By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Valencia Vikings had won the previous 11 league titles in a row before the Saugus Centurions stopped them cold last season after beating them in the final game, securing the league title. The Vikings look to this season to take back their league title.
The Santa Clarita football teams are officially one week away from wins and losses counting towards their final league standings. Several of the teams have a bye week this week to help them prepare for league play while others had their bye weeks switched around due to COVID-19 implications. All teams that are playing are on the road this week.
Here is the schedule for this week’s football games:
Golden Valley vs. Crescenta Valley
The Golden Valley Grizzlies (1-2) start off the week against Crescenta Valley (1-2) in a Thursday night matchup at 7 p.m. at Crescenta Valley. The Grizzlies only will be playing their fourth game of preseason before heading into league play so head coach Dan Kelley wants to gain as much as possible in their final game.
“The big thing is we’ve got to execute on offense,” said Kelley. “We got to keep playing our defense and sharpen up for the league. Our first league game is against Hart. Another tough opponent who is well coached. The Foothill League is no joke week in and week out.”
The Grizzlies are coming off a 42-14 loss to Simi Valley, who have not lost a game this season and had beaten Saugus the week prior, and are looking to end their losing streak against Crescenta Valley before heading into league play.
Hart vs. Downey
The Hart Indians (1-3) are scheduled to play against the Downey Vikings (3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Downey. The Indians have struggled in recent weeks due to an already small roster being hit with big injuries, including their starting running back Donovan Dunn. Head coach Rick Herrington expects to go to running back by committee this week with all the new faces at running back.
“Downey is a pretty darn good team,” said Herrington. “They score a lot of points. Hopefully we’ll be healthy when we get into league. Golden Valley is a good team who have won games and lost against good teams. Hopefully it’s a good game but it all depends on what happens this week.”
The Indians are coming off a 41-3 loss to St. Bonaventure, who are currently ranked 25 in the state according to MaxPreps and have not lost a game yet this season. The Indians also look to end their losing streak against the Vikings in the league season.
Valencia at Westlake
The Valencia Vikings (1-2) travel to play the Westlake Warriors (3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Westlake. The Vikings are coming off two losses in a row but will look to stop their losing streak before playing against West Ranch in their first league game.
“We got to fix ourselves and how we’re preparing,” said head coach Larry Muir after their 17-7 loss to Villa Park. “That’s my fault for not getting these guys ready to play. I got to figure out what I’m doing wrong to fix this because we didn’t execute what we needed to.”
The Vikings scored seven points, which marks the lowest they’ve scored this season and the lowest they’ve scored since week four of the 2020 season when they only scored nine points in a 9-3 win against Golden Valley. Muir and the Vikings will look to this week to execute their game plan before heading into league.
Trinity vs. Alhambra
The Trinity Classical Academy Knights (3-1) go on the road to play against the Alhambra Moors (1-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Alhambra. The Knights are coming off a 31-0 victory against St. Monica and are looking for their fourth win in a row. The Moors are coming off a 45-27 loss to South Pasadena.
In the shutout, the Knights forced five turnovers with defensive end Tanner Moore leading the way. Moore finished with two sacks, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. The Knights will look for their fourth win in a row against the Moors.
Santa Clarita Christian vs. Thacher
The SCCS Cardinals (0-3) are scheduled to play against the Thacher Toads (2-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Thacher. The Cardinals are coming off a 38-10 loss to Faith Baptist while the Toads are coming off a 50-13 win against Flintridge Prep, who beat the Cardinals earlier in the season, 40-6.
Running back Cooper Duhm accounted for the only touchdown for the Cardinals, finishing with 57 rushing yards on 14 carries in their loss to Faith Baptist. The Cardinals look to get their first win of the season against Thacher.
Castaic vs. Paraclete
The Castaic Coyotes (2-1) are scheduled to play the Paraclete Spirits (3-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Antelope Valley College. The Coyotes were scheduled to play Vasquez last week, but the game was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the Coyotes were unable to find another game on time, making it their second game lost to COVID-19 this season. The Spirits are coming off a 43-20 win against Redondo Union.
The Coyotes are coming off a 41-0 in their last matchup two weeks ago against St. Genevieve in which Tyler Soles finished with 112 yards and two touchdowns. The defense gave up only 48 total yards of offense with two interceptions — with one of them being taken in for a touchdown — three sacks and one fumble recovery.
Saugus, West Ranch, Canyon
The Saugus Centurions, West Ranch Wildcats and Canyon Cowboys are all on a bye this week and will come back the first week of Foothill League play. The Centurions are scheduled to play against the Cowboys when they come back. The Wildcats are scheduled to play the Vikings.