The Valencia Vikings captured a share of their fifth straight Foothill League crown with a hard fought 24-19 victory over the previously unbeaten Hart Indians Friday night at the College of the Canyons.
The Vikings took the early lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior Jake Wallace to junior Jay Jay Wilson that was set up by some big plays by senior Malik Townsend.
Hart quickly responded with a drive that was capped off with a short touchdown run by standout junior quarterback Brady White to tie the game 7-7.
Valencia vs Hart: Full Game Highlight Mix
Valencia relied on a heavy dose of Wilson out of the backfield to move the ball. Facing a fourth down on the Indians 19-yard line, Valencia playmaker Nick Jones stepped up with a sweet touchdown catch to give the Vikings a 14-7 advantage midway through the second quarter. An interception by senior Alex Tapia set the Vikings up with great field position. A short touchdown run by Wilson cashed in the turnover and gave Valencia a 21-7 at the half.
Nick Jones: 2014 WR Game Highlights
Valencia added a field goal that extended the lead to 24-7 early in the third quarter. Hart moved the ball deep into Viking territory but Nick Jones, in his first start on defense, came up with a ridiculous one-handed interception in the end zone to halt the Indians drive.
True to form, Hart rallied back into the game, displaying tremendous resiliency and character. A touchdown run by Connor Wingenroth cut the deficit to 24-13 early in the fourth quarter. Shortly after, White connected with Trent Irwin on a long touchdown strike that sent the Hart faithful into a frenzy.
Trailing 24-19, Hart had the chance to take the lead on another pinpoint bomb from White to Irwin but Irwin was unable to hang on to the ball. It's a catch he probably makes 99 out of 100 times. The Indians dropped a few well thrown balls on the night. Despite the setback, the Hart defense did their part and forced a punt.
With less than five minutes to go, the Indians took over and marched down the field but the Vikings defense held firm and sacked White on fourth down to preserve the victory. The Valencia defense, led by the stellar play of Josh Stanton and Justin Son, had nine sacks on the evening.
Valencia improves to 7-2, 4-0 in Foothill League play and can win the title outright with a victory over Golden Valley next week. Hart suffers its first loss of the season, falling to 8-1 in lieu of a tough road contest at Canyon next Friday to close out the regular season.