Valencia football eager to face Palmdale

Valencia players from left, Joshua Deneal (82), Moises Haynes (43) and Aaron Thomas celebrate Haynes' touchdown against San Clemente last November. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Valencia has had to wait one week longer than most other SCV football teams to get the regular season underway, so the Vikings are itching to go against Palmdale High tonight at 7 p.m. at Palmdale.

“I think our guys are fired up, they’re excited. (It’s) been a long, hot, grueling week of practice and it’ll finally come to fruition,” said Valencia defensive coordinator Rob Waters.

This week’s practices were moved to around 7 p.m. to avoid the daytime heat. Aside from additional water breaks, practices were business as usual.

MORE: Valencia’s Wright ready for spotlight

The focus was on shutting down the Falcon’s ground game, which is centered on running back Richard Newton. The senior is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports and has received six different NCAA Division 1 football offers.

Palmdale can pass, too, with junior quarterback John Ward at the helm.

“(We have) two priorities,” Waters said. “No. 1 we have to swarm (Newton). We can’t let him have a good night. Second thing is we have to eliminate big plays in the passing game. So don’t let them beat us over the top.”

Valencia is returning a good chunk of key players on offense and defense, but there will be some new faces on the field.

Waters also said that safety Jake Santos, inside linebacker Anthony Hernandez and outside linebacker Owen Hand could have big games.

Valencia beat Palmdale 52-7 in last season’s first game.

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