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MATT MASIN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Valencia's Jacob Briggs puts down a stiff arm on Laguna Hills' Nathan Montes during a nonleague game between Valencia and Laguna Hills at Laguna Hills on Friday.

Valencia runs past Laguna Hills in battle of unbeatens

STAFF WRITER

LAGUNA HILLS – While having one clear-cut feature running back is always nice, having two complementary backs sharing the workload can ease a coach’s mind.

Valencia coach Mike Marrujo has that luxury with Jahquon Speed and Darren Sandoval and he put it to good use as the Tigers earned a workmanlike 35-0 win over Laguna Hills in a nonleague game at Laguna Hills High on Friday night.

Speed scored two first-half touchdowns and the backs combined for 182 yards on 23 carries.

“We want to be balanced and we were able to do that tonight,” Marrujo said. “It was a really good way to finish our nonleague schedule. I’m pleased with our effort and we came out OK, health-wise.”

The Tigers found as much success through the air. Quarterback Tyler Switzer completed 7 of 10 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Chach Ben-Yisrael was on the receiving end of all three and finished with five catches for 163 yards.

Valencia’s win slows a storybook start for Laguna Hills, which suffered its first loss. Mitch O’Hair, who had been efficient in managing the Hawks’ first four games, was under pressure most of the night and completed just 3 of 13 passes for 55 yards. He also threw his first two interceptions.

The Hawks (4-1) totaled 100 offensive yards. Bear Sutton gained 37 yards on seven carries, the bulk of which came in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

“We just got overmatched tonight,” Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said. “We were a little mismatched up-front. It’s an eye-opener and we can use this to get ready for league play next week.”

Valencia (5-0) set the tone early. On the Tigers’ second play from scrimmage, Switzer connected with Ben-Yisrael for an 87-yard touchdown catch and run. Following a three-and-out by the Hawks, Speed capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run.

In the second quarter, Ben-Yisrael added a 28-yard touchdown catch and Speed pounded in a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left.

Speed finished with 11 rushes for 84 yards, and Sandoval added 12 rushes for 98 yards.

Laguna Hills had chances for points in each half. In the second quarter, defensive end Adam Rink clipped Switzer’s arm on a throw and the ball was picked off by Zac Crowe, setting up the Hawks at the Tigers’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, O’Hair was picked off by Mason Paine at the Tigers’ 2-yard line.

In the second half, O’Hair took a shot downfield to a wide-open Christian Ferrara, but the pass dropped to the turf, incomplete.

Contact the writer: npercy@ocregister.com


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