After some exciting non-league action, the time is finally here. Foothill League play begins Friday with some hectic early action in week five.
Hart will be on a bye and have some extra tape when they start league play next week.
Outside of the Foothill League, Santa Clarita Christian and Trinity are both on win streaks and heading into big games this weekend.
Valencia hosts Saugus
These programs have been waiting for this matchup for over a year. After COVID-19 caused Valencia (2-2) to forfeit in last year’s matchup, the Vikings will gear up to dethrone the back-to-back champs.
Saugus (3-1) is looking for its 12th straight Foothill League win. Both teams played tough preseasons and while every game didn’t go their way, the Vikings and Centurions both gained a ton through competitive battles.
The Centurion defense has posted some impressive numbers in the preseason. Saugus is dealing with some injuries but whoever’s name is called will be ready against Valencia. The Vikings defense has also showed out against some of the top teams in the Southern Section.
Vikings wide receiver Brandon Boateng and Saugus corner Jaden Lemmons will certainly be a matchup to keep an eye on. Boateng has been a standout target for quarterback Trey Erickson while Lemmons leads a fast and physical Centurion secondary.
Both lines and run games will be tested in what’s expected to be one of the most physical and loudest games of the season.
Saugus heads to Valencia Friday at 7 p.m.
Signal staff picks:
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Saugus wins physical, defensive battle 24-13.
Tyler Wainfeld: The Centurions don’t like to give up points and seem to find a way to win close games. 20-17 Saugus.
Canyon ready to challenge West Ranch
The Cowboys (2-2) will have the biggest test yet in their comeback season. A road matchup with the undefeated Wildcats (4-0) awaits Canyon, but the Cowboys won’t back away from the challenge.
West Ranch has put up big scores against talented teams while posting two road shutouts. Canyon has also held opponents to low scores thanks to its strong defense.
The Cowboys will need more explosive running from running back Gannisten Turner. The big Wildcats defense will be expecting GT rushes, leading to the question if Canyon can win a pass-heavy game.
We can expect Canyon to have something special cooked up for West Ranch on Friday. Nothing has slowed down the Wildcats’ offense so far but league play is a whole other world, especially in the Santa Clarita Valley.
West Ranch takes on Canyon at COC Friday at 7 p.m.
Justin’s pick: West Ranch offense too much for Canyon. Wildcats win 42-20.
Tyler’s pick: Nobody has stopped the Wildcats yet. Hard to see it happening now. 45-13 West Ranch.
Castaic opens league play at Golden Valley
The Coyotes (1-3) are coming off their first varsity win and will have Golden Valley (3-1) as their program’s first league opponent.
The Grizzlies are rolling on a three-game win streak in games where competition grew tougher and tougher.
Golden Valley running back Julian Rios is running the ball well while the passing game is in good hands with quarterback Chris Melkonian. The defense has five takeaways on the year and the Grizzly special teams have shown plenty of scoring.
Castaic will have its hands full but the team has made large improvements since week zero.
Quarterback Dominic Espinoza has reliable targets in Gage Gibson and Davis Cruz while Jacob Pimental has been a force at running back. The Coyote defensive backs have had strong outings and will have their hands full with Golden Valley’s Ajani Smith and William Hake.
The Grizzlies take on Castaic at Canyon, Friday at 7 p.m.
Justin’s pick: Golden Valley can score just about anywhere while Castaic gets their first taste of varsity Foothill League action. Grizzlies handle Coyotes, 31-14.
Tyler’s pick: The Coyotes are reeling after their first varsity win. They may need to wait for their first Foothill League win. 30-17 Golden Valley.
Trinity hosts Bishop Union
The Knights finally got the monkey off their back and scored over 50 points after their 56-20 win over Grace Brethren.
Now averaging 52 points a night, Trinity will look to challenge the Bishop Union Broncos (4-0). The Knights’ offense hasn’t been slowed down much in the first two weeks while defense and special teams keep pumping them more opportunities to score.
Bishop Union is a run-heavy team with a ton of options in the backfield. The Knights are coming off a win in which they allowed 215 rushing yards, 5.4 yards a carry and two scores on the ground. The team knows all about dual-threat quarterbacks and will likely be well-prepared for this matchup thanks to their week three game with the Lancers.
Trinity hosts Bishop Union at Fillmore, Friday at 7 p.m.
SCCS ships off to Coast Union
The Cardinals (2-1) are feeling good about where they are. Santa Clarita Christian’s next stop will be Cambria for a Saturday night matchup with the Broncos (1-1)
Coast Union will be SCCS’s first opponent that isn’t playing in their season opener. The Broncos had a massive 60-6 win in week one but are coming off a 48-6 loss to a good Sierra team.
The Cardinals will be another formidable opponent for Coast. Last week the passing game carried SCCS to a tight win. The receiving corps of Carter Aispuro and Eli Duhm have been tough to cover so far this season. In two games, the pair have a combined 29 catches for 321 yards and five TDs.
The team should begin shaping up on defense as they hope to reach midseason form soon.
SCCS takes on Coast Union Saturday at 6 p.m.