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Valencia ends the drama

Highly touted Vikings come back from deficit late in the game to defeat Thousand Oaks on the road

Posted: September 12, 2009 12:02 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.
THOUSAND OAKS – You could not ask for much more drama in Valencia’s season opener.

But with Vikings senior Zach Tartabull’s diving interception in the final minute of the game, Valencia beat Thousand Oaks 39-36 thanks to junior running back Steven Manfro’s 319 total yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns Friday night at Thousand Oaks High.

The Vikings’ final touchdown, a 2-yard keeper by senior quarterback Alex Guerra with 1:14 left in the game, completed a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback.

Guerra subbed for starter Alex Bishop for just the one play.

“They put you through the ringer and you pull it out,” said Vikings head coach Larry Muir to his team after the game. “Holy cow, you reached down in your heart and pulled it out.”

Manfro was one player who did just that, highlighting his stellar evening with a 45-yard run on the game-winning drive, carrying five visible Lancers before being pulled down.

“That was my coming out party,” he said. “I’m not going to go down by one guy, not two, not three, four or five.”

The 5-foot-10-inch, 176-pound junior took a 28-yard touchdown pass from junior Bishop to begin the comeback in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to 36-32 with 5:59 remaining in the fourth.

The Vikings capitalized on a key fumble recovered on Thousand Oaks’ previous possession.

Manfro also recorded rushing touchdowns of 18 and 20 yards in the second and third quarters, respectively. He ran for 219 yards on 23 carries.

Manfro was matched early on by Lancers quarterback Avondre Bollar, who passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 45 yards and one score.

Meanwhile, Thousand Oaks running back Rickey Minyard also helped expose tackling deficiencies in the Vikings defense. He rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown, including a 78 yarder. He also scored on 30-yard pass from Bollar to open the day’s scoring before leaving the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.

“You know, it was attention to detail,” Minyard said. “The coach talked about it all week. We know we have the talent, the blocking scheme. We just let it slip away.”

Coming out of halftime tied 14-14, the two teams traded touchdowns, but the Lancers surged to a 36-26 lead following a Bollar touchdown pass to wide receiver Bobby Mullaney and a one-yard scoring rush from the dual-threat quarterback with 9:42 in the fourth.

But the Vikings were able to regroup following Mullaney’s fumble with 6:50 in the game, thanks in large part to Bishop, who threw for 278 yards and touchdowns to wide receiver Brock Vereen and Manfro.

Bishop also rushed for 53 yards and a score.

“We have to build on that resiliency, that toughness, that perseverance,” Muir said. “We still have a tremendous amount of things to correct.”


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