Video: California's Top 5 Games of the Week
Valley Christian at Serra is one of the top 5 games of the week.
The Padres have won 10, Valley Christian 9. The accumulative score: Serra 493, Valley Christian 481.
They figure to play another tight one 2 p.m. Saturday, when second-ranked Warriors travel to No. 3 Serra each sporting 8-0 and 5-0 records. The WCAL title and No. 1 seed in the Central Coast Section Division I playoffs are on the line.
Serra's Patrick Walsh and Valley Christian's Mike Machado have been the head coaches throughout the series. Each can recall every minute detail of every game, though some are more memorable than others.
"Immaculate reception," Machado said, jumping right to the most unforgettable game, a 34-32 Valley Christian home victory in 2004.
Said Walsh: "Immaculate pain."
Valley Christian quarterback Dante Perez, all 5-foot-10, 170-pounds of him, was crunched by future Stanford linebacker Will Powers just as he unleashed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Colin Mayer on the last play of the game to clinch the WCAL title.
"I thought Powers had killed him," Machado said. "To this day I still don't know how he got rid of the pass in time."
Serra had overcome 15 penalties and deficits all day to take a 32-28 lead with 12 seconds left on a 13-yard TD pass from Jeremiah to Powers. Walsh had planned his postgame talk. "It was all about resilience and coming back," Walsh said. "I was looking for the Gatorade bath. … We had four guys surrounding (Mayer). He caught it at the 20 and we just had to tackle him. No one did."
Said Machado: "Trips right to the short side. Two receivers broke off shorter patterns, Colin went deep. When he got to the end zone, our entire student body stormed the field. It was bedlam."
Said Walsh: "I don't remember the fans on the field because I was sprawled out crying."
It was much different two years earlier in the teams' first meeting. Serra prevailed 7-6 to tie for the league title, its first of any kind in 30 years.
"Immaculate interception," Walsh said.
Angelo Fobbs-Valentino intercepted Tyler Mariucci, son of former 49ers' coach Steve Mariucci, in the end zone with 1:22 left to preserve the win. An 86-yard second-quarter kickoff return for touchdown by Chris Denny-Brown was Serra's only points.
"We couldn't do anything against them," Walsh said. "They had Jeff Schweiger who to this day may be the most dominating defensive player we've ever faced. But we had Chris' kick return and Angelo saved the day."
Mariucci had drove the Warriors down the field beautifully on the last possession and got it to the Serra 17. Valley Christian could have won the outright title, but had to share it with the Padres.
Valley Christian, which outgained Serra 281-174, had to settle for two earlier field goals Casey Bronzovic. He never got to try for a third field thanks to Fobbs-Valentino.
"Not my finest hour," Machado said. "But we've had plenty of good ones over the years."
This year especially. The Warriors have outscored opponents 272-45, recording three shutouts, while Serra has a 335-119 margin of victory.
Valley Christian rarely turns the ball over and relies on its running game led by speedy Isaiah McElvane
(105 carries, 692 yards, four touchdowns) and rugged Chase Laubach
(75, 672, 7). The run sets up senior quarterback Cory Taylor
(52 of 81, 977 yards, 11 touchdowns, three interceptions), whose favorite target is one of the best freshmen in the state, in Jurrion Dickey
(17 catches, 360 yards, five touchdowns).
"Offensively, they have home run hitters with the ability for huge plays in the pass game," Walsh said. "Defensively, they are simply fast and physical."
The Padres have been dynamic on offense, but they lost they're No. 1 threat in senior quarterback Daylin Mclemore
, who broke his left (non-throwing) collarbone last week in a 35-7 win over Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Sophomore Dominique Lampkin
is pretty dynamic himself, especially running the ball, as he showed in relief last week with rushing TDs of 45 and 25 yards. He also threw for a score.
He has a lot of weapons, including tailbacks
and Vince Poni
and wide receiver Terence Loville
"Certainly Daylin is a big loss who could do a lot of things," Machado said. "But this Lampkin kid can really hurt you with his legs, and his arm. We're planning to defend them exactly the same."
Said Walsh: "Everyone around (Lampkin) has to pick up the flag now. It can't all come down to Dom. He needs to understand that he has several solid Padres around he and he doesn't need to do everything. To me, that's the key to his game."