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VALENCIA CATCHES ON VIKINGS RECEIVERS CREATE HAVOC FOR SECONDARIES.

Byline: Gerry Gittelson Staff Writer

VALENCIA - Valencia High's receivers are really catching on.

Shane Morales, Jason Trujillo, Chris Wright and Shane Bothwell give the football team four strong wideouts, and quarterback Michael Herrick has taken full advantage.

With such dependable targets, Herrick simply fires the ball to whomever is open, completing 66 percent for 1,173 yards and 15 touchdowns heading into tonight's 7 o'clock showdown between the Vikings (4-0) and visiting Notre Dame (4-0) of Sherman Oaks.

``It's unbelievable because the other team definitely can't zero in on one guy,'' Herrick said. ``If they do, the other three will be open. That helps me a lot.''

Morales, a 6-2 senior, returns after leading the team with 62 receptions a year ago. This season, he has 17 catches for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Trujillo, a 5-7 senior who started his high school career as a quarterback, has 22 receptions for 309 yards and five touchdowns. Wright, a 5-11 senior returning starter, has 17 receptions for 248 yards and six touchdowns. Bothwell, a 5-9 senior, has six receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown.

The foursome do not worry about who does what, or how often. They work together and let the results take care of themselves, a plan that's succeeding.

``If someone is busy covering Morales, then I'm probably open. But it's fine either way, because it doesn't matter who gets the football,'' Trujillo said. ``I like playing receiver more than quarterback. It's fun trying to avoid people.''

Morales is probably the fastest, but they all have different strengths. Wright runs precision routes. Trujillo never drops a pass. Bothwell is fearless.

``Shane Morales is a big-time player. Whenever I throw the ball deep, he always gets to it,'' Herrick said. ``Jason and Chris just know how to get open. If a linebacker or defensive back locks one of them up, they just shoot right into a hole. And nobody knows too much about Bothwell, but he's a lot like Trujillo - he just finds a way to get the ball.''

The most important thing is they're all dangerous, and each one probably is talented enough to be the top receiver on most teams.

Tonight, the challenge is on because Notre Dame has one of the Southland's top defenses. It will be interesting to see if the receivers can again find success against such fast, experienced defenders.

``We've watched film, and Notre Dame looks like a very disciplined team. They don't make mistakes,'' Wright said.

They had better not. Valencia has too many big-time receivers, and they're hoping to capitalize tonight.

Gerry Gittelson, (661) 257-5218

gerry.gittelson(at)dailynews.com

CATCH 'EM IF YOU CAN

Valencia boasts four excellent receivers. Here's their respective stats:

NAME.............REC...YDS....TDs

Jason Trujillo...22....309....5

Shane Morales....17....320....2

Chris Wright.....17....248....6

Shane Bothwell....6.....86....1

CAPTION(S):

photo, 5 boxes

Photo:

Valencia receivers, clockwise from bottom right, Shane Morales, Chris Wright, Jason Trujillo and Shane Bothwell.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer

Box:

(1) CATCH 'EM IF YOU CAN (see text)

(2) FIRST AND 10

(3) INSIDE THE NUMBERS

(4) GAME OF THE WEEK

(5) TODAY'S GAMES
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 8, 2004
Words:527
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