Fullerton's Deryck Fletcher avoids Valencia's Chach Ben-Yisreal on a run during the second quarter of Friday's CIF-SS Southwest Division playoff opener at Valencia High.

Fullerton revels in playoff victory


PLACENTIA – It has been three long years since Fullerton High last celebrated a postseason victory.

While Indians coach Gus Martinez could have done without the late-game drama, he'll nevertheless relish the sweet taste of a playoff win.

James Hubbard scored three touchdowns and accounted for 229 yards of total offense for Fullerton as it narrowly escaped Valencia, 29-21, in a CIF-SS Southwest Division first-round game Friday at Valencia High.

“I'm about to collapse,” Martinez joked after the game. “It's awesome though. We've talked all year about getting back to this point. And through everything that we've been through this season, we're thrilled to be back in this position.”

Fullerton (9-2) will host Los Alamitos (9-2) next week in the quarterfinals.

“We're back to where we're supposed to be,” Martinez added.

Leading, 22-15, with just more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hubbard came in motion from his receiver spot, took a handoff from quarterback Scott Lloyd and raced 85 yards for what looked to be the game-clinching touchdown. The Indians led, 29-15, with 2:19 to play.

But on Valencia's ensuing possession, sophomore quarterback Tyler Switzer guided the Tigers' offense 80 yards in just three plays. Switzer connected with Jake Watkins on a 36-yard touchdown pass 44 seconds after Hubbard's score, cutting the Indians' lead to 29-21 with 1:35 remaining.

For the second consecutive week, Valencia (8-3) was forced to play the second half without its starting quarterback, Patrick Godoy. The junior suffered a concussion in the second quarter and watched the second half from the sideline.

Switzer relieved Godoy at the start of the third and the offense was unable to produce any points in his first five drives.

Fullerton recovered the ensuing onside kick and merely had to gain one first down to put the game out of reach.

On a second down play, Lloyd took off on a quarterback keeper and was stripped of the football. Tigers defensive back Ray Gonzales recovered the ball in midair at the Valencia 38-yard line, reclaiming possession with 45 seconds to play.

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