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Vikes keep rolling against Cubs

Valencia capitalizes on favorable field position against Loyola to build first-half lead at Los Ange

Posted: October 10, 2009 11:58 p.m.
Updated: October 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia continued its perfect season with a 35-14 victory over Loyola at Los Angeles Valley College Saturday night.

The Vikings (5-0) were led by a 200-yard passing effort from quarterback Alex Bishop, who also completed 14-of-17 passes and a pair of touchdown throws.

“I thought Alex was outstanding tonight,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “As we have gone through pre-league play, I think Alex has shown the ability to not only help his teammates be playmakers, but for him to be a playmaker himself.”

The Cubs (2-3) broke through first when Jared Baker scampered into the end zone from 5 yards out with 9:43 to go in the second quarter. The ensuing point after gave Loyola a 7-0 lead.

But the Cubs were never on top again.

Valencia’s offense began to click after a 19-yard touchdown pass from running back Steven Manfro to Matt Nyberg to even the score at the 7:07 mark. Manfro  pounded home a touchdown run from the 1-yard line to give Valencia a 14-7 edge with 5:29 remaining in the first half.

The drive was set up by a fumble recovery by Ryan Wermich, which gave the Vikings the ball on the Loyola 32 yard line.

The Vikings made it a two score lead when Bishop hooked up with Max Rodriguez for a 21-yard touch down pass with 3:41 remaining to make it 21-7 on the first play after a bad snap gave Valencia the ball deep in Loyola territory.

“I feel like we missed some opportunities tonight,” said Loyola quarterback Jerry Neuheisel. “We had a couple of balls dropped in the end zone, and they made the most of their chances where we missed ours.”

Loyola got back within seven points with a methodical, five-minute drive that was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Baker to make it a 21-14 game with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

Valencia answered with a plodding drive of their own, eating up nearly five minutes before Zach Tartabull made a diving catch in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard score, putting Valencia on top 28-14 at the 8:10 mark.

“I was just 100 percent focused on the ball,” Tartabull said of his reception. “I was grateful to pull it in because it set us up to get the win. I think I started to think we were going to win this game in the fourth quarter, and that catch was a big part of it.”

Tartabull led the Vikings with 71 receiving yards on three catches, while Manfro paced the ground game with 98 yards on 19 carries.

Manfro capped the night’s scoring with his second trip into the end zone, busting a 44-yard run to push the score to 35-14 with less than a minute on the clock.

“Our defense did a great job, which allowed us to get into control of the game,” Muir said. “Tonight everyone from one to 52 contributed. It was a total team effort.”

Loyola was led by seven catches and 113 yards from Nat Bellamy, while Neuheisel topped the 200 yard mark.

The win capped a perfect pre-Foothill League run for Valencia, which plays at  Canyon next week.

“We look at it like we are 0-0 now,” Muir said. “We have had some success this year, but it doesn’t mean anything now. It is still a growing process, and we are focused on making the next step as we head into a new part of our season.”



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