By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The 2022 season is officially underway and of the eight teams that played, just four walked away victorious and undefeated. Three of the four winning teams came out smoking and will look to carry their momentum into week two. Four programs will look to rebound from opening week losses and one is set to kick off its season.
West Ranch heads to Buena
The Wildcats (1-0) went absolutely nuts in Friday’s 61-41 win over St. Francis (0-1).
Quarterback Ryan Staub went over 300 yards through the air while adding six touchdowns. Three different receivers caught touchdown receptions from Staub, including William Seidel and Maverick Diaz, who each went over 100 yards receiving. Chaz Hilst finished the night with six catches for 90 yards and three scores.
The West Ranch defense also was a force, finishing the game with five sacks. Seniors Griffin Nibarger and Connor Reyes both had two-sack nights while Max Johnson also got in the mix with one.
Buena is coming off a loss to Oak Park but was firmly beaten on the ground. The Bulldogs held the Eagles to just 72 yards through the air. West Ranch likely has more weapons in the passing game than Oak Park but the run game may be more of a factor in week two for the Wildcats. Running back brothers Ty and Luke DePerno could be slated for big nights.
West Ranch will take on Buena in Ventura, Friday at 7 p.m.
Saugus hosts Moorpark
Saugus (1-0) will return to College of the Canyons for their home opener against the visiting Moorpark Musketeers (1-0). The Centurions defeated a tough Rio Mesa team last week through some big plays in a tight game.
The team scored on a hail Mary, kickoff return and a game-winning field goal that bounced in off the crossbar.
Saugus held Spartans quarterback JJ Spitner to a 54.3% completion rate while corner Jaden Lemmons was able to reel in the Centurions’ first interception of the season.
The next test will be the Musketeers, who are also coming off a week zero win.
Saugus hosts Moorpark at COC, Friday at 7 p.m.
New-look Canyon hosts Hueneme
The Cowboys (1-0) are off to a good start in 2022 after their 35-6 win over Canoga Park (0-1). The win was Canyon’s first opener victory since 2013.
The Cowboys got scoring from almost everywhere, registering touchdowns on the ground, through the air and on special teams.
Star defensive end Diego Olujich showed the team great things in his new role at quarterback while Ganisten “GT” Turner ran the ball well.
The next assignment will be the Hueneme Vikings, who are coming off a loss to Moorpark. Canyon will look to build off their highest scoring output in years against the Citrus League champs.
The Cowboys will look to go to 2-0 on Friday when they return home to host Hueneme.
Trinity heads to Bosco Tech
No one got off to a better start than Trinity (1-0), which blasted a fifty-burger on Firebaugh (0-1).
Knights wide receiver Jack Spector led the way with five touchdowns, four through the air and one through a punt return.
Now the Knights will aim to prove they aren’t just one-hit wonders. Head coach Mike Parrinello will have his team working to get better every day to improve for every opponent, this week’s being Bosco Tech.
Parrinello will look for his team to continue their dominating offensive and special teams play, while trying to get his team to not force as many balls.
Trinity will make the long road trip to Rosemead for an early 10 a.m. game on Saturday with Bosco Tech.
Valencia and Quartz Hill both looking to rebound from losses
The Vikings took a lot away from their 29-6 loss at Bishop Amat. The Division 5 CIF champs have their home opener against the Division 12 CIF champion Quartz Hill.
Valencia will likely be aggressive and try to establish its balanced attack early. Quarterback Trey Erickson will man the offense and look to carve up the Royals’ defense.
Quartz Hill is a run-heavy team that fed its lead back, Ashtin Dupleasis, 23 carries in its week zero loss to Oxnard. Royals quarterback Logan Hinton threw for a sub 38% completion rate to go along with a pick.
Valencia’s tight coverage and fierce front seven should make it a tough night on the Royals’ pair. However, both teams will be fighting hard for that first win.
Quartz Hill heads to Valencia Friday at 7 p.m.
Hart on the road again at Oxnard
The Indians got blasted on the road in week one and will have another distant road test in Oxnard.
Even though the Indians lost to Camarillo, the game ball had to go to junior Christopher Clauss, who finished the game with a receiving touchdown on his only reception of the game, plus an interception and a fumble recovery.
Hart struggled to establish any run game as lead back Donovan Dunn finished the game with just a yard. Quarterback Tim Larkins had three picks but made plenty of great plays in his 295-yard passing day. Larkins’ favorite target Sean Irwin reeled in 10 catches for 135 yards. Ryan De La Maza caught another seven balls from Larkins and caught one of the team’s two touchdowns.
Oxnard quarterback Alex Maria ran a tight ship in the Yellowjackets’ opener. The sophomore completed 14 of 17 passes with three touchdowns.
The Indians will head to Oxnard Friday at 7 p.m. for their last game of the season outside of the SCV.
Golden Valley heads up to Antelope Valley
The Grizzlies are hoping for a fresh start in week two. The team suffered from a ton of injuries and were without head coach Dan Kelley, who missed the opener due to COVID-19.
Golden Valley will look for a fresher start on the road against Antelope Valley.
The Grizzly offense showed plenty of bright spots with the centerpiece being quarterback Chris Melkonian and wideout Ajani Smith. Running back Julian Rios also had a great game and was a nightmare to tackle in the open field.
The Antelopes will be looking for their first win of the year along with their first points. Antelope Valley was blanked, 50-0 in its opener against Oak Hills.
The Grizzlies have a good shot at getting back on track and sparking some momentum they’d like to carry throughout the preseason into league play.
Golden Valley heads up to Antelope Valley Friday at 7 p.m.
Castaic heads to Royal
The Coyotes had plenty of solid plays to look back on in their first varsity action. Castaic will look to sharpen the offense as players return and the team gets healthier.
Quarterback Dominic Espinoza displayed strong chemistry with receivers Davis Cruz and Gage Gibson. On the other side, the Coyote front struggled to bring down two huge athletic Adelanto players but the secondary looked air-tight. Look for Castaic to wrap and bring down opposing ball-carriers better this week.
The program’s first road test will be at Royal in Simi Valley. The Highlanders are coming off an impressive 21-14 win over Birmingham. The Highlanders were down 14-0 at Birmingham but scored 21 unanswered points, winning the game in the final minute of play. Quarterback Evan Nagy had both passing touchdowns as well as the game-winning rushing score.
Castaic heads out to Simi for its first road test at Royal, Friday at 7 p.m.
SCCS opens up against Lancaster Baptist
The Cardinals will open up their season at home (at Canyon) on Saturday. The once-great program is looking for its first win since its rebirth last year. Lancaster Baptist will be the first obstacle in the way for Santa Clarita Christian School.
The passing game will likely be a strength for this team. Quarterback Cayden Rappleye has some great targets in Carter Aispuro, Eli Duhm and Landon Hermanson. Duhm is coming off a wild 30-catch, 455-yard and eight-touchdown season last year as a freshman.
The Eagles were a very run-heavy team last year and squeaked by SCCS by one point in their 2021 matchup. The Cardinals will look to start their comeback season off with a bang and snag the program’s first win in years.
SCCS hosts Lancaster Baptist at Canyon, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.