SANTA CLARA -- Milpitas ended Santa Clara's perfect season Friday night, defeating the host Bruins 23-0 behind the talents of receiver Tre Hartley and a physical defense.
Hartley made several big plays in the first half as the eighth-ranked Trojans seized control of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division game and never looked back.
Santa Clara had opened league play with victories over Mountain View and Saratoga but knew Milpitas would be its biggest challenge thus far.
The challenge was too much for the Bruins.
"It means a lot," Hartley said after Milpitas improved to 5-1, 3-0 in the De Anza Division. "Before the season we didn't really know what was going to happen to our team. All of our seniors left from last year. We have a lot of young guys. It just shows that we can keep playing."
Milpitas, which defeated Palo Alto two weeks ago, scored 16 first-half points and then finished off Santa Clara when Vita Vea scored on a 7-yard run.
Vea, the only returning All-Mercury News first-team player from last season, missed the first three games for reasons coach Kelly King has declined to disclose. But he is a force for the Trojans, lining up as a middle linebacker despite being 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds. He also plays running back in some situations.
On his scoring run, Santa Clara (5-1, 2-1) stopped him at the line of scrimmage, but Vea kept the pile moving until he reached the end zone.
Hartley, on the other hand, is more of dasher than a monster. He made plays on offense and defense for the Trojans.
Milpitas took a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter when Jesus Gonzalez kicked a 31-yard field goal. Hartley set up the scoring drive when he caught a 41-yard pass from Ronnie Reed that gave the Trojans a first down at the Santa Clara 19.
The series stalled at the 13, a victory of sorts for Santa Clara after Reed had opened the series with what looked like a 48-yard touchdown reception. A 15-yard penalty wiped out that score, but Hartley went right back to work.
The Milpitas standout touched the ball only five times in the first two quarters, but he had the biggest impact -- by far. He had five receptions for 161 yards and played a big role in all three first-half scores.
"He's a great player," King said. "But we play as a team. It's all about the team."
Hartley caught a 46-yard pass to put the Trojans into scoring possession early in the second quarter. Later on the drive, Reed fired a 17-yard pass to Hartley on a slant route, giving Milpitas a 9-0 lead.
"I just faked a fade and threw the slant," Hartley said.
The Trojans stretched the lead to 16-0 when Hartley again delivered a huge play, a 51-yard catch that moved Milpitas to the Santa Clara 5.
Two plays later, Reed crossed the goal line on a sneak.
Reed was 5 of 9 passing in the first half for 161 yards, all to Hartley.
"We got through and got a victory," King said. "The kids played hard and we overcame a little adversity. We were just feeling where we were kind of off. But we finished it off and got a victory."
Next up for Milpitas: A home game against Wilcox.
MILPITAS 23, SANTA CLARA 0
Milpitas 3 "13 "0 "7--23
Santa Clara 0 "0 "0 "0-- 0
M -- Gonzalez 31 FG
M -- Hartley 17 pass from Reed (kick failed)
M -- Reed 1 run (Gonzalez kick)
M -- Vea 7 run (Gonzalez kick)
Records -- Milpitas 5-1, 3-0; Santa Clara 5-1, 2-1.