Haymaker after haymaker, body blow after body blow, it seemed there wasn’t a punch Valencia couldn’t take Thursday night at Calabasas.
Despite an eight-touchdown, 544-yard performance from Coyotes quarterback Jaden Casey, the Vikings found themselves marching on a potential game-winning drive with 1:47 to play and trailing by two.
But that drive was cut 52 yards short as Valencia was edged 65-63 in a possible playoff preview between CIF-Southern Section Division 2 heavyweights.
“We knew it was going to be a great game,” Vikings coach Larry Muir said. “They have great players, great coaching. We got some good players as well so we knew it was going to be tough. ”
An interception from Jake Santos, one of two on the night for the Vikings, set them up on their own 21 with just under two minutes to play. Connor Downs’ pass to Mykael Wright on fourth-and-1 fell incomplete, though, as the Coyotes held on for the win.
“We knew they were in two-man coverage and we were trying to get Mykael going across the field, and hoping to have him break it because we knew they were going to stuff the line,” Muir said. “In a game like that, you make calls and sometimes you wanna get one back.”
Valencia’s biggest lead of the night came in the third quarter following a 25-yard pass from Downs to Wright, which was Downs’ only passing touchdown of the night, and put Valencia up 42-30. Downs also added a 1-yard score on a keeper in the first quarter.
After Calabasas answered with a 46-yard pass from Jaden Casey to Nikko Hall, Moises Haynes powered in one of his four rushing touchdowns of the night – a 22-yard rumble – to help stake the Vikings to a 49-44 lead entering the third quarter.
Johnny Wilson opened the fourth quarter with one of his three touchdown catches of the night for Calabasas but Haynes answered with an 18-yard TD as Valencia led, 56-51, with 10 minutes to play.
Casey followed with a 43-yard touchdown pass to regain the lead and Downs was picked off on the ensuing drive. After Valencia forced a punt, it was still unable to recapture the lead due to a fumbled snap recovered by Calabasas (5-0). The Coyotes then padded the lead with 3:36 to play on a 10-yard pass from Casey to Mycah Pittman.
Haynes punched in his final touchdown of the night from three yards out to set up the Vikings prior to Castro’s interception.
Jayvaun Wilson added two rushing touchdowns in the first half, though Calabasas entered the midway point with a 30-28 lead. Valencia received the ball to open the second half and Wilson quickly put the Vikings back on top with a 6-yard rush.
Haynes’ first touchdown of the night was a 3-yarder that temporarily put the Vikings up by five in the second quarter. Anthony Hernandez set up Haynes’ touchdown with an interception. Hernandez also had the Vikings’ only sack of the night.
Valencia (4-1) opens Foothill League play next Friday against Hart.