West Ranch leads 3 SCV teams in state’s top 100 

West Ranch Wildcats defensive tackle Griffin Nibarger (55) holds up the football after recovering a Saugus fumble in the first quarter of a Foothill League game between Saugus and West Ranch High Schools at Cougar Stadium in Valencia, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal
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MaxPreps’ rankings have placed three local football teams in the top 100 in California. 
West Ranch (6-0, 2-0) leads the three, ranked 29th out of the 1,041 programs listed in the state rankings. 

The Wildcats have blown the doors off all their opponents this year. The offense has scored just under 50 points a game while the defense has racked up 19 sacks and 12 takeaways. 

Cats’ linebacker Brady Van Bennekum has led the defense with a team-high 51 tackles and three interceptions. The senior also has a pair of quarterback sacks. 

Quarterback Ryan Staub has 26 TDs with no interceptions through six games. Staub’s favorite target wideout Chaz Hilst has brought down 35 catches for 631 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

Saugus (4-2, 1-1) is ranked 84th, followed by Valencia (3-3, 1-1) at 97th. The two have played some high-quality opponents in their non-league action as well as their intense face-off in the Foothill League opener.  

The Centurions won the matchup 28-21 but were blown out by West Ranch the following week, 43-6 by the Wildcats. Saugus hadn’t allowed more than 40 points nor lost a league game in three years before the matchup.  

Saugus plays physical defense led by linebacker Jake Viger and defensive end Dario Sandoval. The team also has an official no-fly zone with the season corner Jadon Lemmons is having. 

Valencia has also played some quality opponents and will have its first shot at West Ranch on Friday, Oct. 7. The Vikings’ defense has been impressive so far this season but the Cats will be another huge test for Valencia. 

Defensive end Jake Pikor has led the Vikings with half of the team’s sacks with six. 

Golden Valley (5-1, 2-0) is the next closest-ranked SCV team, ranked 200th. 

The Vikings will host a rolling Grizzlies squad while West Ranch will play Hart on Friday. 


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