The two Foothill League teams with arguably the toughest preleague schedules meet tonight in their league opener, as Valencia faces Canyon at Canyon High School.
Both teams enter league play with a 2-3 record, with Canyon coming off a 48-21 blowout win against Royal and Valencia coming off a heartbreaking 21-20 overtime loss to Calabasas.
Both teams also had a strong week of practice as they prepare for their season opener in league.
“Going into this week of practice it was motivational,” said Vikings leading rusher Luring Paialii. “The whole atmosphere and momentum changed this week in practice.”
“We’ve been grinding through these five games and we are ready to play some people that we know,” said Cowboys wide receiver Carson Strickland. “We had a great week at practice. The morale is definitely up and we’re excited for league.”
The Cowboys will have their hands full against a well-balanced Vikings rushing attack that utilizes several running backs including Paialii.
Jake Santos, who has 145 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries plus, is expected to return for Valencia after missing the last two contests due to injury.
For the Cowboys, junior quarterback Aydyn Litz will look to continue his stellar play so far this season. Litz has 997 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in five games. He also has a rushing touchdown as well.
Strickland believes that if his team can play a mistake-free game, they will have a chance to beat the reigning Foothill League champions.
“We need to execute on every play,” he said. “Not having any turnovers, not having any penalties, perfect in between the lines and in between the whistles. We’re going to bring everything we got.”
The game kicks off at 7 p.m.