There was a certain buzz heading into the first week of Foothill League football play and that buzz only grew louder after the performances that the local schools put on Friday night.
Golden Valley and West Ranch both entered the league slate undefeated with similar 5-0 starts and faced off at Canyon High School in a highly anticipated match.
Both schools entered the contest as the highest-scoring offenses in the Foothill League through the preleague schedule as West Ranch forced 246 points in their five wins, while Golden Valley put up 215 points through their first five games.
That wasn’t the case on Friday as the Wildcats overwhelmed the Grizzlies in a 52-13 win to start the season off with a bang.
The multi-faceted West Ranch offense put up some numbers, scoring three receiving touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. They also returned a kick for a score.
With his three-touchdown performance, junior quarterback Walker Eget distanced himself from the rest of the Foothill League quarterbacks as he leads the league with 18 passing touchdowns (Saugus’ Colton FitzGerald sits in second with 10) and 1,491 passing yards (Valencia’s Ryan Morrison has 1,149).
Golden Valley’s running game was slowed as running backs Johnathan Kaelin, Christopher Alcantar and Luke McCoy all had a tough time running the ball. For the first time this year, the Grizzlies didn’t score a rushing touchdown.
Quarterbacks Austin Garcia and Jaxson Miner each threw a passing touchdown in the Grizzlies’ loss.
Both schools are back at home this week as Golden Valley hosts Saugus at Canyon and West Ranch hosts Canyon on Friday.
Valencia also came out on top in the first week of league action as they pounced on Canyon 31-7 to conclude a three-game preleague skid and begin their 10th consecutive Foothill League title defense in 2019.
The Vikings’ offense was efficient as ever as Morrison completed 22-of-29 passes for 321 yards, one passing touchdown and threw one interception, while four running backs carried the ball 20 times for 122 yards and three scores.
Two of the Foothill League’s most raucous cheering sections found themselves on opposite sides of Cougar Stadium as Saugus hosted Hart.
Anchored by a strong running game, the Indians, led by running back Taden Littleford, extended their three-game winning streak to four games with a 35-20 victory.
Scoring his third rushing touchdown of the season, Indians’ quarterback Zach Johnson got the ground game going with a two-yard scamper. He added two touchdowns through the air.
Littleford added 183 yards and another two rushing touchdowns for the Indians’ double-digit win.
The Vikings take on Hart at College of the Canyons on Friday. All games kick off at 7 p.m.
After the surprising blowout win over Golden Valley, West Ranch’s senior running back Reiger Burgin catapulted himself to the top of the Foothill League rushing leaders list with three rushing touchdowns and 112 yards on the ground.
Burgin, through six games, leads the league with 748 yards rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and is averaging 124.7 yards per game.
The Grizzlies’ Johnathan Kaelin is second with nine rushing scores, while teammates Christopher Alcantar and Luke McCoy have rushed for three and six touchdowns, respectively.
Hart’s Littleford sits behind both Burgin and Kaelin on the league leader’s list in rushing with 659 yards and tied for second with nine rushing touchdowns.