Football: Golden Valley ground attack wears down West Ranch

Golden Valley High wide receiver Noah Thompson (4), left, makes the catch and heads towards the goal line against West Ranch defender Ike Sibal (34) at Valencia High School on Friday, 032621. Dan Watson/The Signal
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By Dan Lovi 
For The Signal 

The run game was alive and well for the Golden Valley football team on Friday night, as the Grizzlies used a punishing ground attack to defeat the West Ranch Wildcats 31-15 at Valencia High School. 

The Grizzlies started their first drive of the game with five straight rushing attempts, methodically moving down the field with junior running back Jared Giles and senior Lucas McCoy leading the charge.  

Giles broke off runs for 20 yards, 12 yards and two 9-yard rushes to set up a touchdown by McCoy, who powered through for a 2-yard score. 

Giles finished the game with 160 yards on 22 carries and McCoy added 29 yards and two rushing touchdowns. 

“He’s a very elusive back. He knows how to hit the gap and move laterally very well and find space,” Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley said about Giles. “He’s electrifying. He’s a joy to watch and he brings a lot to this program.” 

West Ranch was able to answer back on its ensuing drive, as senior quarterback Walker Eget found wideout Owen Strunck for a 27-yard score. 

However, three turnovers in a row, two fumbles and an interception, hampered the West Ranch offense. 

Golden Valley’s offense also had a few tricks up its sleeve, and on third-and-6 from its own 7-yard line, quarterback Jaxson Miner escaped a sack and found speedster Julian Brown, who took it to the house for a 93-yard score. 

Backed up at their own end zone, the Wildcats had another answer with a big play of their own. Eget connected with receiver Dylan Cotti for a 99-yard score to bring the score to 24-15 before the end of the half. However, those were the last points the Wildcats would score on the evening. 

West Ranch had an opportunity to bring the game to within one score in the fourth quarter, but a deep bomb from Eget hit the hands of Strunck and he couldn’t hold on. 

“This is licking your wounds and learning and trying to stay positive,” West Ranch head coach Chirs Varner said. “They’re competitive, but we’re young. We went from not being able to touch to tackling in one day and it showed. But I’m proud of their effort because they battled and fought back. That’s a heck of a team coach Kelley has.” 

Golden Valley was able to get one more score on the board in the fourth quarter, with Miner finding his lengthy wide receiver Carlos Meza for a 25-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4. 

Miner completed 15-of-21 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. Eget finished with 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 

“This league is tough. Next week we have a solid opponent again in Saugus,” said Kelley. “We have our work for us. But if these kids keep moving forward like they did tonight, I think next week should be something to look forward to.”

West Ranch will take on Canyon next week and Golden Valley will match up with Saugus. 

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