Valencia High School found out Friday night that the road to the Central Conference championship is not an easy one.
Taking advantage of two fourth-quarter turnovers, the Tigers came from behind to defeat Corona del Mar, 16-7, in a quarterfinal playoff game at Placentia.
The victory marks the fourth time in the past five years that Valencia (10-2), the conference's second-seeded team, has advanced to the conference's semifinal game. Next week, the Tigers will meet Pacifica. Corona del Mar, Sea View League champion, has made the playoffs 9 of the last 10 years but had its five-game winning streak snapped by Valencia.
Defense played an important role in Valencia's victory. Defensive back Guy Shepard recovered a fumble inside the Tigers' 15-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter to stop a Corona del Mar drive. Later in the fourth quarter, with 9:22 remaining, defensive back Mike Edwards stepped in front of a Sea King receiver, intercepted a pass and raced 68 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 16-7 lead.