By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
Santa Clarita Valley high school football entered the CIF playoffs with six teams. After a rough week, the Valencia Vikings emerged as the only victorious team of the six after a 45-13 victory against Rio Mesa and head into the second round of the Division 5 playoffs against the La Habra Highlanders (6-5, 5-0).
They are scheduled to play Friday at 7 p.m. at Valencia.
“It was an interesting game from the standpoint that everything happened so fast,” Vikings head coach Larry Muir said of the first-round win. “It was the first playoff game we won in quite some time so it was a great feeling for us. We need to continue to get better even though we have been playing some of our best football in the last couple weeks. Teams in the playoffs will continue to evolve so we can’t stay the same. I believe the kids are in a good place and I think we have a solid chance.”
The Vikings have had games cancelled, endured key injuries including losing their starting quarterback Tyler Voss to a season-ending knee injury, and fell to the third spot in the Foothill League rankings.
However, the Vikings still have key players, which include receiver Zamondre Merriweather — ranked as a top 50 player in the state — receiver Duhron Goodman, who led the team in receiving touchdowns during the regular season (6), and quarterback Trey Erickson, who took over for the injured Voss and has led them into the playoffs.
The Vikings look poised to make a deep playoff run.
“It’s been a good week of practice,” said Muir. “In terms of trying to get the work in, we’ve been doing all the right things. I think it’s an exciting time for us and we just have to continue on our positive momentum from Rio Mesa. La Habra is a good team so it’s going to be tough.”