By Matt Lechuga
For The Signal
It only took one quarter for the Foothill League’s reigning champs to reassert themselves as the team to beat in this new, condensed season, with a 63-20 Valencia High victory over West Ranch at Valencia on Friday.
The Valencia Vikings trailed 13-7 after the first quarter but scored 35 unanswered points in the second en route to the win.
West Ranch (0-1) took a quick 7-0 lead after marching down the field primarily on the arm of standout senior quarterback Walker Eget. Eget avoided a sack and rolled to his right to find running back Derek Miranda 34 yards downfield for the opening score.
The teams traded touchdowns, Valencia tying on a 19-yard pass from Tyler Voss to Duhron Goodman, and the Wildcats taking the lead again on a 15-yard strike from Eget to Dylan Cotti, making the score at the end of the first quarter 13-7.
The second quarter was all Vikings as Valencia (1-0) immediately took the lead back for good when running back Daniel Hernandez ran in from 16 yards out. After a three-and-out by West Ranch, Valencia’s Jayden Shakir fielded the punt and returned it 59 yards for a score, extending the Viking lead to 21-13.
“It was a great game with the team, and we got the win – that’s what I love,” said Goodman, who finished the game with three receptions, all touchdowns, for 184 yards. “It’s been a minute so I get why we started slow but at the end of the day we got the dub, so I’m proud of us for our first game.”
The Vikings scored three more times in the quarter on a 75-yard connection from Voss to Goodman, an 8-yard rush from senior running back Christian Alcantar and a 6-yard rush from Giorgio Spiropoulos.
The Valenica running back trio of Hernandez, Alcantar and Spiropoulos combined for 291 yards and four touchdowns.
“There were some really good things, and there were some big plays we made there, but we have a lot to work on still,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “It’s so hard because you’re trying to figure out how to do things better in a shortened amount of time, but that’s the nature of only having two or three weeks to prepare. It’s a sprint so now we have to get better, quicker.”
After a 3-yard scoring run from Voss to push the Valencia lead to 49-13, West Ranch found the end zone for the final time of the night when Eget hit Owen Strunck for an 83-yard touchdown.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said West Ranch coach Chris Varner. “We have a lot of young guys that haven’t played under the lights and we had fun out here. That’s a solid team, but we’re young and you learn a lot from games like this.”
Valencia added two more scores, a 90-yard bomb from Voss to Goodman and a 17-yard rush from Spiropoulos, to make the final score 63-20.
“It felt really good to be out here,” said Voss. “This is the most exciting day I’ve had in a while.”
The Vikings will travel to Canyon next Friday and West Ranch will host Golden Valley.
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