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Palos Verdes trounces Valencia, 50-33

Semifinal victory sends the Sea Kings to the Northern Division final, where they will face West Torrance.

November 23, 2012|By Kevin Baxter

Senior Matt Lopes ran for 215 yards and four touchdowns Friday to carry Palos Verdes into the Northern Division final with a 50-33 win over Valencia at Valencia High.

The Sea Kings, winners of 10 in a row, will meet Bay League rival West Torrance in the title game Dec. 1. It will be Palos Verdes' first appearance in a championship game in nearly five decades and the first since the school reopened in 2002.

"We've been taking little steps every year," said Palos Verdes Coach Guy Gardner, who has led the school to 28 wins in the last three years. "[This] means a lot."

Valencia, meanwhile, had its season ended in the Northern Division semifinals for the third time in four years.

Palos Verdes (10-3) never trailed, scoring on its first possession when Lopes dashed 17 yards for a touchdown to cap an 80-yard drive. But with the exception of a pair of missed extra points, Valencia (9-4) kept pace behind senior quarterback Sean Murphy, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 325 yards and three scores in the first half.

Gardner and his staff made a series of adjustments at the intermission, though, and the game went from a shootout to a blowout when Palos Verdes held Valencia's no-huddle offense without a first down on four of its first five second-half possessions, two of which ended on interceptions in Vikings territory.

And on offense the Sea Kings kept riding Lopes, who touched the ball on 21 of the team's 35 offensive plays in the second half.

Murphy finished 23 of 36 for 358 yards, and the three touchdowns gave him a school-record 38 for the season.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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