When asked what kind of physicality he was expecting in Friday’s game against Norco, Valencia quarterback Connor Downs cracked a smile and looked out into the distance.
“We plan to go out and smack some heads together,” he said.
The Vikings will make the 80-plus mile trip to Norco on Friday for the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 tournament. The game will be streamed live on FOX Sports West’s Prep Zone, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“We can’t get rattled by being on the road and that stuff,” said Viking coach Larry Muir. “It’s going to be a real challenge. When you get to this point, every team is here for a reason.”
Norco has gotten to this point thanks largely in part to senior running back Travis Dye — an Oregon commit — who’s rushed for over 2,000 yards this season. In front of him is Jarrett Bell, who comes in at 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, and holds offers to UCLA, Alabama, Arizona and others.
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“We’ve got to find a way to keep (Dye) from getting those extra yards after contact,” Muir said. “That’s going to be the key.
Even if Tye does get to the second level, the Vikings have Jayvaun Wilson, Mykael Wright and Zion Dunson lurking in the secondary. Wright picked up an offer from Washington State on Wednesday.
The Vikings’ backfield has had a prolific season of its own. Wilson, Moises Haynes and Luring Paialii combined for six touchdowns and 217 yards rushing in their 54-23 win over Great Oak.
A Vikings victory would potentially set up a rematch against Calabasas in the semifinals. Calabasas handed the Vikings their only loss of the regular season (a 65-63 defeat) back in September.