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Valencia Football: The incredibles

Valencia scores 29 straight points to shock rival Canyon

Posted: October 25, 2013 11:04 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2013 11:04 p.m.

Valencia Receiver, Malik Townsend, runs the ball past Canyon defenders at Valencia High School on Friday.

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Ever since Valencia football began its string of four straight Foothill League titles, there have been reasons to doubt the Vikings.

Graduations, better teams on paper in the Foothill, question marks on the defense one year, question marks on the offense the next.

If Valencia football has proven anything along that line it’s never doubt the Vikings.

Valencia trailed Canyon by 22 points late in the third quarter at Valencia High on Friday before a train of momentum hit the Cowboys in the form of 29-straight Viking points in Valencia’s incredible 35-28 win.

“Resilience and our team had heart and all the work we put in paid off,” said Valencia linebacker Justin Son, who blocked a punt that began the momentum swing and also made the game-ending tackle, on his team’s win.

Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay drove the Cowboys (6-2 overall, 2-1 Foothill League) deep into Valencia territory and faced a fourth-and-goal from the Valencia 15-yard line with 14.5 seconds to play in the game.

He took the snap and looked quickly for a receiver.

Son was glued to Liam Cabrera, who had 13 catches for 201 yards in the game. Then he broke off as soon as he saw Apsay tuck the ball and run.

Apsay met Son with his shoulder down at the 5-yard line, but the Vikings senior linebacker took the senior quarterback down.

“As I was bringing him down I was thinking this is the greatest feeling,” Son said.

For Canyon, it was close to the worst.

The Cowboys were stunned afterward.

“Little mistakes. It’s the little things that count,” said Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez on why Canyon fell apart.

The Cowboys built a 28-6 lead through the game’s first 27 minutes.

Apsay (29-of-43, 419 yards and two touchdown passes), whose footwork, poise and smart decisions troubled Valencia, connected with running back Elijah Williams on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 9:12 to play in the third, giving the Cowboys a 28-6 lead.

To that point, Valencia (6-2, 3-0) had little in the way of offense.

Canyon defensive lineman Phil Dent had three of six sacks and Zach Cuha intercepted a second-quarter Jake Wallace pass.

The game turned on a special teams play, though.

Apsay misfired on a third-and-1 pass with three minutes to play in the third quarter on his own 31-yard line and the Cowboys were whistled for a personal foul on the play.

That backed them up to their own 16.

On the ensuing punt, Son split the line from the center and blocked the kick.

The ball bounced high and into the waiting arms of Nick Jones for a touchdown, cutting Canyon’s lead to 28-13.

“The blocked punt didn’t help,” Gutierrez said.

Then the Viking offense let loose.

Wallace connected with Jay Jay Wilson on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 35-yard touchdown.

Canyon stalled on its next drive and on the ensuing punt, Malik Townsend returned it 60 yards, setting up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Wallace to Ethan Yoo.

With a 2-point conversion pass to Jones, the score was tied 28-28 with 8:31 to play.

Apsay drove Canyon down again with his feet and his arm.

Canyon got to the Vikings 2-yard line and handed to Williams, who kept fighting forward with the ball extended, but a Viking slapped the ball out of his hands and the Vikings recovered the fumble on their own 2-yard line.

Valencia’s defense perked up in the second half and finished the game with eight sacks — four by Jordan Nguyen.

The next biggest play of the game happened on the first play of the next drive.

Wallace dropped back and angled the ball on a line to Jones who raced down the sideline for the game-winning 98-yard touchdown.

“It was speed and go. They were biting on the screen and it was a great throw,” said Jones, the defending Foothill League 400-meter champion in track and field.

Canyon’s Foothill League championship hopes aren’t dashed, though.

The Cowboys still play undefeated Hart in their league finale.

They have to root for the Indians to beat Valencia next week.

The Vikings will go in as the underdog.

But there’s something about the Vikings.

You can never doubt them.



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