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It's Better to Receive for Valencia's Sapp


CANYON COUNTRY — As far as openers go, Zack Sapp will certainly take the 2000 version over the one he had in 1999.

Sapp began last season as Valencia High's starting quarterback but suffered a severe ankle sprain in the first game and watched Kyle Bauer lead the team to the Southern Section Division III final.

Bauer is still the quarterback, but the fleet Sapp has become a serious threat as a wide receiver.

On Friday night at Canyon High, he caught two long touchdown passes from Bauer to help lead the Vikings to a 24-0 victory over defending Golden League champion Highland, the same team that wrecked his junior season.

"Things usually happen for a reason," said Coach Brian Stiman of Valencia. "Maybe the message is that we should have been playing him at wide receiver all along."

Last season, Valencia surged to prominence behind the play of All-American running back Manuel White and defensive standouts Ray Cassaday and Kaelen Jakes.

Jakes is back, but the Vikings showed Friday that they are so much more than a three-man show.

Marc Stockland rushed for 96 yards in 16 carries and scored on a two-yard run in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.

Bauer completed eight of 16 passes for 207 yards, including scoring passes of 78 and 32 yards to Sapp.

Will Broadous, a recruit from the basketball team, caught two passes for 58 yards, and Edwin Weathersby scored the only touchdown of the second half on a 14-yard run.

But the defense stole the show.

The front line of Jakes, Zach Gampe, Brandon Fuselier, James Lott and Jerome Castaneda served as the swatter to Highland's vaunted fly offense.

The Bulldogs managed only 108 rushing yards in 32 carries and never drove deeper than the Viking 28-yard line.

Valencia also forced four turnovers, with John Robinson recovering two fumbles and sophomore Danny Pina intercepting two passes.

It was a disheartening start for the Bulldogs, who suffered a tri-level shutout after losing the freshman game, 39-0 and the junior varsity game, 28-0, making for a 91-0 sweep.

"The zeros on the scoreboard are very disappointing," said Coach Lin Parker of Highland, whose team lost to the Vikings for the third consecutive season. "We were 0-for-Valencia."

Highland was hamstrung on defense after standout defensive back Marcus Demps severely sprained his ankle while sacking Bauer on Valencia's first play.

All-state kicker-punter Jose Duarte of Highland was overshadowed by the punting of Valencia's Jimmy Rohan.

Duarte averaged 28 yards on six punts, came up short on a 53-yard field-goal attempt and had a pass intercepted on a fake punt.

Rohan averaged 44 yards on four punts.

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