Week 6 football preview 

Chaz Hilst (12) of West Ranch holds onto a pass in the endzone to score against Canyon defender Maki Thomas (13) in the second quarter at College of the Canyons on Friday, 091622. Dan Watson/The Signal

Foothill League Week 5 Standings 

  1. West Ranch (5-0, 1-0) 
  1. Saugus (4-1, 1-0) 
  1. Golden Valley (4-1, 1-0) 
  1. Valencia (2-3, 0-1) 
  1. Canyon (2-3, 0-1) 
  1. Hart (1-3, 0-0) 
  1. Castaic (1-4, 0-1) 

By Justin Vigil-Zuniga 

Signal Sports Writer 

Week 5 is in the books and Foothill League play is back in action. West Ranch and Golden Valley couldn’t ask for a better start while Saugus won a battle at Valencia. 

Hart will enter league play this week while Canyon will be on its early bye. 

Santa Clarita Christian also heads into a bye coming off a big loss. 

Trinity’s home game against Bishop Union last week was canceled but the team will be ready to go this week. 

West Ranch vs Saugus, The Game 

It’s not so bold to say the winner of this game is expected to be the 2022 Foothill League champion. The Wildcats (5-0, 1-0) put the beatdown on Canyon last week while the Centurions (4-1, 1-0) showed excellent grit in their win over the Vikings. 

The Centurions will likely have the same game plan as last year, which limited the West Ranch offense to eight points. That type of score seems unheard of this year with numbers the Cats have put up, but Saugus will be the biggest test this year for West Ranch by far.  

The Centurion defense knows all about slowing down big offenses. The team held 50-point usuals Simi Valley and Rio Mesa to 14 points in their matchups.  

One of the not-so-talked-about topics this year has been the West Ranch defense. The Wildcats have eight picks and 15 sacks in five games. Linebacker Brady Van Bennekum has been everywhere. The senior leads his team with 41 tackles, and has two sacks and three interceptions with two pick-sixes. 

Each team can slow down both the pass and run game so this game should be won in the trenches. 

Cougar Stadium should be packed for this one. The Wildcats and Centurions kickoff Friday at 7 p.m. 

Signal Staff Picks 

Justin Vigil-Zuniga: West Ranch wins dogfight of a game, 24-21. 

Tyler Wainfeld: Saugus keeps it close, but West Ranch runs away in the second half. 31-17 West Ranch 

Hart opens up against Golden Valley 

Golden Valley (4-1, 1-0) shouldn’t be flying under anyone’s radar at this point. The team is rolling on a four-game win streak and will look to take down Hart (1-3) in the Indians’ league opener. 

The Grizzlies have become a more balanced offense than some may have expected. A dual-threat quarterback, shifty running back and multiple big-play receivers have proven too much for opposing defenses so far this year. The defense is just as dominant with an always-physical game plan that has led to 12 takeaways in four games. 

Hart still has the tools to get their season back on track. Quarterback Tim Larkins has weapons in Shawn Irwin and Ryan De La Maza. If the offensive line can clean up some things, this could be a great game. The line has struggled so far to buy Larkins and running back Donovan Dunn some time and space but everything changes in league play. 

Hart hosts Golden Valley at Canyon, Friday at 7 p.m. 

Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Grizzlies’ offense should be too much for Hart to handle. Golden Valley wins 45-27 

Tyler Wainfeld: Hart finds life after a bye, but Golden Valley’s run game reigns supreme. 23-15 Golden Valley 

Castaic host Vikings at Valencia 

The Coyotes (1-4, 0-1) are up for a doozy on Friday. A home matchup on their opponents’ field against a team that needs a win.  

Castaic will prepare for a battle at Valencia (2-3, 0-1), which was a few yards away from stealing a win against Saugus. 

The Vikings’ passing game has been key to their success. Brandon Boateng has racked up 30 receptions already and has been a great target for quarterback Trey Erickson. The run game with Daniel Hernandez will also be key. 

The Coyote run game could also make a difference with running backs Jacob Pimental and the potential return of Manny Ortiz. 
The Coyotes will need a lot from their defensive backs, who have been a strong point on this team. However, the 6-foot, 4-inch Boateng will be literally the biggest challenge for the defense.  

Castaic will look for its first win against the Vikings on Friday at 7 p.m. at Valencia. 

Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Valencia gets back on track with road game at home. Vikings 42-10 
Tyler Wainfeld: Valencia bounces back from a rough loss in the league opener. 28-14 Valencia 

Trinity hosts Santa Paula 
The Knights (3-0) were unable to play in their week five matchup with Bishop Union. The Saturday game was canceled due to a referee shortage. 

Trinity will move on and be at home again for their week six game with Santa Paula (3-2). The Cardinals are a run-heavy and physical team that can force turnovers. Santa Paula has four picks and 13 fumble recoveries on the year. 

The Knights are also no strangers to forcing turnovers but will need to shut down the Cardinals’ run game in order to reach their fourth win.  

Trinity quarterback Dominic Smith is coming off a stellar 291-yard passing game with five TDs to four different receivers. The Cardinals should have their hands full trying to slow down the Knights’ offense in this defensive battle. 

The Knights and Cardinals kick off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Valencia. 

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