Hart football coach Mike Herrington is approaching tonight’s game against Downey with the same mindset he has ahead of every game.
“All I’m worried about is winning the game to have a winning nonleague record and have some momentum going into league,” he said.
But in reality, this potential win holds more significance than others. If the Indians beat the Vikings, it’ll be Herrington’s 300th career win.
“He’s done a lot for this school,” said running back Taden Littleford. “He’s been here for years, contributing, giving his all and it’d be nice to get him his 300th win to kind of give back.”
Hart will look slightly different against Downey, particularly in the receiving corps. Starting receivers Ryan Tomaszewski is out due to concussion protocol and Drew Munoz will be out with a broken hand.
Titus Tucker and Daniel Larkins have filled their roles in the last two weeks, with Larkins additionally playing at safety. The Indians also have the run game as an option with Littleford, who rushed for 338 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games.
“We’ve still got good receivers,” Littleford said. “We always have a good rotation going, but we’re definitely down a lot of good people, so we’re going to have to rely on the run a little bit more to give them a break. A lot of them are going two ways also, so I have to give my all to make sure they can give their all on both sides of the ball.”
Vikings quarterback Pedro De Anda has completed 52-of-106 passes for 711 yards and six touchdowns. The team also has four running backs who have rushed for 120 yards or more this season.
“Stop the run, to insert our dominance in that, so then they have to rely on the pass game and then we can go to our coverage and pass rushing,” said defensive end Dylan Vradenburg.
This game has potential playoff implications, too. Both teams are in Division 4, which could affect the rankings in the CIF-Southern Section as well as who makes it into playoffs.
A win could also get the Indians some momentum ahead of the Foothill League season.
“We’ve got to get this game done, get it under our belt, get that record and go into league,” Vradenburg said.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at College of the Canyons.
Valencia at Calabasas
The Vikings have played the Coyotes just three times, but have yet to come out with a win. The games have gotten closer every season, with a 37-21 result in 2016, a 65-63 score in 2017 and a 21-20 loss in 2018.
This season, Valencia gets another shot at a win, but it certainly won’t come without effort as Calabasas is ranked No. 8 in Division 1/2 in this week’s CIF-Southern Section football polls.
The Coyotes are 3-2 in preleague play with losses to Serra and JSerra Catholic, the former of which was a double-overtime loss.
Quarterback Jaden Casey, a Fresno State commit, has highlighted the Coyotes’ play all season along with receiver Jermaine Burton.
The Vikings are coming off of back-to-back losses to Sierra Canyon and Loyola and gave up four touchdowns in each game. Jake Santos will be counted on as a running back and perhaps more so as a linebacker in the game as he has two interceptions and one fumble recovery on defense.
Hunter Koch playing receiver and safety will be a game-time decision due to injury.
Valencia will travel to Calabasas for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Newbury Park at Golden Valley
Golden Valley looks to close out its preleague schedule undefeated as it hosts Newbury Park at Canyon High School tonight at 7 p.m.
The Panthers, a Division 5 team, is 3-1 so far with a loss to Pacifica of Oxnard. They rely heavily on the pass, with quarterback Ben Gulbranson throwing 83-of-128 for 1,375 yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
The Grizzlies’ defense has only allowed a total of four touchdowns in its last four games. Linebacker Shant Melkonian leads the team with 21 total tackles and five other players have 11 total tackles or more.
Canyon at Royal
The Cowboys have the chance to pick up one final win before starting Foothill League play tonight against Royal of Simi Valley.
West Ranch beat Royal 44-21 on Sept. 13. Highlanders quarterback Gabriel Landless scored twice in the contest and will likely be the Cowboys’ focus tonight.
Reno Sifuentes and Colin Figuera have emerged as Canyon’s top receivers with each amassing over 400 yards and four touchdowns apiece. Quarterback Aydyn Litz has surpassed 1,000 yards passing with nine touchdowns and one interception.
The Cowboys will be at Royal High School for a 7 p.m. kickoff.