Valencia High coach Larry Muir made all the right calls in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division playoffs, giving the Vikings a 52-24 victory against the Arroyo Grande Eagles Friday night at Valencia High School.
“It’s the playoffs. You have to take risks,” Muir said. “You have to trust your players, they make the plays.”
The Vikings (10-2 overall) used tricks to turn the tables on the Eagles, tied 17-17 late in the second quarter. Moises Haynes took a handoff and pitched it to backup quarterback Connor Downs, who punctuated the play with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Zion Dunson.
Aaron Thomas (17-27, 228 yards and three touchdowns) then executed a perfect play-action pass for a 14-yard touchdown to Joshua DeNeal on a 30 second, four play drive, making the score 31-17.
After a DeNeal interception on the following Arroyo Grande possession, Thomas threw up a prayer as time expired in the half. The Hail Mary was answered on a 46-yard touchdown to Tim Wiggins and the Vikings went into the locker room up 38-17.
The night didn’t start off smoothly for Valencia, however. Haynes fumbled on the opening possession, giving the Eagles the ball at Valencia’s 13-yard line. A 1-yard touchdown run from Cameron Johnston gave Arroyo Grande the early 7-0 lead.
Haynes finished the night with 186 yards on 31 carries, scoring two of his three touchdowns in the second half to help turn a once tightly contested match into a blowout.
Valencia travels to San Clemente High School (9-3 overall), as the Vikings take on the Tritons.