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Bell Rings Up Venice, 29-3, to Advance to Semifinals


Bell High quarterback Gus Valenzuela said his team wasn't quite focused against Venice on Wednesday night. But it was hard to find fault with the Eagles in their 29-3 victory in the City Section 3-A quarterfinal playoff game at Bell.

Bell outgained the Gondoliers, 343-39, in offensive yardage and had four sacks. Cornerbacks Omar Guerrero and Dulio Orellana also intercepted a pass each to help the Eagles advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1984.

Valenzuela completed nine of 17 passes for 133 yards, six to Dicky Purcell for 86 yards and touchdown, to raise his season total to 1,889 yards.

"Out heads were out of it," Valenzuela said. "We didn't play to our potential."

Bell didn't need to thanks to the play of Venice's special teams.

Punting deep in their own territory, the Gondoliers snapped the ball out of the end zone to give Bell a 2-0 lead midway through the first quarter. After the free-kick, the Eagles drove 56 yards to increase their lead to 9-0 on an 11-yard pass from Valenzuela to Purcell.

A three-yard punt in the third quarter gave the Eagles' possession at the Venice 20-yard line. Bell needed only three plays to increase its lead to 29-0 on a two-yard run by Vern Benard.

Benard and fullback Juan Diaz rushed for two touchdowns each. Benard rushed for 101 yards in 16 carries to surpass the 100-yard mark for the seventh time this season and Diaz gained 70 yards in nine tries.

"Our defense gave the offense good field position," Bell Coach Henry Santiago said. "We were trying to read them and mix it up on defense. We just took what they gave us."

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