By Bryanna Winner
For The Signal
Valencia football beat Canyon 31-7 on the Foothill League’s opening night at Valencia on Friday. The win is the Vikings’ first since Sept. 6.
After losing three straight games, the Vikings came out of the gate with something to prove against the Cowboys.
“It felt good to get a win. That was important for us. It’s been a long three weeks for us,” head coach Larry Muir said. “It was critical that we came out here, put everything that we’ve had problems with behind us and move forward. It’s been good in terms of just feeling good that we got a win tonight.”
After stuffing the Cowboys to a three-and-out on the second drive of the game, Vikings quarterback Ryan Morrison threw to Zamondre Merriweather from the 27-yard line for their first touchdown with 9:52 left in the first quarter.
Senior Mitchell Torres had a two-yard run into the end zone for Valencia’s first touchdown of the second half.
Senior Jake Santos ran in two touchdowns for Valencia (3-3 overall, 1-0 Foothill League), both to end the first and second quarters. His first touchdown was a six-yard run with 17 seconds left in the first quarter and the second was from the one-yard line with 1:57 left in the first half.
Junior Caden Harrington felt confident in the win after gaining momentum at the beginning of the first quarter.
“Our first drive was really important, at least on defense since (Canyon) got the ball first and it was great to get a fast stop, even though they got the one first down,” junior Caden Harrington said. “It was key to building momentum right off the bat.”
Junior Matthew Santos was proud of the way the defense played during the game.
“One of our key plays was when our defense got a good stop on fourth down at the 25-yard line and then our offense drove all the way downfield and we got some points onto the board at the start of the second half,” said Santos.
First-year Canyon head coach Joe Maiale appreciated how hard his team worked against a perennial title contender like Valencia, which has won 10 straight Foothill League championships.
“There are things to be proud of,” Maiale said. “Effort-wise, I was proud that we didn’t come out here and lose to a reputation. It can be tough when a team has a winning streak like they do.”
Canyon (2-4, 0-1) scored their one and only touchdown on a 19-yard quarterback keep by senior Aydyn Litz with 9:17 remaining in the third quarter. Valencia answered back though less than two minutes later as junior Ty Morrison kicked a field goal with 7:26 left in the third to put the Vikings 31-7.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday at 7 p.m. as the Cowboys travel to West Ranch to take on the Wildcats at Valencia High and the Vikings travel to Hart to take on the Indians at College of the Canyons.