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Vereen: Many happy returns

Runs back two straight kickoffs to help team ground Falcons

Posted: September 26, 2008 10:45 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Valencia's Zack Tartabull grabs a second quarter pass that led to the Vikings' first touchdown.

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Attention Foothill League, there's a new Vereen in town.

Brock Vereen, the younger brother of former Valencia High running back Shane, was at the forefront of the Vikings' 35-24 win over Palmdale High on Friday night at Paul Priesz Stadium.

Vereen was only the second player in Valencia's 14-year history to return two consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns in one game.

The 5-foot-11 receiver opened the second half with a 98-yard touchdown.

His second was a 99-yard run in the fourth quarter.

"It's a great feeling, but that record belongs to my blockers," Vereen said.

No more second fiddle for this Vereen, he's already making a name for himself on the Vikings squad.

He's humble when there's talk of comparison.

"I love my brother, he did great things. I just hope to get close to what he did," Vereen said.

Palmdale, the Golden League's defending champion, took an early lead in the first quarter after kicking a 35-yard field goal.

After two touchdowns that were called back for holding penalties, the Vikings began to make strides.

With 6:41 left in the first, Adam Gutierrez scored a 35-yard touchdown on a double pass from quarterback Alex Bishop to running back Jordan Thompson, who then pitched it to Gutierrez waiting in the end zone.

Bishop, who stepped in for an injured Dominick Solley, finished the contest 10-for-17 on 144 yards.

 

"Alex has done a really good job for us," said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. "He stepped up and took a lot on."

 

The sophomore was not Muir's first choice for the quarterback spot. Just a few weeks ago Bishop was the starting signal caller for the junior varsity squad.

However, Bishop has led the Vikings to two consecutive wins and when he got the call to step in, he was prepared.

"When Solley went down I was ready to go," Bishop said. "As a quarterback I have to stay as composed as I can. I can't lose focus and I have to trust in my players."

Thompson came back to score Valencia's second touchdown with a 9-yard run and the Vikings led 14-3.

But the Falcons weren't out yet.

They would score two more times taking the lead, 17-14 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Vikings took over.

After Vereen's 98-yard return, Valencia's defense forced three interceptions of Falcons quarterback Brandon Mims.

Mims finished the contest 8-for-19 for 160 yards. The Vikings also tamed the Falcons No. 1 rusher Marquell Jefferson who had only 12 carries for 43 yards.

Valencia and Palmdale would trade touchdowns, punts and possessions for the rest of the quarter.

After Vereen's second run to open the fourth, Valencia would score one last time with 3:45 left on the clock. It was a 10-yard pass to Zack Tartabull.

"We're growing up," Muir said. "We're slowly getting to where we need to be, but we still have a long way to go."

 

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