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Benigno Does It All, Brea Blasts Valencia


Brea Olinda's Ron Benigno provided plenty of big plays and excitement in his team's 38-14 Orange League victory over host Valencia Friday.

Benigno caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Travis Blood, had two interceptions--returning one for a touchdown--and also recovered a fumble to lead a Brea defense that forced four turnovers. Brea's Deonta Birdsong also returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown.

Brea (5-1, 1-0 in league) kept Valencia (3-3, 0-1) in check for most of the night, except for two touchdown bombs Tiger quarterback Jason Annis delivered in a wild second quarter in which the teams scored 38 points.

"I thought that was our best game of the season," Brea Olinda Coach Jon Looney said. "Take away those two big plays of theirs . . . "

And Brea dominated the game.

Aside from Annis' 40-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Johnson and his 56-yard touchdown pass to Giovanni Alvarez-Meza, Valencia managed only 123 yards of offense through three quarters while falling behind by 24 points.

And Brea jumped to the big lead with its leading rusher hobbled.

Scott Lieng, who entered the game with 631 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, managed only 52 yards in 15 carries on an injured ankle, Looney said.

So the Wildcats turned to their defense and Blood, who completed six of 11 passes for 128 yards. The two scoring passes to Benigno give Blood 14 touchdown passes for the season.

But it all started with the defense.

Valencia trailed, 7-0, when it drove deep into Brea territory early in the second quarter. But Birdsong ended the drive with an interception at the Brea eight and his 92-yard return gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead with 8 minutes 57 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Brea made it 21-0 after Benigno jumped up between Valencia's Tony Rubalcaba and Johnson and snagged a 42-yard bomb from Blood in the end zone with 6:26 remaining in the second quarter.

Although Valencia got back within 21-14 on the touchdown passes to Johnson and Alvarez-Meza, Benigno took away the Tigers' momentum heading into halftime.

After Brea's Jeff Marshall kicked a 41-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining in the second quarter to make it 24-14, Valencia tried to make one more big play. But Benigno intercepted Annis' pass near midfield and returned it for another Brea score and a 31-14 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the first half.

In another Orange League game:

Magnolia 27, Anaheim 24--The Sentinels (4-2, 1-0) extended the Colonists' losing streak to 17 games.

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