Football week four preview 

Hart Indians defender Peyton McClain (2) drags down a Fillmore receiver in the second quarter of a non-league game against the Fillmore Flashes at Cougar Stadium in Valencia, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Just two undefeated teams remain in the SCV after a wild week three. Most of the local teams will have their biggest tests yet at the perfect time.  

Foothill League schools will enter league play next week, getting one less non-league game than the five they would have had in previous seasons, as the league grows by one member with the addition of Castaic High School. 

West Ranch heads to St. Paul 

The Wildcats (3-0) are the last unbeaten team in the Foothill League and will look to keep it that way heading down to St. Paul (2-1). 

The passing game looked impeccable last week against Antelope Valley. However, West Ranch head coach Chris Varner knows it’ll take a balanced offense to bring home a league title. The DePerno brothers, Ty and Luke, looked strong in the backfield, each rushing for a score on more than 10 yards a carry. 

This week the Wildcats will face another pass-heavy team featuring two Swordsmen receivers over 200 yards already. St. Paul’s defense has also brought down three interceptions with a ton of pass breakups. 

West Ranch will look to make it 4-0 Friday night in Santa Fe Springs when they take on the Swordsmen at 7 p.m. 

Valencia set for battle with Rancho Cucamonga  

Valencia (2-1) turned some heads with a 30-21 win over Notre Dame (2-1). While it wasn’t an upset for the Vikings, it certainly gets their season back on track. This week will be another huge test in the visiting Rancho Cucamonga Cougars (2-1). 

Valencia quarterback Trey Erickson left last week’s game with an injury but has been cleared to play Friday. Erickson’s lead wideout Brandon Boateng is off to a hot start. The senior receiver already has 19 receptions for 267 yards and three scores. 

Rancho has played some tough defenses so far this year and will expect the same under the Valencia lights. Cougars quarterback CJ Tiller will likely rebound from his .417% completion percentage and two-pick night in Rancho’s loss to Norco. Tiller, a Boise State commit, will in turn be the biggest test for the Vikings’ defense, which is starting to heat up. 

The Vikings will look to avenge their 2021 loss to the Cougars Friday at 7 p.m. 

Golden Valley heads to Garfield 

The Grizzlies (2-1) struggled to score in their home matchup with the Quartz Hill Royals (0-3). Quartz Hill was scorched the previous week by Valencia and worked all week to be ready for another balanced attack. Nonetheless, Golden Valley’s defense also held up and came away with a win. 

The team now heads into its last non-league matchup with Garfield (2-1). The Bulldogs are a run-heavy team with a little giant at running back. The 5-foot, 7-inch sophomore Damian Cornejo already has two 100-yard rushing days along with five touchdowns on nearly eight yards a carry. Garfield hasn’t looked the cleanest in the passing game so if the Grizzlies can hold Cornejo in check, Golden Valley should be in good shape. 

Golden Valley wide receiver Julian Rios (18) takes a handoff and goes in untouched for the first touchdown for Golden Valley against Quartz Hill High at Canyon High School on Friday, 090222. Dan Watson/The Signal

Grizzly running back Julian Rios is coming to his own in the running game while quarterback Chris Melkonian is spreading the ball around well. 

Golden Valley is looking for its best start since 2019 when the team finished 8-2. The Grizzlies head to Los Angeles (and could carpool with West Ranch) to face Garfield Friday at 7 p.m. 

Hart takes on Mira Costa on Larry Fiscus night 
The Indians (1-2) finally got the motor running in their win over Fillmore (1-2). Running back Donovan Dunn went over 100 all-purpose yards while quarterback Tim Larkins and receiver Shawn Irwin looked sharp in the team’s blowout win.  

Hart will have one more non-league game when the team hosts Mira Costa on Friday. The visiting Mustangs look pass-heavy and rightfully so with two big receivers in Cole Crotty and Reese Leonard. 

This could be a high-scoring affair with two teams that like to air it out. 

The program will also have a pregame jersey retirement ceremony honoring Hart’s longtime equipment manager and beloved campus family member Larry Fiscus.  

The Indians take on the Mustangs Friday at 7 p.m. at College of the Canyons. 

Trinity hosts Grace Brethren 

The Knights (2-0) will come off their early bye for their home opener with the Grace Brethren Lancers (1-1). 

Grace Brethren is also averaging more than 50 points a game but will have a tough test in the Trinity defense. Lancer quarterback Ethan LeSeca is already at 364 yards on the ground in two games with 11 total TDs. 

The sophomore quarterback will be the Knights’ biggest assignment yet, but the Trinity defense has had over a week to prepare for this game. 

The Knights are playing great football and will look for their first 3-0 start since 2019. 

Trinity hosts Grace Brethren Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Valencia. 

Saugus gets big test in Simi Valley 

The Centurions (2-1) were caught off guard in the first half last week against Camarillo (2-1). Their huge comeback fell just short but Saugus played a strong second half. 

Senior Jacob Viger finished with 20 carries for 177 yards and a TD on offense while adding 10 tackles on defense. Both Viger and Deohn Turner had rushes of over 50 yards and quarterback TJ Cataldi threw another tight game, finishing just under a 70% completion rate. 

Saugus will have its stiffest competition yet with Simi Valley (3-0). The Centurions fell just short in their road matchup with the Pioneers last year in which the team didn’t have its starting quarterback yet. However, that game is ancient history to Centurion head coach Jason Bornn. 

Simi Valley workhorse running back Caleb Alvary has only needed to carry the ball 21 times in three games due to the Pioneers basically averaging 50-point blowouts. Saugus will be the Pioneers’ biggest test and we’ll likely see plenty of Alvary throughout the game. Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Steele Pizzella will also be a factor throughout the night. Pizzella has 12 total touchdowns. 

The Centurions host Simi Valley at Canyon Thursday at 7 p.m. 

Canyon hosts Royal 

Canyon (2-1) saw its first loss of the Ken Holsenbeck era come in a tough battle with Harvard-Westlake (1-2). 
The Cowboys’ defense managed to bring in two interceptions but couldn’t capitalize more than just six points. Canyon’s one thorn in its side was Wolverine receiver Josh Dixon, who finished the night with seven catches for 125 yards and two TDs. Canyon will take this and learn heading into a big game with the Royal Highlanders (2-1). 

Royal is off to a great start this season but is coming off a lopsided loss from Simi Valley. Both teams are looking to bounce back with league games due up next week. The Highlanders will be a great test for Canyon before they head into league play against West Ranch. 

Canyon’s Evan Watts (30) runs through defenders to score the Cowboys first touchdown of the game in the first quarter of a non-league game between the Cowboys and the Hueneme Vikings at the Canyon High School football field on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Cowboys receiver and returner Jeremiah Taylor and running back Ganisten Turner have looked sharp this season. The two will look to make more big plays in their final home non-league battle. 

Royal heads to Canyon Friday at 7 p.m. 

Castaic heads up to Eastside 

The Coyotes (0-3) experienced their first big lead of the season last week after the team went up 20-7 on Burbank. The Bulldogs would rally to score 29 unanswered points and win but Castaic came away with a ton of positives in week three. 

The Coyotes will now travel to Eastside (1-1) for their final non-league matchup with the Lions. Castaic quarterback Dominic Espinoza is coming off his best passing game so far while junior running back Jacob Pimental has stepped up in the RB1 role. 

The team will search for its first varsity win on the road before they begin their inaugural Foothill League season next week against Golden Valley. 

Castaic heads to Antelope Valley to face the Eastside Lions Friday at 7 p.m. 

SCCS has first of many long road trips 

Santa Clarita Christian football (1-1) earned its first win thanks to a Hillcrest Christian forfeit last week. The Cardinals will look to play for their first on-the-field win this week when the team heads to Villanova Prep for the home team’s season opener.  

SCCS will have its first of a handful of long drives, heading out to Ojai on Saturday. 

Quarterback Cayden Rappleye and wide receivers Carter Aispuro and Eli Duhm will look to keep the offense’s hot start rolling. On the other side, the defense had plenty of positives in their week one loss but in turn plenty to work on. 

The Cardinals take on the Wildcats Saturday at 1 p.m. 

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