There are few rivalries in the Foothill League that draw more attention than that of Hart and Valencia, but for the players, the preparation is the same as any other game.
“You’re playing against the people you grew up with and people that you know, but I think that we always just try to approach it the same way, have the same mindset going into it and just try and do our jobs,” said Hart quarterback Zach Johnson.
Valencia (3-3 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League) enters the matchup with an edge on the ground after returning Jake Santos last week after the running back was out for two games due to injury. In his return against Canyon, Santos rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Oregon commit Jayvaun Wilson will also be making his first game appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury.
“It’s going to be great just to have another running back back there and there’s a lot of trust in all of our running backs,” said Vikings quarterback Davis Cop.
Johnson will be a key component of the game through the air and on the ground for the Indians (3-3, 0-1). In last week’s 13-7 loss to Saugus, Johnson threw for 196 yards while rushing for 73.
“Zach is a great quarterback and he’s an amazing athlete,” said Jacob Montes, who had six catches for 74 yards against Saugus. “So he gets the job done, whether it needs to be running or passing. He does what he has to do to help us win.”
The matchup will also be the first game of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Teams will be wearing pink and pink t-shirts will be sold at the game as both schools are teaming up with Circle of Hope, a Santa Clarita non-profit that serves women affected by breast cancer.
The night will hold special meaning for Cop, whose mother died of breast cancer in 2004.
“It’s really cool and it’s really meaningful that I’m going to have a lot of my friends out there really supporting me in a more meaningful way than just football,” Cop said. “It’s awesome for me.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. with Valencia hosting.