Valencia High’s mantra last Friday wasn’t one uncommon to the football vernacular: Play all four quarters.
It was vital, though, for a team that saw a halftime lead turn into a blowout loss against Chaminade of West Hills in week two and that gave up 35 second-half points in an otherwise comfortable win over Newbury Park on Sept. 16.
The Vikings were having none of that on the road against Bakersfield on Friday night.
Valencia routed the Drillers, 48-9, and CIF-Southern Section coaches took notice, moving the Vikings up five spots to No. 5 in Monday’s Division 2 poll.
“We had to pound them a little bit,” quarterback Aaron Thomas said of Bakersfield, “and we knew we would come out on top.”
Thomas threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns. He said Valencia coach Larry Muir tweaked practice last week, keeping most of the teaching to the beginning of the session and running as many plays as possible during team drills.
That, Thomas said, spurred the mentality to finish strong, something the Vikings will need again Friday against a star-studded Calabasas team ranked No. 1 in Division 5.
The highest-ranked SCV teams in any division Monday were Saugus High and Golden Valley at No. 3 in Division 6 and Division 7, respectively.
Both teams entered Friday at 4-0, but the Centurions (5-0) escaped Agoura, 35-23, while the Grizzlies (4-1) fell in a nail-biter, 41-38, at Rio Mesa of Oxnard.
Canyon High (4-1) stayed right on the Centurions heels in Division 6, moving up one spot, like Saugus, to No. 4.
Hart High dropped five spots in Division 3 after a 38-32 loss to St. Bonaventure of Ventura at College of the Canyons on Friday. The Indians (3-1) made a late surge behind quarterback Nick Moore’s four touchdowns, but the Seraphs recovered an onside kick to seal the win.
West Ranch, on the other hand, came out on top in a back-and-forth battle. Wildcats quarterback Wyatt Eget scored on a 3-yard run with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to deliver a 21-17 win.
As a result, West Ranch (3-2) received votes in Monday’s Division 9 poll for the first time this season.
The rankings, however, aren’t a concern of first-year coach Chris Varner.
“I just try to focus on what we can control,” he said. “We’re eight points away from being 5-0, and that’s what I look at, those kind of things, shoring those things up.”
The Wildcats lost their season-opener to Simi Valley, 28-26, and their third game, 27-21, to Antelope Valley.
West Ranch, Canyon, Golden Valley and Saugus all have byes this week after playing in week zero.
Hart and Valencia were off that week.
The Indians travel to Ventura on Friday.
As West Ranch continues to take the Foothill League by storm, it continues to move up the CIF-SS Division 3 poll.
The Wildcats, after wins over Valencia and Hart last week, moved up three spots to No. 6 on Monday.
They play at Canyon tonight.
The three other teams representing the SCV in the polls were Santa Clarita Christian and Trinity Classical Academy in Division 9, and Albert Einstein Academy in Division 10.
SCCS stayed at No. 7, while Trinity moved up two spots to No. 8.
Einstein dropped one spot to No. 5 with a crucial Omega League match against Hillcrest Christian of Thousand Oaks today.
The Saugus High boys broke into the Division 2 ranks at No. 8 after finishing second at the first Foothill League meet of the year last Thursday. The West Ranch boys won that meet but still dropped one spot in D2 to No. 3.
There wasn’t any movement for SCV girls teams in Division 2. Saugus, winner of the Foothill League opener, stayed at No. 2, with second-place West Ranch at 10.
The Foothill League’s second meet is scheduled for Oct. 13 at Central Park.