By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Foothill League hype was anticipated the entire season leading up to the opening week of league play, and the hype was easily met. With one week officially in the books, here are the matchups for week eight of Santa Clarita Valley football.
West Ranch vs. Golden Valley
The West Ranch Wildcats (5-1, 1-0) are scheduled to play the Golden Valley Grizzlies (3-2, 1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Canyon. Both the Wildcats and the Grizzlies are coming off close victories, but both coaches know this next game shows no reason to be taken lightly.
Wildcats head coach Chris Varner is coming off his first victory as a head coach against Valencia, but wants to instill in his team to not let the emotions of last week’s victory get in the way of their ultimate goal at the end of the season.
“Golden Valley is tremendous, and coach (Dan) Kelley is one of my favorite coaches of all-time,” said Varner. “They have a ton of talent and by no means is this going to be any easier than going against Valencia. We had many turnovers against Valencia, so we were very lucky to be able to pull that win off. We have to continue to work hard because hard work is what got us here in the first place.”
Grizzlies head coach Dan Kelley has the same respect for Varner and the Wildcats, but knows it’s always great to start off the league with a win.
“Our main focus now is West Ranch,” said Kelley. “They’re good on both sides of the ball and they are well coached. Their record shows it. They have a good football team when it comes to every aspect of the game. We have to stick to key reads and play tough defense while also being able to have a balanced offense with all the different angles they come at you on their defense.”
Valencia vs. Canyon
The Valencia Vikings (2-3, 0-1) are scheduled to play the Canyon Cowboys (2-3, 0-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Valencia. Both teams are coming off losses and look to turn it around before the season ends.
The Vikings and head coach Larry Muir are looking to this season as redemption for losing out on the Foothill League title for the first time in 11 seasons last season, while Cowboys head coach Joe Maiale is looking to be recognized and show they belong in the always competitive Foothill League.
Muir isn’t rattled from the loss, and sees a lot of good that came out of the game against West Ranch despite also losing his starting quarterback, Tyler Voss, to an injury in the process.
“It’s a huge game for us,” said Muir. “We’re going to have to play well on defense and eliminate big plays. Make sure guys are in the right spots and execute on offense. Understand the roles and make sure we’re executing and be prepared. We just have to go out and execute on a Friday night.”
Maiale is also not fazed by the loss, but understands the tall task ahead, as going up against a team with the firepower of Valencia can be daunting.
“We absolutely need to clean up execution and continue doing things right,” said Maiale. “It’s more about executing the right things to be successful. Valencia is an excellent team, but it’s more about us executing to be successful. It’s not rocket science. We just got to do the right things to be successful.”
Hart vs. Saugus
The Hart Indians (1-5, 0-1) are scheduled to play the Saugus Centurions (5-1, 1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. at College of the Canyons.
The Centurions are coming off a big win against the Cowboys, making a real name for themselves as the top school in the league, while the Indians, who have been battling injuries and a small roster all season, are coming off a close loss to the Grizzlies.
In their 2020 season matchup, the Centurions won, 35-10.
The rest of the Santa Clarita football schedule
Trinity Classical Academy (5-1, 1-0) is scheduled to play against Big Bear (6-1, 2-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Valencia.
Santa Clarita Christian School (0-5) is scheduled to play against Windward on Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Windward.
Castaic High School (3-2) is scheduled to play against St. Margaret’s (2-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. at St. Margaret’s.