Golden Valley feeling refreshed ahead of league opener against Saugus

Christian Monterossa/The Signal
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Sometimes a loss before a bye week can give teams that extended period to unwillingly reflect on the defeat.

That’s certainly wasn’t the case for Golden Valley, which lost to Fullerton two weeks ago,  as it prepares for its Foothill League opener Friday against Saugus at Canyon.

All it did was give the Grizzlies a chance to reload health wise as they prepare for what looks to be a grueling league stretch.

“We know exactly why we lost that game (against Fullerton) — we only showed up for the second half, and you never win that way,” said Grizzlies coach Dan Kelley on the four-point loss. “We always place our bye before league play to get our guys refreshed a bit.”

MORE: Golden Valley looking to end preleague slate on high note against Fullerton

Kelley noted there are still a few players heading into the game with a questionable label. But as a whole, he said the team enters as healthy as it’s been all season.

Saugus isn’t coming into the league opener quite as fortunate.

Saugus quarterback Elijah Gragas (2), center, celebrates with teammates, from left, De’Maurea Pride-Ruiz (23), Waide Brummer (72) and Jacob Villanueva (75) after Gragas scored a touchdown for Saugus in the first quarter against St. Francis at COC on Friday. Dan Watson/for The Signal

The Centurions were without starting quarterback Nathan Eldridge for their loss against Saint Francis two weeks ago and were without him for most of their loss to Ventura on Sept. 15 due to injury.

MORE: Saugus football falls after late surge from Saint Francis

There’s no indication Eldridge is expected to play Friday. Elijah Gragas drew the start at quarterback against Saint Francis.

“I don’t think it matters much who they have back there, we know they’re going to be well-disciplined and well-coached,” Kelley said. “They give you a ton of different looks on offense, so they’re always tough in that regard.”

Saugus won last year’s meeting 21-9 behind a 111-yard rushing performance from Quinn Sheaffer.

The Grizzlies were without USC commit and Hawkins transfer DeGabriel Floyd at their disposal, though.  Floyd has tallied 273 yards and a team-high three touchdowns through the air, four rushing scores to go with 141 yards on the ground and leads the Grizzlies with four interceptions.

Golden Valley enters as the fourth-ranked team in CIF-Southern Section Division 6 poll while the Cents are unranked.

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