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Valencia faces a foe in turmoil

Posted: October 9, 2009 11:52 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
It’s been an interesting week for Valencia’s opponent tonight.

Loyola of Los Angeles’ head coach Jeff Kearin resigned Oct. 2.

Word is, it sort of came out of the blue.

The Cubs (2-2) named 24-year-old Adam Guerra the interim head coach.

Not only do the Cubs have to deal with the distractions, but they have to deal with a Valencia team (4-0) tonight at 7 p.m. at Los Angeles Valley College that is the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division’s No. 2-ranked team.

“They’re a resilient bunch, mentally tough kids, which is how we train them,” said Guerra, who served as the team’s defensive coordinator. “They’ve  maintained their focus. The weekend and Monday were obviously when they were most distracted.”

At this point, Guerra said, his team just wants to get on with the game.

He said they won’t be reinventing the wheel.

One of the only major changes is Guerra is now the team’s offensive coordinator.

Kearin was in that role before his resignation.

With the coaching change comes mystery, the Valencia coaching staff noted.

In some ways, Loyola’s season starts fresh.

“You don’t know how they’ll react,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir.

Valencia’s issues have been solved for the most part.

Muir was bothered by penalties and inconsistencies early on, but the Vikings have rolled past their last three opponents.

Last week’s 63-7 victory over Santa Monica was not much of a test.

Yet Muir said it did show that Valencia is progressing from week to week.

“We played better than the week before,” he said. “We took a step forward as a team.”

A victory over Loyola, then, might be considered a leap.
Loyola is just four spots below Valencia in Calpreps.com’s state rankings at No. 37.

Despite losing highly recruited tailback Anthony Barr to a broken ankle earlier in the season, junior running back Jared Baker has stepped up in his absence. Baker has 434 rushing yards this season, including a 203-yard performance Sept. 25 in a 21-10 win over St. John Bosco.

Quarterbacking the team’s ball-control offense is Jerry Neuheisel, the son of UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel.

Defensively, Guerra said the team has received big contributions from 285-pound lineman Colin Tanigawa and linebacker Bronson Green.

Guerra said a major key for his team is stopping Valencia’s running game, something no team has been able to do this season.

Steven Manfro has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in every game this season.

Against Santa Monica, Manfro ran for 186 yards on 15 carries, scoring four touchdowns.

Manfro is averaging 10.3 yards per carry this season.

Defensively, the Vikings had six sacks last week, three by Ryan Wermich.

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