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Vikings football looks for seconds

Thousand oaks (5-5) at Valencia (10-0), 7 p.m.

Posted: November 19, 2009 9:14 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Valencia's Brock Vereen (21) hauls in an interception in last Friday's matchup with West Ranch. The Vikings won 49-10, and start the playoffs tonight against Thousand Oaks.

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Valencia football had one close call this season — and it was against tonight’s opponent in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

The Vikings rematch with Thousand Oaks tonight at Valencia High at 7 p.m.

The first time around, Valencia needed a last-minute touchdown to defeat the Lancers 39-36 in Thousand Oaks on Sept. 11.

Valencia (10-0) will go with the fact that it was the first game of the season and its practice schedule was thrown off by the Station Fire.

Nonetheless, Thousand Oaks (5-5) has been a tough team all year.

The Lancers’ five losses are all against playoff teams with three coming against top seeds in the Northern Division postseason — Valencia, Westlake and Moorpark.

But Valencia has soared since the game.

Its next-closest contests were 35-14 victories over Palmdale and Loyola.

“I think there was a lot of growth in that game,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir of the first meeting with Thousand Oaks. “A lot of going back and attention to details. These are basic things we need to do well, but give the kids credit.”

Valencia has a couple of advantages in this game.

It’s at home.

But more importantly, Thousand Oaks junior quarterback Avondre Bollar’s status for the game is up in the air.

Bollar suffered an ankle injury in last Friday’s 28-17 loss to Newbury Park.

The Signal attempted to reach Thousand Oaks head coach Mike Leibin multiple times for an update on his status, but messages were not returned.

If the Lancers are without Bollar, they are missing a dynamic player who has passed for 1,676 yard and rushed for 597.

Against Valencia, he threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Whoever the quarterback is, Muir said Valencia has to limit receivers Richard and Bobby Mullaney.

Richard Mullaney caught 71 passes for 864 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

On top of that, running back Rickey Minyard rushed for 740 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

On the defensive side of the ball, Richard Mullaney had seven interceptions and Daniel Miller collected 11 sacks.

But no team has been able to stop Valencia’s offense this season.

The Vikings scored 49 points in four of their five Foothill League games, en route to the league title.

They’re averaging 48 points per game.

Defensively, they’re giving up only 12.6 per game.

“You look at us across the board, we’re very balanced — the skill positions, linebackers, linemen, upperclassmen versus lowerclassmen. We have playmakers on both sides of the ball,” Muir said.

If there are any issues, it’s on special teams.

In the Vikings’ 49-10 win against West Ranch last Friday, the Valencia special teams allowed kick returns of 32 and 37 yards in the first quarter, then touched a punt in the second quarter allowing West Ranch to recover.

Despite that, Valencia is favored to win the game.

A second-round matchup would pit the Vikings against the Buena-Atascadero winner.

Either way, Valencia would be on the road.



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