By Justin Vigil-Zuniga and Tyler Wainfeld
Signal Sports Writers
Week one of high school football is officially over after an exciting opening weekend of action.
Hart, Valencia, Canyon and Trinity emerged victorious and will look to heat up in week two. Saugus, West Ranch, Golden Valley and Castaic took some tough losses to start the season but are working on getting back into the win column.
Castaic takes on Royal
The Coyotes will look for their first win of the season early this week as the team hosts the Royal Highlanders on Thursday.
Castaic is coming off a tough loss to Adelanto, where the Coyotes allowed 19 straight points in the 30-21 loss.
Royal is coming off a 60-0 pounding from the City Section champion Birmingham Patriots. Birmingham posted scores in all three phases, running back a pick-six as well as a punt return TD.
The Coyotes moved the ball well but will look to clean up some things in hopes of earning first-year head coach Sirr Guy Shakir his first program win.
Castaic welcomes the Highlanders on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Canyon High School.
Valencia heads to Santa Barbara
The Vikings will hit the road on Friday for a non-league matchup with the Santa Barbara Dons. Both teams are coming off impressive wins after the Dons knocked off Thousand Oaks, 29-21, last week, while Valencia defeated Bishop Amat, 36-28.
Valencia had tons of stars in its week one win. Running back Aidan Hicks hammered in three TDs along with 79 yards on the ground. Sophomore Brian Bonner also added 63 yards on 12 carries. Quarterback Jackson Askins finished 15-of-23 with 223 passing yards and one score to Luke Cruz. On defense, senior Jake Pikor added three sacks.
The Vikes picked up some serious momentum in the win and will look to carry it on the road.
The Dons also had a breakout week with their star running back, Koa Herrera, who rushed for 130 yards.
Valencia and Santa Barbara kick off Friday at 7 p.m.
Canyon gets first road test at Hueneme
The Cowboys won their week one opener for the second straight year on Friday. Canyon will now aim for another win in week two and look to defeat the Hueneme Vikings.
Canyon defeated the Vikings, 28-7, last season and has its eyes set on another 2-0 start to the season.
The Cowboys pounded the rock last week, en route to 326 rushing yards and a big victory over Ridgeview. Keston Banos, Evan Watts and Ganisten Turner all rushed well behind Canyon’s big offensive line.
Hueneme is coming off a tough road loss to Moorpark, where the team only mustered six points. The Vikings will be looking for improvement on their home field and have the run-heavy Canyon to deal with.
Canyon takes on Hueneme on Friday at 7 p.m.
Saugus looks to rebound on the road at Moorpark
The Moorpark Musketeers had a big team win, dominating Hueneme last week.
The Centurions have dominated the Musketeers over the last two years, winning both non-league games by a combined 91-13.
Moorpark had a big week last week thanks to 80 rushing yards and four TDs from senior running back Luke Cochran. The Musketeers hardly threw the ball last week but the Jason Bornn-led Centurions plan to be ready for anything.
Saugus will build on its core and hope to get more out of talented seniors like quarterback Trent Johnson, receiver RJ Temple and running back Lucas Francke. Temple and Johnson clearly had chemistry last week, connecting for seven receptions and 53 yards, while Francke showed some strong running abilities.
The Centurions will aim to make it three in a row over the Musketeers on Friday at 7 p.m. at Moorpark High School.
Golden Valley hosts Antelope Valley
The Golden Valley Grizzlies turned a ton of heads last week, putting up 49 points on Newbury Park in a game that just slipped away in the end.
The Grizzlies’ huge offensive line and athletic running back corps was on full display, as four different runners picked up rushing TDs. The group was led by running backs Julian Rios and Isaiah Orozco, who combined for 153 yards on the ground.
Senior Sean Gomez also added two TD catches and an interception in the shootout.
Golden Valley is on to week two, its home opener against the Antelope Valley Antelopes.
Unlike the Grizzlies, the Antelopes are still looking for their first points of the season, after a tough 27-0 shutout loss to Brentwood.
Golden Valley hammered Antelope Valley last season, winning the matchup, 42-6. The Antelopes will be looking for their first win over the Grizzlies in five years.
The Grizzlies take on the Antelopes on Friday at 7 p.m. at Canyon High School.
West Ranch hosts Pasadena in first on-campus home game
When the West Ranch Wildcats (0-1) kick off Friday’s game against Pasadena (0-1), it will be the first “home” game in program history.
That’s right. West Ranch will be playing its first game at West Ranch High School — due to the field at Valencia High School still undergoing turf replacement — against the Bulldogs, a matchup between two teams that came into the season with high expectations but had underwhelming season openers.
The Wildcats took an early lead over St. Francis (1-0) last week before falling to the Golden Knights, 58-13, on the road. Pasadena was shut out on the road at La Serna, 68-0.
One of these two teams — barring anything drastic — will end up with their first win.
West Ranch deployed both of its quarterbacks last week, senior Zach Wyre and junior Liam McDaniel, with each throwing two interceptions. McDaniel had the better accuracy overall, completing 10 of 16 passes for 110 yards.
The Wildcats will be leaning on junior running back Luke DePerno, who racked up 151 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week. His 155 total offensive yards accounted for over 47% of the team’s total yards.
Pasadena could be susceptible on special teams, as La Serna scored twice on punt returns and once on a fumble return. Five of the seven offensive touchdowns that the Bulldogs allowed came on the ground.
West Ranch and Pasadena kick off at 5 p.m. on Friday at West Ranch High School.
Hart hosts Oxnard in home opener
The Hart Indians (1-0) picked up their first win in a season opener in six years last week, beating Quartz Hill on the road, 14-7.
Senior quarterback Tim Larkins tossed two touchdowns in the win, one of them going to star senior receiver Shawn Irwin.
Those two will be hoping to have more success together in the Indians’ second game against Oxnard (0-0) on Friday. The Indians will be looking to move to 2-0 to start off a season for the first time since the 2016 season, when they started 3-0.
Hart, in its homecoming game, will be facing a Yellowjackets squad that did not suit up in the opening week of action, but did go 5-5 last season. The Indians narrowly edged them in last season’s matchup, 21-18.
Protecting the quarterback could be key for Hart, as Larkins was sacked five times last week. Indians head coach Rick Herrington probably enjoyed his team’s run defense, though, as the Royals managed only 28 rushing yards. Quartz Hill’s lone touchdown came on a botched kickoff.
Oxnard returns multiple players who played against Hart last season, including quarterback Andrew Maria (236 yards, three touchdowns) and receivers Isaiah Dillon and Jonathan Garcia.
Hart and Oxnard are set to kick off at 7:15 p.m. on Friday at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.
Trinity looks to continue winning ways against Bosco Tech
After a repeat matchup last week against Firebaugh (0-1), the Trinity Classical Academy Knights (1-0) have another repeat from last season as they host Bosco Tech (1-0) at COC on Saturday.
The Knights had no problem last week against Firebaugh, winning 37-8. Bosco Tech experienced something similar in the Tigers’ 33-14 win over Riverside Prep, the first win for the program since Oct. 29, 2021, over Verbum Dei.
Another big game from Knights junior John Carlson is probably on the list of things that Trinity head coach Mike Parrinello will be hoping to see. He racked up three touchdowns — two on the ground and one on a fumble recovery — while also recording a team-high 14 total tackles.
Junior quarterback Noah Visconti did what was asked of him against Firebaugh, throwing for four touchdowns and 290 yards.
Trinity will likely be looking to continue to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks after recording eight sacks as a team last week.
Trinity pummeled the Tigers in last season’s matchup, 50-8. The Knights used a balanced attack in that one, putting up 176 rushing yards and 216 receiving yards. This year’s edition of the Knights looks to be angling more toward the passing game, with 290 of the 378 total offensive yards garnered last week coming through the air.
Trinity and Bosco Tech are scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday at COC.
SCCS opens up 8-man season at Santa Clara
Santa Clarita Christian will begin its 2023 campaign on the road in a matchup with the Santa Clara Saints.
Quarterback Cayden Rappleye will take the field for his third season as the Cardinals’ starter. Last year, as a sophomore, Rappleye finished with 1,633 passing yards, 609 rushing yards and 41 total TDs.
Eli Duhm also returns for his junior campaign. Duhm has led SCCS in receiving yards in each of his two years with the team and 2023 doesn’t seem like it’ll be much different.
The two teams haven’t matched up in five years. The Cardinals won the last meeting, 28-14.
SCCS heads to Oxnard to take on Santa Clara on Friday at 7 p.m.