Valencia holds off scrappy Golden Valley in low-scoring game

Valencia's Caden Harrington (20) sprints ahead of a pursuing Golden Valley player while defended by teammate Ty Morrison (30) Friday. April 09, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

By Matt Lechuga 
For The Signal 

The Valencia Vikings had their lowest-scoring game of the season Friday night at Canyon High, but it was just enough to hold off a scrappy Golden Valley team and earn a 9-3 win to keep their perfect season hopes alive. 

A 24-yard field goal for Golden Valley in the first quarter and a 25-yarder for Valencia in the second had the game tied 3-3 headed into the fourth quarter.  

The Golden Valley defense had been swarming all night, holding Valencia (4-0) scoreless in the first half for the first time since its 35-7 loss to Calabasas High on September 27, 2019.  

“All the credit in the world to Golden Valley,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “They came out playing hard, playing tough. They were playing physical, they did a great job. Coach Kelly had his guys prepared and they did a terrific job.” 

Valencia’s Daniel Hernandez (32) scores a touchdown during Friday’s game against Golden Valley. April 09, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The Vikings offense struggled all night trying to find a way through the stout Golden Valley defense.  The Grizzlies (1-2-1) held Valencia to just 190 total yards in the game and forced two interceptions.   

After back-to-back drives ending with bad snaps on field goal attempts, Valencia was finally able to break through in the fourth quarter when sophomore running back Daniel Hernandez took a handoff 52 yards for a touchdown. However, a missed PAT left the door open for the Grizzlies.  

Down six with the clock ticking, Golden Valley started from its own 20-yard line and marched down the field to the Valencia 10-yard line thanks to some big third- and fourth-down catches from senior wide receiver and free safety Jacob Cipperley. Cipperley was also a force on defense with both Golden Valley interceptions.  

Facing a fourth-and-three with 1:10 left on the clock, Grizzlies quarterback Jaxon Miner fired over the middle to Noah Thompson but the pass fell incomplete, allowing the Vikings to take over and run the clock out to end the game. 

Valencia’s Tyler Voss (11) passes the ball during Friday night’s game. April 09, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“Coming into this week, we knew they were a really good football team and we knew we really had to prepare because they had been blowing teams out,” said Cipperley. “We practiced really hard, we knew we could beat these guys this game, but we just fell short. But I’m proud of my teammates and I’m proud of the way we played.” 

The win for Valencia sets up a Week Five matchup of unbeatens against Saugus next Friday as the Centurions kept their perfect season going with a 42-21 victory over West Ranch Thursday night. 

Golden Valley’s Jared Giles (28) tries to evade a group of pursuing Valencia players during Friday night’s game at Canyon High School. April 09, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Golden Valley will try to bounce back Friday versus Canyon.   

“We have a lot of experience out there, they’re a focused group, they play well together and they fly around and make plays,” said Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley of his defense. “We knew we were going against a heck of a program, a heck of an offense. These kids were focused and if you’re not focused playing a team like that it’s going to be a long night. Tonight, we knew we had to come out and play four quarters of football and that’s what we did. They never gave up and they played hard.” 

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