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Valencia football: simply the best

Valencia wins outright Foothill League title

Posted: November 13, 2009 11:11 p.m.
Updated: November 14, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Valencia defensive back Jabari Howard (26) intercepts a pass intended for West Ranch wide receiver Chris Kim (4) during the second quarter of Friday's game at Valencia High School. The Vikings won 49-10, securing the outright Foothill League title.

After every single Valencia football victory, the team and coaching staff circled senior defensive back/wide receiver Brock Vereen.
Vereen would then recite a poem his brother and former Vikings star Shane Vereen taught him:

“I will never give up,
Because if I do,
I will give up on those beside me.
I will never give up,
Because if I do,
I will give up on those who believe in me.

When the Viking next to me is down,
I’ll pick him up
And he the same.

I will never give up,
I’ll fight ’til the end
And we will win.

This I promise.”

Promise kept.

Valencia defeated West Ranch 49-10 Friday night at Dr. Paul A. Priesz Stadium, becoming the first Vikings team to ever go undefeated in the regular season.

The Vikings (10-0, 5-0) also claimed sole possession of their first Foothill League title since 2004.

And they celebrated big time afterward.

“What you’re seeing, it’s about the long hours, hard work. We have very talented kids,” said a soaked Valencia head coach Larry Muir, who received a Gatorade shower with a minute to play in the game. “But it’s hard work put in. That’s what you’re seeing.”

Friday night was symbolic of Valencia’s dominant play through the Foothill League.

The Vikings crashed upon West Ranch like a tsunami, scoring at will and taking a 42-3 lead into halftime.

“They’re a mountain,” said West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien of the Vikings. “Whatever natural force you want to name.”

But O’Brien was quick to point out that his Wildcats tried their best to derail the runaway train early.

After Valencia’s Steven Manfro scored on a 2-yard run, West Ranch struck back and managed to get a 37-yard field goal off the foot of Brady Stuart to cut Valencia’s lead to 6-3 with 6:31 to play in the first quarter.

Then the tide rolled in.

The Vikings scored five unanswered touchdowns to close out the half — Manfro scored on runs of 51 and 8 yards, Kevin Carrington added a 1-yard run and Alex Bishop connected with Max Rodriguez for 24 yards and Zach Tartabull for 23 yards.

Bishop was 10-of-12 for 227 yards in 2 1/2 quarters of work and Manfro rushed for 183 yards on 12 carries.

Manfro’s 33-yard touchdown run with 7:46 to play in the third quarter put the Vikings up 49-3. It was his 30th touchdown of the season.

But all the credit the Vikings’ offense got this season overshadowed its defense.

The Vikings’ defense allowed only 24 points in five Foothill League games.

A 34-yard touchdown pass from West Ranch backup quarterback Tyler Killingsworth to James McGough late in the fourth quarter cut the Valencia lead to 49-10 and at the same time made West Ranch the team that scored the most on Valencia’s defense in a Foothill game.

“We always showed we could be just as important as the offense,” said Valencia defensive lineman Kevin Rush.

Rush had a sack in the game, and Brock Vereen and Jabari Howard had interceptions.

West Ranch quarterback Connor Eichten threw for 310 yards last Friday against Hart and running back Zak Snell rushed for 125.

The pair had 82 and 33 yards respectively against Valencia.

There’s a thinking though, that Valencia hasn’t been challenged much this season. And now it’s heading to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs as one of its top seeds.

The Vikings breezed through the Foothill League and faced so-so opponents in the preleague season.

Vereen had an answer to that.

“With the intensity we practice with, we challenge each other every day,” Vereen.



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