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In pursuit of perfect

Posted: October 1, 2009 9:46 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia quarterback Alex Bishop tosses a pass Sept. 18 at Valencia High. Bishop has thrown for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

In Valencia football’s last two games, it has outscored opponents 76-14, then gone into a bit of a second-half cruise control.

Other than some tweaks here and there and the second-half slowdown, the Vikings (3-0) are sound.

They go into tonight’s 7 p.m. home game expected to continue their roll against 1-2 Santa Monica High.

Yet Valencia head coach Larry Muir said there are things his team needs to worry about with Santa Monica’s Vikings.

“They are a very well-disciplined team. Their defense flies to the ball. They’re in the right position a lot of times,” Muir said.

They’re going to have to be if Valencia duplicates last week’s performance.

Valencia went up 27-7 by halftime at Palmdale with very few hiccups.

Running back Steven Manfro lost a fumble on the game’s first offensive play, and Valencia fumbled again later but recovered it.

Valencia slowed in the second half, but by halftime the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division’s third-ranked team had 294 yards of total offense — 212 coming from the arm of Alex Bishop.

Bishop’s efficiency this year has been incomparable in terms of the Santa Clarita Valley’s other signal callers.

He is completing 75 percent of his passes and has 10 touchdowns to just one interception.

Muir acknowledged that Bishop deserves a lot of the credit for the offense’s success, but pointed to the team’s receiving corps as well.

Senior Zach Tartabull hauled in six passes for 69 yards and two scores in last week’s 35-14 victory over Palmdale.

And the defense limited the Palmdale offense and the highly-respected running ability of quarterback Josh Shaw.

Shaw had runs of 17, 11 and 43 yards in the game. On his other 12 carries, he managed just nine yards.

Valencia will have to repeat if not better that performance against Santa Monica.

Santa Monica (1-2) has three players with over 148 rushing yards on the season, including quarterback Garrett Safron, who is completing 70 percent of his passes.

The team’s top rusher is Brandon Taylor a 5-foot-11-inch, 196-pound junior.

Taylor has 237 yards on 31 carries and four touchdowns, yet 135 of those yards and three of those scores came in one game.

Muir said a pair of linebackers stand out for Santa Monica in Keelan Malone and Luke Zelon.

Malone, a 6-foot-1-inch 238-pound middle backer is the team leader with 39 tackles and outside linebacker Zelon, at 6 foot 3 inches and 219 pounds, is third with 35 tackles.

Valencia hasn’t had much trouble scoring this season, though, averaging over 43 points per contest.

There is room for improvement though, Muir said.

He noted the play on the lines and in the secondary as a couple of those things.

While Valencia is in the best shape of any Santa Clarita Valley team, recordwise.

The expectations are even higher, though.

“We’re getting there,” Muir said.



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