Meza steps up for GV football; Gallagher for Saugus at 7-on-7 tournament

Golden Valley quarterback Austin Garcia throws during a passing tournament at Hart High on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Golden Valley football’s Carlos Meza may have competed in track and field in the spring, but all he could think of was football.

“I’m excited for this, we’ve all been talking about how we just want that ring really bad,” Meza said at a 7-on-7 tournament at Hart on Wednesday. “I’m really excited, we’re going to do big things.”

Last season, the Grizzlies finished second-to-last in the Foothill League and failed to make it to the playoffs. That didn’t sit well with players like Meza, who dedicated the offseason to improving.

In track and field, he competed in shot put, discus, and high jump. Meza, who expects to play slot receiver and strong safety in the upcoming season, also put on some muscle in the weight room and got taller, too.

“I’m just feeling really good, I’m making more big plays on both offense and defense,” he said. “Last year I didn’t get to make a lot of plays on offense but this year I definitely am. I’m scoring a lot more, its more high-paced, I’m feeling good this year, a lot better than last year.”

Golden Valley corner Austin Acree, left, and Hart receiver Ashton Thomas fight for the ball during a passing tournament at Hart High on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Jonathan Kaelin is returning for his senior year with Golden Valley, although he saw limited reps on offense on Wednesday. Antonio Abrego, a track star who played receiver last season, was not in attendance for the tournament.

It’s undecided who Meza and the receiving corps will be catching passes from this season as the quarterback position is up for grabs between Austin Garcia and Jaxson Miner. Garcia, a senior varsity returner, received the majority of reps in Wednesday’s tournament.

Meza said that both players have positive attributes, but Garcia’s experience speaks volumes.

“When it comes to under the lights, Austin’s been there before and I feel like Austin is really going to show up in the Friday night lights,” he said.

Golden Valley will host a passing tournament on June 12 and begins the 2019 season on August 30 against Burbank at Canyon High School.

One Gallagher left at Saugus

Former Centurion quarterback Cole Gallagher may have been watching from the sidelines at Hart High School during Wednesday’s 7-on-7 tournament, but his younger brother, Cade, was all over the field on defense.

Gallagher earned a starting role at cornerback in the second game of the season last year and kept it for the rest of the season. In his junior campaign, he logged 49 total tackles, 26 of the solo variety and two for a loss.

Even though he had a breakout season, Gallagher stuck to what he knew in the offseason.

“I just started working on my game,” Gallagher said. “The fundamentals every day, just knowing my job and all of the fundamentals that my coach is teaching us in the offseason and I’m getting bigger in the weight room, getting stronger, so it’s really helping me out on the field.”

Gallagher said he plans on focusing on building team chemistry throughout the summer. He has faith in Brayden Geraldo, who will likely be succeeding his brother at the quarterback position.

Saugus quarterback Brayden Giraldo rolls out during a passing tournament at Hart High on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Last year he was the backup but sort of followed what my older brother did really and he was, he really, like, understood what Cole was doing and understood how Cole managed the team on the offensive side and Braden is doing it very well,” Gallagher said.

Saugus begins the 2019 season on the road against Granada Hills Charter on August 23.

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About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.