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T’Wolves don’t miss a beat behind back-up QB

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T’Wolves don’t miss a beat behind back-up QB

Sierra's Adrian Valencia gained 218 rushing yards while filling in at quarterback for injured starter Jonathan Davis Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 28, 2009 2:09 a.m.
It’s one thing to run the opposing team’s offense during scout-team practice, and it’s another guiding a team to a second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Football playoff victory.

Sierra back-up quarterback Adrian Valencia had no problem accomplishing the latter, playing a significant role in Sierra’s thrilling 40-39 playoff win over visiting Benicia High at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

The Timberwolves got on the board quickly following an 83-yard run by Jarrod Daniels to set up the first score, but the squad’s luck would change promptly with starting quarterback Jonathan Davis going down with an ankle injury with 6:03 remaining in the first quarter. Sierra was forced to turn to Valencia, and the 5-foot-9-inch junior did not disappoint.

“Adrian has played in a few games for us this year,” Sierra offensive coordinator Jeff Abrew said. “He started against Patterson, he started against Sonora and played the whole game, so we had the confidence that he could get the job done.

“He stepped right in and we didn’t miss a beat.”

Valencia was impressive to say the least against the Panthers, controlling Sierra’s fast-paced spread offense and making timely big plays on several of the Timberwolves’ first- and second-half scoring drives. He would close the game with 218 yards rushing on 20 carries, including eight rushes over 10 yards.

Every position on a football field has a back-up, but each team’s most valuable back-up has to be at quarterback. Adding the playoff atmosphere to the equation makes Valencia’s efforts for Sierra even more impressive — except to him.

“I was just trying to do what I could,” Valencia said. “I only want to help out the team as much as I can. When J.D. (Jonathan Davis) went down I was thinking ‘Get up’, because we need him and what he has done the whole season. When he didn’t get up and coach Abrew called me, I told him ‘I’m ready’.”

Valencia obviously was, breaking loose for a 30-yard scamper on his first carry from scrimmage. He would go on to score on that first possession, breaking the seal on fourth-and-two from the Bencia 6-yard-line.

The Timberwolves continued to call Valencia’s number, and the Sierra quarterback consistently kept coming up big.

“I wanted to try and keep him relaxed and composed,” Abrew said. “But I also wanted him to trust his reads. He sees it every day in practice and he understands what we want from him. He didn’t get very many reps this week in practice, but the way he came out and performed, it didn’t show.”

Of course, Sierra got monstrous performances from Daniels ( 288 yards, four TDs), Anthony Hall (two interceptions) and a punishing offensive line, yet the unbelievable play from Valencia made its mark on the contest. Sure it was a defensive turnover that sealed the deal for Sierra’s berth into the semifinals, yet the entire program knows how important the play of its back-up signal caller was.

“I just think Adrian showed true character tonight,” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said. “To come in cold like he did, he hasn’t gotten too many reps the last couple of weeks in practice, but he came through tonight for us. He played Timberwolf football.

“He truly understands the team concept and he played to it tonight.”
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