Offensive struggles limit Valencia football in loss to Calabasas


Valencia’s defense did its best to limit the high-powered Calabasas offense on Friday night at Calabasas High School, but the Vikings’ offense couldn’t get anything going all game, leading to a 35-7 victory for the Coyotes.

Calabasas (4-2) relied heavily on running back Jyden King on its first drive, and the senior picked up large chunks of yards often, but Valencia’s defense held strong.

Calabasas converted a fake punt as quarterback Jaden Casey ran for a first down, but the Vikings stopped the Coyotes on a fourth-and-one at their own 13-yard line to bring the offense onto the field for its first possession.

The Vikings went the ground-and-pound route in the first half, feeding running backs Jake Santos and Nick Pham to the tune of 10 total carries, but they couldn’t find much room to operate.
Quarterback Ryan Morrison threw the ball just three times in the first two quarters and ended the game with only four completions for 51 yards on 17 pass attempts.

Valencia accumulated just 75 yards of total offense, as Santos and Pham combined for 24 rushing yards on 14 carries combined. 

Calabasas tacked on three touchdowns in the second quarter, all passes by Casey. He found Malachi Hannah for an 18-yard score, then a leaping Johnny Wilson in the right corner of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. He connected with Larry Turner-Gooden on an 18-yard score with less than 30 second to go in the first half. 

The Coyotes methodically built drives behind strong running from King and Jaylen Thompson to set up the passing touchdowns. 

In the second half, Valencia’s defense stepped up once again, intercepting Casey twice in the third quarter to give the Vikings a boost of momentum. Diego Garcia had the first pick, then Jonathan Tcheumani intercepted the ball off the fingertips of Turner-Golden and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown, Valencia’s only score of the game.

The defense also did its best to shut down Calabasas on several fourth-and-short situations, but penalties negated big plays by the defense and kept drives alive for the Coyotes.

King scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Coyotes a 28-7 advantage and then Morrison was sacked and fumbled, which was scooped up by Calabasas’ Peter Briggs for a touchdown.

After suffering its third loss in a row, Valencia will look to get back to its winning ways when Foothill League action begins next week.

The Vikings will open at home against Canyon on Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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