With the starting running back out with a foot injury, Del Sol’s football team turned to one of its better athletes to shoulder the load.
Wide receiver Markell Turner rushed for 213 yards and three touchdowns as the host Dragons beat Valley on Friday, 46-6.
“I was kind of nervous coming into the game,” Turner said. “I didn’t want to mess up. But, I trusted my offensive line and the rest of my teammates.”
The switch immediately paid off as Del Sol took the opening drive all the way for a score culminating in a 16-yard touchdown run by Turner.
Bryan Juarez then picked off a pass from Vikings quarterback Jarrett Zibert on Valley’s opening drive. The Dragons promptly took advantage of the turnover with a 2-yard scoring run from Kamani Wilks midway through the first quarter for a 13-0 lead.
“We took for granted our momentum from earlier in the year,” Valenzuela said. “We thought we could just score on anybody and began to take things easy. We needed to get reminded that the team that plays faster and is more physical usually wins.”
Valley was the team that seemed slow out of the gate even though the Vikings had a chance to earn a postseason berth with a win at Del Sol on Friday. Instead, the defense struggled to tackle Turner, and Valley’s offense never really got going.
“We came out flat,” Vikings coach Quincy Burts said. “This program hasn’t been in this position in awhile and we are young.”
Turner settled into his new role after only a few carries and he went over the 100-yard mark by the end of the first quarter. Valenzuela hoped to get him around 18 touches, but things worked out so well, Turner finished with 31 carries.
Once, the Del Sol ground game was established, the Dragons finally started to take to the air.
Nevarez threw all three of his scores in the second quarter starting with 28-yard pass to Wilks over the middle. He then hit Maalik Flowers on a go route from 31 yards out before doing a simple shovel pass to Flowers on a flanker sweep for a 6-yard TD pass.
By the time Turner delivered a 9-yard touchdown run, his second score of the night, with 1:27 left in the first half, Del Sol was up 39-0. The Dragons held Valley to 128 yards of offense.
Zibert hit Larry Perry for a short 3-yard touchdown pass for the Vikings’ lone score with 5:38 to play in the third. However, he was picked off three more times – twice by Vincent Price-Burrell and once by Kayce Cohen – later in the half.