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Respect Valencia

The Vikings have a huge night defensively in the quarterfinals

Posted: November 28, 2008 10:18 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Valencia running back Jordan Thompson (33) breaks the tackle of Westlake's Beau Poliakin (27) early in the second quarter Friday to score Valencia's second of five first-half touchdowns.

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WESTLAKE - It took all of six game minutes and one possession for Valencia to get on the scoreboard.

It wasn't much longer until the game got out of hand.

The Vikings went on to rout Westlake 55-26 in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs on Friday night at Westlake High.

Valencia will play Moorpark next Friday in the semifinals.

The Musketeers were 6-0 winners over Atascadero Friday night.

But Valencia had its own defensive tour-de-force.

The highlights for the Vikings were their nine sacks on Westlake quarterback Nick Isham.

Isham was unable to duplicate his success from Westlake's Nov. 21, 36-35 win over Oxnard in the first round where he went 24-of-39 for 359 yards and scored the winning touchdown.

Valencia's formidable defense held Isham to 16-of-30 for 185 yards and an interception.

"(Defensive coordinator) Robert Waters did a great job in his game plan as far as blitzes and mixing up the blitzes," said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. "We knew we needed to put the pressure on him and keep them out of rhythm. On both sides, the offensive and defensive lines made the difference."

The play that made the most noise for the Vikings came when linebacker Drew LaVoise returned a fumble recovery 33 yards for a touchdown.

That was followed directly by a Brock Vereen interception which led to a 25-yard score.

"We didn't do a good job at getting out of bad plays and into something that would help us," said Westlake head coach Jim Benkert. "They got good, big plays out of their blitz package and we weren't able to make adjustments and make those things happen."

Quarterback Dominick Solley opened the Vikings scoring with a 3-yard run with 5:37 left to go in the first quarter. He followed it up with a 1-yard keeper with 57 seconds left in the first and Valencia led 14-0.

Solley finished the contest 12-of-18 for 216 yards.

Junior wide receiver Zach Tartabull got in on the Vikings scoring action as well.

Tartabull received a 26-yard bullet pass from Solley and dove into the end zone with 6:40 left in the first half and Valencia led 28-6.

Tartabull finished the game with six receptions for 113 yards.

"We knew what we had to do to win," Tartabull said. "We prepared all week long. We're just going to play hard for the rest of the season."

Tartabull said entering Friday's contest he had last year's quarterfinal loss to Newbury Park on his mind.
He was determined to not see a repeat.

"We said this is not going to happen again," he said. "We're going to take this all the way. Coach told us ‘Do you want this to happen again?' and we said, ‘No, it's not going to happen again.'"

This is the second consecutive year the Warriors have been knocked out of the second round.

This time last season, Westlake lost to St. Bonaventure.

"They're a good football team and they do some good things," Benkert said of Valencia. "We really felt like we needed to play a flawless game. But we made quite a few mistakes and Valencia had the flawless game."

The Warriors had a ray of light in running back Justin Lilley who kept the team alive.

The 5-foot-10-inch tailback scored two times and had six carries for 83 yards.

wmcneal@the-signal.com


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