Valencia crushes Castaic 66-6 

Valencia Vikings running back Aidan Hicks (30) celebrates getting the first down in the first quarter of a Foothill League game between Saugus and Valencia High Schools at the Valencia High School football field on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

The Valencia Vikings (3-3, 1-1) crushed the Castaic Coyotes (1-5, 0-2) 66-6 on Friday, with Castaic narrowly escaping a shutout on a hail-Mary as the clock ran out. 

In an omen for what was to come, the game started out rough for the Coyotes, fumbling on the opening kickoff return, recovering, but then fumbling again on first down for a turnover, which resulted in a touchdown on the Vikings’ first down with the ball.  

Valencia head coach Larry Muir said making defense a priority after last week’s loss was key to Friday night’s victory.  

“I think we had a lot of mistakes last couple of weeks,” said Muir. “As you go through the season it’s about corrections and understanding the defensive positioning. I think positioning has been a big deal for us in terms of where to be on the field and recognizing your keys and those kinds of things. So I think just positioning wise defensively is always a key for us. So I thought we got better at that.” 

By the end of the first quarter, the Vikings were ahead 35-0 and the team brought in their second string. Valencia scored a touchdown on every single possession but one in the first half.  

When the Coyotes finally did stop the Vikings on a drive, with seven minutes left in the second quarter, the accomplishment was short lived. Once the Coyotes had the ball back, Castaic quarterback Dominic Espinoza threw an interception, which was run back for a touchdown by junior defender Tony Testa.  

Castaic offered virtually no resistance on defense and never really answered on offense in the first half, only crossing over into Vikings’ territory once and that was due to a penalty.  

The score was 56-0 by halftime and Valencia’s momentum did not falter, even with their second string in. The first Valencia drive of the second half continued the trend with a touchdown on a 13-yard scramble by backup quarterback Jackson Askins, bringing the score to 63-0 by the end of the third quarter. 

Askins said that, having recovered from an injury earlier in the season, he was a little apprehensive about coming back but eventually he found his stride. 

“You know, I was a little nervous in the first game but it was good. I kind of calmed down… I just settled down and kind of played my game,” said Askins. “I’ve been waiting for my shot basically, I hurt my arm early in the season. So that was like my second week back, so I’m excited. I’m gonna keep doing my thing.” 

Askins ended up throwing two touchdowns and scrambling for one.  

One of only two times the Coyotes were able to push into Vikings’ territory in the second half was on a pass to Lucas Milan, which brought them to the 32-yard line. The Coyotes caught a little bit of a break when two offside penalties were called against Valencia – however, they were unable to capitalize on what would turn out to be one of their most productive runs.   

The game ended with a hail Mary pass to Coyotes wide receiver Gage Gibson for a touchdown, the Coyotes’ only points on the board.  

Castaic will look again for its first Foothill League win on Friday at Canyon. Valencia will return on Friday home to host Golden Valley. 

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