The game: Offensive balance and a solid defense led Villa Park to the win over Valencia in a CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division second-round playoff game at El Modena High. Both teams were 11-0 going into the game. Spartans running back Ramon Chaves powered his way to 85 yards including a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs. Nick Sipe completed 15 of 22 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Brennan Corbin caught one of the touchdowns, for 76 yards. Jake Ruiz caught the other, for 23 yards. Villa Park had a 28-8 lead at halftime. The Spartans offense produced no points in the second half, but that was OK because their defense shut out Valencia’s offensive in the second half. The only second-half points were provided by Valencia defensive back Mason Paine who returned an interception 78 yards for a touchdown.
Key to the game: Turnovers. At this point of the season, the team that makes fewer mistakes than its opponent will usually win. Villa Park made fewer turnovers.
Player of the game: How about a unit of the game? That would be the Villa Park offensive line of Brandon Ortiz, Shane Darsow, Carlos Trellez, Malik Banks and Jeremy Caballero with plenty of assistance from tight end Caleb Johnson.
Key stat: Villa Park commited one turnover to Valencia’s three.
They said it: Villa Park linebacker John Stamos, on the Spartans being 12-0 for the first time since 1968: “It’s a great feeling, being part of school history.”
What it means: Villa Park advances to the semifinals in which the Spartans will play top-seeded La Habra. Playing the Highlanders is challenge enough; that the game is at La Habra, where the Highlanders are extra tough, makes it a larger challenge.