By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Valencia Vikings defeated the Notre Dame Knights on Friday in their home and season opener. The powerhouse matchup between two of the top 150 schools in the state showed the fans of Santa Clarita why the Vikings can match up with the rest of the top schools in the state, while Notre Dame showed the competition the Vikings will have to face in order for a deep push into the CIF playoffs.
The Vikings and head coach Larry Muir had to wait an extra week due to their original season opener against Quartz Hill being canceled due to COVID-19 implications with Quartz Hill, but were able to start their season on the right foot as they make a run at another league title.
“I’m just proud of our guys in terms of getting to this point, with the game getting canceled and COVID testing,” said Muir. “You can just see it, they were ready to play somebody. All across the board they were prepared to play. We just wanted to keep them in the moment with the will to win and that’s what we did.”
The Vikings’ defense was all over Notre Dame in the first half, coming out of the gate with a three-and-out and only allowing one touchdown near the end of the second quarter, but the story of the first half remained on Vikings quarterback Tyler Voss and the Viking offense.
Voss ended the first half with 195 passing yards and 105 rushing yards to go along with his four total touchdowns, two of his three touchdowns being hauled in by wide receiver and cornerback Duhron Goodman, while accounting for every score of the first half to push them up 28-10. Voss broke loose off a 51-yard rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter off a fake handoff.
Voss would finish the game with 260 passing yards, 126 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.
“As the first game goes, that’s as good as it gets,” said Voss. “Receivers and offensive linemen did their thing. (Goodman) is a special kid. One of the most athletic receivers I have ever seen in my entire life. He’s a division one athlete for sure. A power five talent. He’s a playmaker so he just makes plays.”
The Knights tried to stay in the game, being led by quarterback Wyatt Becker with two big passing plays of 35 and 40 yards and a one-yard rushing touchdown for the Knights’ only two scores of the half. Becker would make more plays in the second half, including a 44-yard pass that was capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Erikas Pouodziunas, but the Vikings’ offense kept moving along while their swarming defense accounted for four sacks in the first half alone.
The Vikings needed big plays on defense, and with Vikings linebacker, fullback and wide receiver Reid Farrell on the field, the Vikings found their defensive answer. Farrell would come up with a forced fumble, a sack and interception throughout the course of the game.
With the big plays on defense, top 50 player in the state wide receiver and safety, Zamondre Merriweather, was able to come up with an all-around game that included a 31-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Kaden Bassett.
Goodman was also able to capitalize once again, hauling in his third touchdown of the game off a 53-yard pass from Voss and grabbing an interception, capping his already impressive night. Goodman would finish the night with 96 receiving yards.
“The mindset all week was to practice hard. We were excited to come out and play,” said Goodman. “(Voss) is one of my brothers. We’ve been playing since Pop Warner; we have built the connection for a while. I’m so happy he’s going to be playing in college. He deserves all of it.”
With the game in hand, the Vikings continued their punishing ground attack, finishing the night with 200 yards rushing to seal the game.
The Vikings’ next game is scheduled against Rancho Cucamonga on Friday at 7 p.m. at Rancho Cucamonga.