Golden Valley coach Dan Kelley said before the Grizzlies’ game Friday that running back KJ Maduike was healthy and ready to go.
In hindsight, Kelley might somehow have undersold the senior’s recovery from a sprained ankle that cost him most of a loss to Hart seven days prior.
Maduike played inspired football Friday, rushing for 291 yards on 22 carries in a crucial, 49-28, win over West Ranch.
He scored twice, according to MaxPreps. Golden Valley then earned an at-large bid on Sunday to the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 playoffs, its first-ever postseason berth, and it’s hard to say what impact the regular-season-ending win had on the Grizzlies’ inclusion.
MORE football: Golden Valley improves playoff resume with win
Friday’s outburst moved Maduike to 1,126 yards rushing on the season, 267 short of the single-season mark that Earl Johnson set in 2011. Last year, the Foothill League didn’t even boast a 900-yard rusher, but in 2016, Maduike and Valencia’s Moises Haynes (1,224 yards) have both surpassed 1,000 yards, and West Ranch’s Jake Rice (966 yards) likely would have made it had he not broken his collarbone against Valencia in the Wildcats’ second-to-last game of the year.
The milestone was a must for the Golden Valley offensive line.
“They were like, ‘We’re going to get you to 1,000 yards no matter what,’” Maduike said of his line. “… After the game, I thanked them, and then I found out I rushed for 290 yards. I was really happy about that. My line was super happy about it.”
It was just the second time Maduike rushed for more than 100 yards in his last six games.
He accomplished the feat in three of Golden Valley’s first four games. The Grizzlies went 4-1 in preleague play, slipping early in league but recovering to match last year’s 6-4 overall mark.
Golden Valley will play Ayala of Chino Hills on the road Friday at 7 p.m.
Updates on injured players transported by ambulances
Saugus High junior Richard Meza, who was injured shortly before halftime in the Centurions’ game against Hart on Friday, was at home and doing “fine,” Saugus coach Jason Bornn said in a text Sunday night.
Bornn said Meza, who left College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium by ambulance, was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
“Everything checked out and he is fine,” Bornn said.
Canyon High’s Brian Devereaux also was taken away by ambulance Friday during the Cowboys’ home game against Valencia. Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez visited the senior running back Saturday and told The Signal Devereaux had torn muscles in his back.
Devereaux rushed for 707 yards this season, according to MaxPreps, though stats for the Valencia game had not yet been entered.