In typical fashion, the crowds of fans for Hart and Valencia were roaring. On its home field at College of the Canyons, the Indians cheering section was deafening at kickoff.
But Valencia’s first touchdown of the night, one that was scored nearly two minutes into the game, was a dagger.
The Indians crowd – and the team – were silenced, and never truly awakened after that moment as Valencia won the game 42-14.
“They’re our rivals, so we came out with a little extra energy than we usually do,” said Vikings quarterback Connor Downs. “(A win) always feels great, especially since it’s on their home turf. So I’m ecstatic.”
Downs put the Vikes (5-1 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) on the board with 10 minutes left in the first quarter when he connected with Mykael Wright for a 32-yard touchdown.
Moises Haynes followed up with a 21-yard touchdown run to pull Valencia ahead 14-0 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.
The second quarter opened in a similar fashion, this time with Downs passing to Wright for a 52-yard score.
“He committed to scoring two touchdowns and of course I’m going to help him do that,” Downs said of Wright.
The Vikings held on to the shutout with a Jayvaun Wilson touchdown to bring the score to 28-0 before Hart (3-3, 0-1) dented the scoreboard for the first time with a JT Shrout pass to Da’Von Jones.
Valencia scored two touchdowns within the last minute of the third quarter – first from Downs threw to Zion Dunson, then Wilson recovered a Hart fumble and took it to the end zone to set the score at 42-7 heading into halftime.
“(We did) things that we couldn’t do against a great team like they are,” said Hart coach Mike Herrington. “They not only earned heir scores but we did the things that we couldn’t do against a good team.”
The Indians scored once more with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Shrout to DJ Palmer.