Valencia High football knew it needed to neutralize Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks’ running game Friday night at Valencia High School.
The Vikings’ defense was more than up to the task, taking away the strongest aspect of the Knights’ offense in a 34-3 CIF-Southern Section Division 2 first round playoff win.
“They do a good job of running the ball all over the place,” said Valencia coach Larry Muir. “Defensively, you have to play great on the inside and on the edge as well, and we did that.”
Notre Dame (5-6) started the night with a 20-yard run from quarterback Noah Taylor, but was held to 92 total rushing yards on the night.
Running back Moises Haynes anchored the Valencia ground game without Jayvaun Wilson, who didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury. Haynes responded with 128 yards on 23 carries and the game’s first score on a 2-yard touchdown run.
Up 27-3 in the third quarter, a fumbled snap on a Vikings punt gave Notre Dame the ball on the Valencia 14 yard line. The Knights gained only 5 yards before a McKel Broussard fumble, recovered by Josh Washington, gave Valencia the ball back.
Quarterback Aaron Thomas made Notre Dame pay on both possessions after the takeaways, tossing a 15-yard touchdown to Zion Dunson following the interception, and a 36-yard pass to Kuan Glasgow after the fumble recovery to set the final score.
“We knew that we were going to be able to pass the ball on them,” said Thomas. “We executed well and it worked out.”
On the night, Thomas went 12-of-19 for 216 yards. He threw a 5-yard touchdown to Joshua DeNeal, and a 70-yard touchdown to Dunson.
For the second straight season, Valencia advances to the second round of the postseason, where it will host Arroyo Grande High School next Friday.