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Originally published September 13, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Page modified September 13, 2013 at 10:27 PM

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Running game powers the way for Marysville-Pilchuck

Marysville-Pilschuck 37, Lake Stevens 24

Special to The Seattle Times

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MARYSVILLE — Showing off its stable of talented running backs, Marysville-Pilchuck sprinted away from Lake Stevens on Friday night.

Junior running back JJ Valencia scored three touchdowns to lead the Tomahawks to a 37-24 nonleague victory and a 2-0 record this season.

Valencia was only the second leading rusher for Marysville-Pilchuck with Austin Joyner going for 154 yards on only 13 carries. Valencia had 116 yards on 19 carries and Deion Stell added 51 yards and a long touchdown on only four carries.

Add it all together and the terrific trio averaged 8.9 yards a carry while running for 321 yards on 36 carries with four touchdowns.

“A lot of teams are going to key on Austin and that really opens up the rest of the stuff we do,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “We know if they are going to stop Austin on the sweep then it opens things up inside for JJ.”

Valencia, who is listed at 5 feet 9 and specializes in running over people, said it is a simple matter of chemistry.

“Our depth is a great key,” Valencia said. “Having the talent we have, we’re almost unstoppable with the bond we have with our line and the way it meshes together with our backs. Our line was great tonight.”

Valencia said he is willing to do whatever he can to support Joyner and the other Marysville runners.

“I know they’re going to key on Austin so whenever I get the ball I just want to run hard,” Valencia said. “That way he can be deadly and I can just help him out.”

Marysville ended up with 442 yards of offense, enough to put a smile on Carson’s face.

“Offensively, I’m happy where we’re at, but defensively we’ve got a little work to do,” Carson said. “We have to continue to get better. We did a great job of creating turnovers.”

The Tomahawks intercepted three passes and were really only hurt by the hard running of Austin Otis who led Lake Stevens by running for 211 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns.

The defeat drops Lake Stevens to 0-2, which at one point was 1 for 18 passing with two interceptions.

“They beat us,” Lake Stevens coach Tom Tri said. “Obviously, we didn’t have a very good passing game tonight. We struggled with our offensive line, dropped balls and guys not running very good routes.”

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