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Vikings stay perfect

Vikings cruise to 4-0 with win over Santa Monica

Posted: October 2, 2009 11:42 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia linebacker Rocky Maldonado (30) sacks Santa Monica quarterback Garrett Safron (12) in the first quarter of the team's 63-7 win on Friday.

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Valencia has looked like the team to beat in the Foothill League based on pre-league performance.

Santa Monica did nothing to disprove that theory.

Running back Steven Manfro had more than 100 yards rushing by the middle of the first quarter, and Valencia scored on its first six possessions while racking up 550 yards of total offense in a 63-7 dismantling of Santa Monica Friday at Valencia High School.

"We played really well in the first quarter," Manfro said. "We were hitting really hard and doing what we were supposed to do."

Manfro raced 50 yards on the fourth play from scrimmage to score the first touchdown for Valencia (4-0), and another 50-yard run set up Valencia's third score, a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jake Reed from quarterback Alex Bishop.

In between, Bishop hit Max Rodriguez from 44 yards out, and on Valencia's fourth drive, Bishop found Zach Tartabull down the middle for a 51-yard strike to give the Vikings a 28-0 lead after the first quarter.

"For the first time this season we came out and executed," Bishop said.

Valencia's defense was equally impressive. Linebacker Rocky Maldonado forced a fumble on Santa Monica's first drive, one of four Santa Monica turnovers on the night.

Early in the second quarter, Bishop hit Rodriguez again from 33 yards out to extend the lead to 35-0, but Santa Monica (1-3) took advantage of a good kickoff return and finally responded.

Quarterback Garrett Safron tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Chris Featherstone for Santa Monica's only points.

"I had a feeling something like this might happen," said Santa Monica head coach Travis Clark. "The (Valencia) kids play the way they're coached. They taught us the way to play."

Shortly before halftime, Manfro plunged into the end zone from 6 yards out, and Tartabull blocked a 21-yard field goal attempt as the clock expired.

"Zach did a great job blocking that kick and getting us back on track," said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. "You saw a lot of examples of leadership out of him tonight."

Valencia defensive lineman Ryan Wermich recovered a fumble on the first drive of the second half, but the Vikings turned the ball right back over.

Valencia lost three fumbles in the game, an area Muir said he would address.

"Ball security is something we're going to have to go back and look at," he said.

The turnovers mattered little Friday. Manfro had two separate 4-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter, and the latter was set up by a big fumble return by defensive lineman Kevin Rush.

Valencia's final touchdown came when backup quarterback Alex Guerra found pay dirt from a yard out midway through the fourth quarter.

Manfro wound up with 15 carries for 186 yards and four touchdowns, while Bishop completed 11-of-13 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns before being taken out late in the third quarter.

Tartabull had five catches for 93 yards to lead Valencia's receiving corps.

Safron completed 8-of-19 passes for 104 yards and also had 64 rushing yards.

"I'm very proud," Muir said. "The kids played well. We talked about having great focus all week, and we had it for most of the night."


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