Valencia begins Foothill League title defense against Canyon

Valencia running back Aidan Baptiste (37) stiff-arms Loyola defender Carter Link (4) in the second quarter at Valencia High earlier this year.
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The Valencia football team will begin its Foothill League title defense at home against Canyon tonight.

The Vikings are coming off three consecutive losses to Sierra Canyon, Loyola and Calabasas, while the Cowboys won two of their last three games, beating Palmdale and Royal and losing to Simi Valley.

Experienced quarterback Aydyn Litz will lead the charge for Canyon with his throwing and running ability. Litz is second amongst Foothill League quarterbacks in passing yards with 1,121 and is currently the No. 4 rusher in the league with 353 yards, ahead of a handful of starting running backs.

Litz has shown a real connection with receivers Colin Figueroa and Reno Sifuentes, both of whom lead the league in receiving yards. Figueroa has a league-leading 32 receptions for 464 yards and Sifuentes has 27 catches for 447 yards.

The numbers for Figueroa and Sifuentes could go up substantially after tonight, as the Cowboys will likely have to keep up with Valencia’s offense.

Ryan Morrison is the signal-caller for the Vikings and the senior has thrown for 828 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions so far this season.

Morrison is accurate and has a plethora of weapons on the outside to get the ball to like Hunter Koch, Jayden Lawrence and Mitchell Torres, but Valencia’s success will be tied to the running game.

Jake Santos and Nick Pham are both solid runners, with the former having big-play ability and the latter able to grind out tough yards. Santos has 273 rushing yards on the season, seventh-best in the league.

Valencia’s defense has also been solid this season and will need to be ready to go to slow down Litz tonight.

Canyon’s defense has also been lights out this year, as the front seven has been dominant behind strong play from defensive end Evan Cox and linebacker Angel Vasquez. The Cowboys lead the league in sacks with 16.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Valencia High School.

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