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LA North: No. 9 Valencia 45, Palmdale 7

VALENCIA -- Valencia running back Steven Manfro had another big game, scoring four touchdowns in his team’s 45-7 win over Palmdale at Valencia High School on Friday night.

He had 135 rushing yards on 12 carries. He caught four passes for 126 yards. He returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. He produced 353 total yards. His average yards from scrimmage actually went down after this game, from 295 yards per game to 285.7 yards per game.

“He’s just a special player,” Valencia coach Larry Muir said after the game.

Manfro has scored 14 touchdowns in three games. After taking the opening kickoff the length of the field for a touchdown, Manfro scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter. He caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Bishop just before halftime. He scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 47-yard run in the third quarter.

Valencia, the ninth-ranked team in the ESPNLA.com Top 25 rankings, was up 38-0 before Palmdale scored its first touchdown of the game. David Richards scored on a 20-yard run with 2:50 to play in the third quarter. Richards produced two of the few highlights in the game for Palmdale. He also intercepted a pass in the second quarter. It was his fifth interception of the season.

“We struggled in every aspect of the game,” Palmdale coach Jeff Williams said.

Valencia held Palmdale to 50 yards of offense in the first half. Richards completed the only two passes for Palmdale in the first half. He was also the team’s leading rusher at halftime with eight yards on six carries.

Junior running back Timothy Fowler put together some nice runs in the second half for Palmdale. He carried the ball 10 times for 46 yards. He was one of the underclassmen who produced nicely for Palmdale, Williams said.

While Manfro dominated the game again and Bishop threw for 289 yards and three touchdowns, there were two unsung stars for Valencia against Palmdale.

Sophomore Tedric Thompson came up with a big interception and caught three passes for 57 yards.

“He’s starting to go both ways for us,” Muir said. “Sometimes we forget he’s a sophomore. He’s young.”

Max Rodriguez caught four passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Rodriguez was out because of a leg injury in the first two games of the season.

Manfro has carried the Valencia football team to three wins in a row, but it looks as if a couple of new threats are emerging in the Vikings' offense. Muir said it's part of the process of developing an identity for his football team.

"Our defense has to develop as the season goes," Muir said. "It's week to week. We got to get to a point where we develop as a football team."