Prep football notebook: 1 team sinks in rankings, Vikes defense stays strong, Cowboys’ Gallagher has value

A trio of Valencia Vikings take down Chaparral quarterback Jack Miller (2) during a football game against Chaparral of Scottsdale, Ariz. on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

This week’s CIF-Southern Section polls are mostly unchanged from last week’s rankings, with one exception.

Valencia has dipped from No. 1 to No. 2 in Division 2, West Ranch has moved up one spot to No. 4 in Division 9 and Golden Valley is holding on to the No. 4 spot in Division 6.

Saugus is the outlier, falling from third to eighth in the rankings.

The Centurions lost to Ventura 51-27 on Friday after losing quarterback Nathan Eldridge to injury on the ninth play of the game. Elijah Gragas filled in for the remainder of the game and completed 22 of 33 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown.

At halftime, Saugus was down 27-0. On the other side of the break, the Cents hustled their way to four touchdowns in the second half, but the effort wasn’t enough.

Saugus players and coach Jason Bornn have previously said that they don’t put too much stock in CIF-SS rankings early on, but the Cents will have to put in some work to recover from last week’s loss and its consequential drop in the polls.

Valencia’s brick wall

In three games this year, the Vikings have allowed 30 points while scoring 150 for themselves, proving the value of having experienced returners at multiple spots.

The Vikings, who are undefeated at 3-0, also haven’t scored less than 48 points in a game at any point this season.

They’ll get a challenge in two weeks, though, when they hit the road to take on Calabasas. Last season, Valencia fell 37-21 to the squad.

Valuable Gallagher

Canyon football coach Rich Gutierrez said this of quarterback Shawn Gallagher prior to last Friday’s game against Highland:

“The more he actually has the opportunity to go out there and gain experience, he’s going to grow stronger.”

That sentiment proved true on Friday night, as Gallagher rushed for two touchdowns. The junior has had at least one touchdown in each of the Cowboys’ games this season, excluding the Moorpark game in which there were no Canyon TDs.

He’s been a valuable addition to a ground-game-focused offense that the Cowboys have been employing this season.

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