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Vikes get AV’s best

Posted: September 24, 2009 10:39 p.m.
Updated: September 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's defense readies for a play on Sept. 17 at Valencia High against Birmingham.

 
There is a lot of respect for Palmdale High's football program around here.

Hart's win over the Falcons on Sept. 11 was considered to be a pretty big victory.

Other coaches around the Northern Division have talked about Palmdale's abilities and athleticism.

Now Valencia gets a shot at the Falcons.

The Vikings, the No. 3 team in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division, will travel to Palmdale High to play the Western Division's No. 4 team tonight at 7 p.m.

Valencia (2-0) is coming off its best performance on the young season, a deceptive 56-31 victory over Birmingham last Thursday. It's deceptive because the Vikings were up 56-7 before their second-teamers allowed the game's final 24 points.

But Palmdale (1-1) is expected to be a challenge for the Vikings.

Why?

"Josh Shaw," said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. "His athletic ability, the things he can do with the ball, what he provides you with defense. We've got to limit the big plays. If we don't limit the big plays, we'll be in trouble."

Shaw, the Falcons' quarterback, is also one of the most coveted defensive backs by universities in the country.

With so much focus on Shaw, though, Palmdale head coach Jeff Williams said it's an advantage for his other players.

"Josh is talented, you have to take him into account when you game plan for anything," Williams said. "But we have to have other people share the load."

Offensively, that will be running back Joey Garba, who stepped in last week after regular starter Corey Washington was out with an injury.

Garba scored three touchdowns in last Friday's 45-13 win over Kennedy, including a 65-yard touchdown run.

Defensively, it's 215-pound middle linebacker Mark Hooper, who had 18 tackles in last week's game.

Surprisingly for Valencia, its the Vikings defense that is a concern for Muir - specifically a highly-touted secondary.

"I think it's a thing where in the first week, there were just a couple breakdowns," Muir said.

His concern specifically is making sure his defense forces third and longs instead of third and shorts because Palmdale, he said, could thrive on the short-yardage plays.

On offense, Valencia has been thriving, specifically in the backfield.

Junior running back Steven Manfro has had two games in a row where he has threatened the 200-yard rushing mark.

On the season, he has rushed for 376 yards, while averaging 11.8 yards per carry.

Junior quarterback Alex Bishop has thrown for 545 yards, completing 74 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

With all that, Williams said this game will be won in the trenches.

Who can limit whose big-play players and who will open holes and give time for those players?


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