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Will Valencia get on track?

Valencia vs. Buena preview

Posted: November 26, 2009 8:39 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
What happened?

Was it not getting a strong game from a Foothill League opponent?

Was it Thousand Oaks football just being the best team Valencia has seen in a while?

Either way, it proved something. Valencia showed vulnerability last Friday in its 28-27 win last Friday over the Lancers.

But the Vikings (11-0) realized that as they prepared for tonight’s second-round CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game against Buena at Buena High at 7 p.m.

“I think it was a mixture of complacency on our part, plus you’ve got to tip your hat to Thousand Oaks,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir.

The Vikings survived their first-round meeting with Thousand Oaks, thanks to stopping a two-point conversion with 10 seconds left in the game.

Now, though, the matchup may be a little more favorable for the Vikings.

Buena (9-2) defeated Atascadero in its first-round game 41-14.

Yet there were issues.

The game was close in the third quarter.

Atascadero’s Sterling Bullard ran for 220 yards.

And the Bulldogs rushed for only 12 yards in the game.

Valencia runs for a lot of yards.

Running back Steven Manfro has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in eight of Valencia’s 11 games, including last week’s 113-yard performance against Thousand Oaks.

Valencia’s defense is usually solid, having surrendered 14 points per game.

But vulnerability may just be from judging off the Bulldogs’ last game.

The entire body of work shows that Buena has legitimately been one of the better teams in the Northern Division.

Buena was 3-2 versus Northern Division playoff teams this season, losing games against Oxnard and St. Bonaventure.

Quarterback Robert Munoz has completed 65 percent of his passes and has 2,318 yards and 23 touchdowns to five interceptions.

Buena hasn’t made waves, though, with its running game.

Its top rusher is Kendrick Mathis with 666 yards at 4.4 yards per carry.

Muir said his team needs to be concerned with tight end Tyler Perry, who leads the team with 43 catches and seven touchdowns.

Valencia also has to be concerned with itself.

Penalties have bitten the Vikings recently and Muir noted that it was a problem last week.

Valencia also came up empty on one trip to the red zone and turned the ball over three times.

Muir said the team uncharacteristically struggled on the offensive and defensive lines as well.

Yet defensive lineman Darrol Mitchell had five sacks against Thousand Oaks.

That will have to change tonight, especially on the offensive side as the Buena defense has forced 23 turnovers and collected 22 sacks.

“We’ve got to get back and refocus on things,” Muir said. “The kids did a great job all year of preparing. I felt like we needed to dig deeper (last week).”


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