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Valencia soars past Falcons

Vikings are able to contain Palmdale star Shaw while Bishop spreads the ball around in an impressi

Posted: September 25, 2009 11:49 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

PALMDALE — After Valencia defeated Palmdale Friday night 35-14 at Jim Riewer Field, an Antelope Valley radio announcer provided a little more color as he walked off the field.

He approached Vikings junior quarterback Alex Bishop and said:

“Bishop. That was great. The way you moved around and looked so smooth.”

Bishop wasn’t just smooth. He was efficient, completing 16-of-21 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. By halftime, he had 212 yards.

“That’s a great Palmdale team,” Bishop said. “I was just waiting for my guys to make plays.”

The Vikings (3-0) made the big plays in the game, something they didn’t want Palmdale’s Josh Shaw to do.

The quarterback/defensive back/kick returner was held in check until the fourth quarter, when he made his biggest gains on the ground.

But Shaw, one of the nation’s top recruits at defensive back, threw three interceptions in the game, including two picked off by Valencia’s Brock Vereen.

By the end of the game, Shaw was gassed, walking off the field with a limp.

“A little too much,” said Palmdale head coach Jeff Williams when asked how much Shaw did in the game. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

Shaw was 14-of-27 for 214 yards and rushed for 80 yards on 13 carries.

Yet 43 of those yards came on a fourth-quarter dash.

“The big thing was run or pass, limit the big plays,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “For the most part we did.”

Yet Valencia got off to a shaky start.

Junior running back Steven Manfro fumbled on the game’s first offensive play, giving the Falcons (1-2) the ball on the Vikings’ 28-yard line.

Five plays later, Palmdale running back Joey Garba put the Falcons up 7-0 with a two-yard score.

But Manfro made up for the mistake throughout the game, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the third consecutive game.

Manfro dragged defenders across the field all night with a 21-carry, 140-yard effort on the ground.

He scored a 5-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter that put the Vikings up 21-7 and set up their second score late in the first quarter after taking a screen pass from Bishop 40 yards.

Bishop would connect with receiver Zach Tartabull on a 14-yard pass to put Valencia up 14-7 with 1:24 to play in the first quarter.

Prior to that, Bishop connected on a fourth-and-5 to Max Rodriguez for a 28-yard touchdown that evened the score at 7-7 with 8:01 to play in the first quarter.

Valencia closed out the first half up 27-7 when Bishop connected with Matt Nyberg on a 34-yard touchdown pass.

Shaw finally scored on an 11-yard run on the opening play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 27-14, but the Vikings answered on their next drive with Bishop’s fourth touchdown pass, a 21-yard toss to Vereen. Manfro ran in the two-point conversion to set the score at 35-14.

After the fumble, the game was never in jeopardy for the Vikings.

Yet there were little things they reflected on after the game — blown coverages, penalties and the like.

So the question is, if they play a perfect game, how good can they be?

“It’s hard to find out,” Bishop said. “It’ll be interesting to find out when we play mistake-free.”



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