Long Beach Too Much for LA Valley

It was expected to be a high-flying shootout but it turned out to be a test of strength, and Long Beach City was just too strong and wore down L.A. Valley in each team's season opener September 8th.

The Vikings scored the game's last 26 points to prevail, 40-15, at Valley Glen.

The Long Beach defense, led by linebacker Adam Nisson, held L.A. Valley to just 2 first downs, 9 yards passing and no points in the 2nd half.  Nisson recorded 2 of the Vikings' 3 sacks, and fell on a blocked punt to score the first Long Beach touchdown of the evening.  Craig Richardson ran 22 times for 113 yards and a touchdown, with most of that coming in the second half as Long Beach took control of the game.

The night began exactly as L.A. Valley had hoped as the Monarchs, led by the passing of Zach Wasserman, marched down the field and scored on an 11-yard pass from Wasserman to Sanders Trent.  The Monarchs' formation of four wideouts in a box on the same side seemed to catch the Viking defense off-guard.  But Long Beach soon adjusted.  The only other L.A. Valley score was on a 65-yard bomb from Wasserman to James Norris.  There were no sustained Monarch drives after the first quarter.

Special teams provided Long Beach with their first opening, when Antoine Casey blocked L.A. Valley's first punt attempt.  The ball bounced into the end zone where Adam Nisson pounced on it for the score.  A bad snap resulted in a missed conversion, leaving the score 7-6 with Valley ahead.

Early in the 2nd quarter Long Beach drove deep into Valley territory.  Once inside the 10 yard line, the Vikings unveiled their "Triple Fridge" goal line offense.  This featured backup QB Brandon Fasavalu and three players who are normally lineman lining up in the backfield.  The strategy worked when regular DL Lateef Smith drove the ball into the end zone from a yard out.  The 2-point conversion made it 14-7 Long Beach.

Valley answered back with the long pass from Wasserman to Norris to close Long Beach's lead to a single point.  On the conversion attempt, a bad snap forced holder Robert Mueller to scramble and throw a desperate heave into the end zone.  John Kuhl was in the right spot and made the catch, giving Valley a 15-14 lead.

Valley got the ball back one last time with just over a minute left in the first half, but not only failed to move the ball but allowed Long Beach one final chance to score.  The Vikings quickly took advantage and Fasavalu's 1-yard run with 3 seconds left in the half gave Long Beach the lead and all the momentum entering the second half.  And Valley did not score again.

On the night, much-heralded Valley QB Zach Wasserman finished 13 of 25 for 164 yards and 2 TDs, but with just 9 yards in the second half.  Long Beach starting QB Jason Baughman finished 10 of 22 for 97 yards.  Valley's Sanders Trent had a game-high 6 catches while Valley's James Norris had game-high honors with 81 yards receiving.

Viking backup QB Brandon Fasavalu completed both his attempts for a total of 54 yards and ran for 2 TDs.  Long Beach scored 5 rushing touchdowns including 4 runs of 1 yard each, with regular DLs Lateef Smith and DeShawn Gibbs each bowling into the end zone in addition to Fasavalu's 2 scores and Richardson's 16-yard 3rd-quarter run.


Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter:
VC – Trent 11 yd pass from Wasserman (Marcus kick) 11:47 - 0-7
LB – Nisson recovered blocked punt in end zone (pass failed) 6:236-7

2nd Quarter:
LB – L.Smith 1 yd run (Bingham pass from Fasavalu) 10:42 - 14-7
VC – Norris 65 yd pass from Wasserman (Kuhl pass from Mueller) 4:0714-15
LB – Fasavalu 1 yd run (pass failed) 0:03 - 20-15

3rd Quarter:
LB – Richardson 16 yd run (Whitt kick) 10:27 27-15

4th Quarter:
LB – Gibbs 1 yd  run (Whitt kick) 6:2834-15
LB – Fasavalu 1 yd run (kick wide left) 2:30 - 40-15

Individual Statistics:

Rushing: LB:  21-C.Richardson 22-113, 3-K.Williams 8-19, 14-Baughman 5-10, 92-L.Smith 4-8, 1-Peoples 2-7, 9-Fasavalu 3-3, 93-Gibbs 2-2 VC:  20-Peeples 7-28, 38-Graham 3-19, 8-Watkins 9-15, 5-Norris 2-7, 1-Trent 1-6, 9-Wasserman 6-3, 23-Crawford 1-2, 11-Hurns 1-0

Passing: LB:  14-Baughman 10-22-0-97; 9-Fasavalu 2-2-0-54 VC:  9-Z.Wasserman 13-25-1-164, 2 TDs

Receiving: LB:  6-Bingham 4-43, 15-Mahone 2-23, 8-Ter.Marshall 2-14, 1-Peoples 1-40, 10-Saunders 1-23, 80-M.Smith 1-4, 20-Ross 1-4 VC:  1-Trent 6-35, 5-Norris 4-81, 3-Lopez 1-35, 18-Schneider 1-13, 88-Whitaker 1-0

Punters: LB:  47-Td.Marshall 6-31.2 avg  VC:  7-Mueller 8-38.4 avg + 2 blocked

Kick Ret: LB:  3-K.Williams 1-18, 95-Newton 1-10 VC:  8-Watkins 2-41, 32-Richards 2-36, 54-Zapata 1-18, 1-Trent 1-14

Combined Kick Ret: VC:  51-Garcia to 5-Norris 1-5

Punt Ret: LB:  6-Bingham 7-96, 8-Ter.Marshall 1-19  VC:  5-Norris 1-3                                 

Interceptions-Ret Yds:   LB:  2-Brooks 1-0

Sacks: LB:  25-Nisson 2, 92-L.Smith ½, 97-Tamasoa ½ VC:  45-Depew, 90-Bass

Missed Field Goal: LB:  43-Whitt 42 yds (wide left)

Punt Blocks: LB:  19-Casey, 7-Tago

Notes:  Season Opener for both teams.  Preseason rankings:  VC #14, LB #17 in South.  LB defense held VC to 2 first downs (both rushing) in 2nd half.  LB blocked VC's 1st 2  punt attempts.  Casey blocked the first punt for the TD.  Mueller picked up a bad snap and threw a desperation heave into the end zone, which was caught by Kuhl for VC's 2-point conversion.  Norris had an 87-yd punt return for a TD called back on a penalty.  Triple Fridge:  LB used 3 linemen + backup QB in backfield for goal line offense.  It worked – 4 TDs (Fasavalu 2, L.Smith, Gibbs).


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