touchdown run.

Blake Austin blocked a Valencia punt and the ball tumbled out of the end zone for a safety and a 12-9 score.

On top of that Valencia special teams gaffe, the Vikings missed field goal attempts of 27 and 29 yards and missed three point-after touchdown kicks.

After a 39-yard touchdown from Wallace to Malik Townsend early in the third quarter, Saugus (3-3, 0-1) answered with a 12-yard scoring pass from Chris Hamilton to Timmy Kahovec with 7:31 to play in the third quarter.

That cut the Vikings’ lead to 19-16 and it’s as close as Saugus would get.

Hamilton was 12-of-31 for 142 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

He was sacked six times.

Wallace was 20-of-32 for 296 yards and two touchdowns.

Jackson was the game’s leading rusher with 23 carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He added six catches for 38 yards.

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