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Valencia football: Defense is not enough

Valencia puts together another impressive defensive effort, but it’s not enough to tame Loyola

Posted: October 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The Loyola High football team jumped out of the gate quickly on Saturday night at Los Angeles Valley College, using a 67-yard kickoff return to start its first offensive set deep in Valencia territory.

And that was a pattern that doomed the Vikings, as the Cubs (5-1) defeated Valencia (2-3) 28-10 to close out the Vikings’ pre-league season.

The Valencia defense, which had only given up 34 total points in its first four games, put up another stellar performance, despite the final tally.

The Cubs accounted for just 156 total yards in the game, with Loyola quarterback Nicolas Cotton finishing with 120 yards and one touchdown on 9-of-12 pass attempts.

Valencia’s special teams gave the Cubs the ball deep in Valencia territory on three of Loyola’s five first-half drives, leading to two touchdowns and a blocked field goal attempt.

“The kicking game really put us off,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “We have a tough defense but at the same time you can’t do that.”

To start the game Loyola’s Eamon McOsker returned the kickoff 67 yards and four plays later, running back Cameron Walker scored on a four-yard run.

With 6:40 to play in the second quarter, McOsker scored on a 1-yard run after Valencia’s Garrett Mcpheeters punted the ball to his own 36-yard line.

Despite the two short-field scores though, the Vikings held the Cubs to just 74 first-half yards and kept Valencia in the game going into the half at 10-3.

“We played well defensively and special team was great,” Loyola head coach Michael Christensen said. “Valencia’s a great team. They played hard.”

The Vikings had an opportunity to get into the end zone midway through the first quarter after a 13-play drive left the ball at the Loyola 3-yard line before Valencia was forced to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Brett Schreiber.

“We had a couple opportunities,” Muir said. “We wanted to get seven, but there it was important to get points.”

The Vikings had opportunities in the second half to get back in the game as well, but penalties and a blown coverage proved costly.

The Cubs connected on a 60-yard pass from quarterback Nicolas Cotton to McOsker to the Valencia 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Two plays later the two hooked up again for a 9-yard touchdown pass to put the Cubs ahead 21-3 with 11:05 remaining.
The Vikings defense regained itself though, forcing a fumble on Loyola’s next possession to give its offense the ball at the Loyola 24-yard line.

Unfortunately, Valencia gave the ball right back as wide receiver Jake Mason couldn’t handle the handoff on an end-around and McOsker scooped the ball up and returned it 65 yards for a 28-3 lead with 7:14 remaining in the game.

McOsker would finish with 70 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and the fumble-return touchdown.

Valencia relied on its running game for the majority of the contest, as running back Cody Anciano carried the ball 19 times for 91 yards, but injured his right knee with 6:56 remaining in the game.

Back up running back junior Joey Solley filled in the rest of the way, tallying 15 carries for 89 yards and the Vikings’ only touchdown of the night when he went up the middle for a 2-yard carry with 2:28 remaining to account for the final score.

Vikings quarterback Sean Murphy accounted for 137 yards on 10-of-14 passing.

Valencia will now enter Foothill League play when they face off with West Ranch on Friday.

“Now it’s league,” Muir said. “It’s a whole new season.”


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