By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
For The Signal
The Golden Valley Grizzlies (2-2) wasted no time putting away the Crescenta Valley Falcons (1-3) in their Thursday night nonleague matchup.
Everything clicked from the start and the Grizzly offense went up three scores before the first-quarter horn.
Golden Valley wide receiver and defensive back Chris Melkonian starred all over the field. The two-way player was everywhere and highlighted his night with a big pick-six to go up four scores on Crescenta Valley.
The junior would not only grab a second interception in the first half, but also he followed the pick on offense the very next play, scoring one of his two touchdown receptions with an 8-yard catch.
“The coaches put me in great positions,” said Melkonian. “Defense and offense, they did a great job preparing us for today.”
Running back Jared Giles could not be stopped from the get-go. The senior hit one big run after another, including a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the third quarter.
“It all starts with my line, I can’t thank them enough,” said Giles. “Without the line, I’m nothing.”
Giles finished with three scores and would’ve easily gone over 200 yards on the ground if he wasn’t taken out in the third quarter.
The passing game was just as effective, with quarterback Jaxson Miner at the helm for the Grizzly offense.
Miner was mostly on the money before also being pulled in the third quarter with Giles. Miner finished with three touchdown passes and one interception.
Freshman wide receiver Adonyss Currie reeled in one of Miner’s best throws for a 50-yard gain on an incredible catch in some solid defensive coverage.
The Grizzly defense stood tall, giving the Falcon offense nearly no life throughout the first half, when most of the Crescenta Valley’s first downs came from Golden Valley penalties.
The Falcons struggled and eventually resorted to direct snaps and trick plays, which didn’t fool the Grizzly defense at first. Eventually Golden Valley let up as Falcons wide receiver Shade Schaefer ran the wildcat and busted a 54-yard touchdown run to get the Falcons on the scoreboard.
Crescenta Valley was later fueled by wide receiver Luke Steele. The senior scored twice, once on the ground and another on a huge 82-yard touchdown reception, untouched.
The Grizzles would finish the first half with more points on the board than their last two games combined, and after the team recovered a muffed squib kick, Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley finally brought Giles and Miner to the sideline for the night with the Grizzlies coasting with a 43-point lead in the third quarter.
The team’s performance also matched Kelley’s best offensive output in his Golden Valley tenure.
“Every week you want to get better and we got better this week,” said Kelley. “If you’re going to win in the Foothill League, you better be as perfect as you can. Every week is really tough.”
The Grizzlies finish the non-league season with a 2-2 record and some much-needed momentum heading into league play.
Golden Valley will visit the Hart Indians Friday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. for both teams’ first Foothill League action.