Golden Valley running back KJ Maduike has spearheaded the Grizzlies’ ground game this season, tallying 828 yards and eight touchdowns on 122 carries.
But the offense learned the hard way to live without him last week after he sprained his ankle halfway through the third quarter against Canyon. Fortunately, Tai Brown stepped in to score three touchdowns and keep Golden Valley on track for a 31-23 win.
Maduike is questionable for this Friday against Hart. He will be evaluated today.
“Obviously he wants to play,” said coach Dan Kelley. “… but I’m not going to push him. If he’s not 100 percent, he’s not going to play.”
Brown will continue ball-carrying duties if Maduike is not able to play.
Linebacker and receiver Darius Anthony (94 tackles, five sacks) also left the game against Canyon early with bruised ribs.
Anthony has been limited at practice this week but is very likely to play Friday.
Moore remembers the date
Hart quarterback Nick Moore remembers the date he tore his ACL last year, in a game against Golden Valley. The anniversary was Oct. 23, this past Sunday.
“I kept the date when I tore it,” the quarterback said Tuesday. “And then my surgery is coming up, the date.”
After Moore exited last year’s game against the Grizzlies, Hart High narrowly pulled off a win in double overtime, 24-21.
The rest of the season was a different story, as the Indians lost the final two games of league play against Saugus (24-0) and Valencia (21-17) as well as their first and only playoff game against Mission Viejo (49-14).
But Moore (16 TD passes and eight TD runs before last Friday’s 45-7 win over West Ranch) isn’t one to play afraid. In the first game of this season — his first contest since the injury — he showed no hesitation on the field.
“I got beat up a little bit, but it feels just like a regular football game,” he said after the win against Downey on Sept. 2. “I wasn’t worried about my knee or anything. Felt good.”
Sophomore standout could have been freshman phenom
Valencia coach Larry Muir said before the Vikings’ 28-7 win over Saugus on Friday that standout sophomore Jayvaun Wilson had the talent and physicality to play on varsity as a freshman.
Instead, Wilson — listed last year at 5 feet, 10 inches, 168 pounds — rushed for 920 yards and 13 touchdowns on the freshman team.
Wilson’s older brother, Jay Jay, now playing at Arizona State, was on varsity as a freshman in 2011.
Asked whether that factored in last year’s decision, Muir said it was mostly a matter of need.
“If you have a freshman or sophomore you want to bring up to varsity,” Muir said, “the first thing you ask is, ‘Is there a need or not?’ Then you go from there. There was a need (Jay Jay’s freshman year). I don’t think there was as much of a need last year.”
Muir said he had also wanted Jayvaun to build relationships with members of his class.
“(Jay Jay’s) junior year, he almost had to get reacquainted with his class because he spent so much time with upperclassmen,” Muir said.
Wilson, listed this season 6-2, 204 pounds, ran for a touchdown Friday. He has scored in seven of Valencia’s eight games.
He also starts at safety.