SCV Week 3 football preview: Multiple local teams off to a flying start 

Hart's student body brought the energy into College of the Canyon's field, making sure to make noise once seeing the sign to do so. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The 2023 high school football season is already two weeks in, and four 11-man squads from the Santa Clarita Valley are still unbeaten, as well as another from eight-man football. 

Valencia, Canyon and Hart will all look to make it perfect 3-0 starts, while Santa Clarita Christian has its home opener after a thumping win in its season opener. West Ranch, Golden Valley and Castaic will be hoping to make it 2-1 starts. 

Trinity Classical Academy is on a bye this week after starting the season 2-0. 

West Ranch looks to keep ball rolling against Antelope Valley 

There is perhaps no team in the Santa Clarita Valley that boosted its morale more than the West Ranch Wildcats last week. 

The Wildcats (1-1) pummeled Pasadena last week, 61-0, to even their record on the year. They’ll be looking to keep up the winning ways when they travel to face a winless Antelope Valley squad. 

The Antelopes (0-2) take on an SCV team for the second straight week after Golden Valley beat them, 32-6. They’ve scored just six points and allowed 52 through two games. 

West Ranch deployed junior quarterback Liam McDaniel as the lone gunslinger with senior Zach Wyre moving to receiver. The two linked up for a touchdown, one of three that McDaniel threw in the win. The Wildcats also got production out of junior running back Luke DePerno, who showcased elite speed by running for 91 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. 

West Ranch and Antelope Valley are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Antelope Valley High School. 

Valencia seeking to continue perfect start 

While West Ranch needed a morale boost, the Valencia Vikings (2-0) just needed to keep the train rolling last week, and they did that by beating Santa Barbara on the road, 45-18. 

The Vikings return home this week, taking on Murrieta Mesa (0-2) on Thursday at Canyon High School. The Vikings could end up on the right side of another blowout, as the Rams have scored just 10 points through two games while allowing 62 to opponents. 

Valencia senior quarterback Jackson Askins has averaged just under 200 passing yards per game, while sophomore Brady Bretthauer has stepped in admirably when head coach Larry Muir has tasked him with getting the Vikings some short-yardage plays. 

Where the Rams could find trouble is passing the ball after the Vikings picked off Santa Barbara four times last week, with senior Sam Gieser racking up two and senior Luke Cruz recording a pick-six. 

Valencia and Murrieta Mesa are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Canyon High School. 

Canyon takes on the Wolverines 

The Canyon Cowboys (2-0) are rolling to start the year on the back of their deep and talented running back corps. 

The Cowboys have scored eight times on the ground through two games and have multiple weapons with different specialties that could spell trouble for the visiting Harvard-Westlake Wolverines (1-1) on Friday. 

As seems to be a trend in Week 3 for SCV teams, Canyon faces a Wolverines squad that has posted just 13 points through two games, all coming in last week’s 13-7 win over Venice. Canyon is averaging 35.5 points per game and allowing just 10 per game. 

Canyon’s quartet of running backs — Evan Watts, Ganisten Turner, Keyshawn Wooten and Keston Banos — have had their way in the early going and look to be a challenge for any defense. 

Canyon and Harvard-Westlake are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Canyon. 

Saugus looking to put behind slow start 

The Saugus Centurions (0-2) are winless through two games for the first time since 2014. That year, the Centurions refused to go 0-3, beating Buena by nearly 30 points. 

Saugus head coach Jason Bornn will probably be wanting to see a similar sort of response on Friday when his team hosts the Camarillo Scorpions (0-4) at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium. It is also a revenge game for the Centurions, as the Scorpions narrowly defeated Saugus last season, 34-30. 

Neither team has been able to get the ball rolling thus far, with Saugus putting up just 13 points through two games, while Camarillo has given up 83 points through two games. That shaky defense could be the cure for an ailing Saugus offense. 

Bornn said after last week’s loss to Moorpark that “everything’s open for discussion” as far as making changes. Whether those changes are made or players start to play up to their expectations, the Centurions need a win or be one step closer to their first losing season since 2019. 

Saugus and Camarillo are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at COC. 

Golden Valley makes trip north to Quartz Hill 

The Golden Valley Grizzlies (1-1) have shown through two games that they have a viable offense that will put up points throughout the season. 

The question is if the defense can keep up. 

The Grizzlies got back on track with a 32-6 win over Antelope Valley last week after falling in a shootout to Newbury Park in their opener, 59-49. Friday’s game against Quartz Hill (1-1) features a Royals team that has the opposite problem — only 20 points allowed through two games but also only 28 total points. 

Golden Valley senior running back Isaiah Orozco has been electric thus far, recording 326 rushing yards and three total touchdowns, both tops for the team. Junior quarterback Brandon Contreras hasn’t had to carry the offense but has racked up 231 passing yards and four touchdowns as a complement to the running game. 

Golden Valley and Quartz Hill are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Quartz Hill High School. 

Castaic goes on the road to Burbank 

The Castaic Coyotes (1-1) put a tight season-opening loss behind them with a 36-12 thumping of Royal last week. Head coach Sirr Guy Shakir will be looking for his second win when his team travels to take on the Burbank Bulldogs (0-2). 

Both teams have shown offensive prowess, with Castaic averaging 28.5 points per game and Burbank at 31.5 per game. Castaic can boast a stronger defense, though, allowing 21 points per game, well ahead of Burbank at 44 points allowed per game. 

The Coyotes will have to deal with the arm of Burbank quarterback Daniel Zacariaz. The junior has tossed five touchdown passes and has 431 passing yards in the early going. His top target is junior Ezekiel Alvarez (14 catches, 138 yards, three TDs), while senior Sean Garrett is a deep threat (seven catches, 152 yards). 

Burbank also has junior Jospeh Cabellero (26 carries, 116 yards) running the ball. 

Castaic quarterback Tyler Lewis and receiver Lucas Milan showed they have some good chemistry, linking up for a touchdown in last week’s win, one of three that Lewis threw. Running back Monty Coleman added 86 rushing yards. 

Castaic and Burbank are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Burbank High School. 

Hart travels west to Fillmore 

The Hart Indians (2-0) are off to their best start since the 2016 season and will look to keep it going on Friday when they make the western trip to Fillmore. 

The Flashes (1-1) pummeled California City in their opener before experiencing the opposite in a blowout loss to Burroughs. 

Hart had to fight for a season-opening win over Quartz Hill before the Indians had their way in last week’s 41-14 win over Oxnard. Senior running back Chris Clauss was immense in that game, recording three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Timmy Larkins has been efficient through two games, completing 41 of 66 passes for 461 yards and three touchdowns, two of those going to senior receiver Shawn Irwin. 

The Flashes have shown that they are vulnerable on defense, and with the firepower that Hart has on offense, the Indians could be well on their way to their first 3-0 start since that 2016 season. 

Hart and Fillmore are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Fillmore High School. 

SCCS aims for win in home opener 

Santa Clarita Christian School is set to have its home opener on Saturday when the Cardinals (1-0) welcome United Christian Academy to College of the Canyons on Saturday night. 

The Eagles (0-1) were handed a 50-14 loss by Fresno Christian last week, which could bode well for the Cardinals after their 40-26 win over Santa Clara. 

SCCS head coach Austin Fry has a new weapon to deploy in running back Jonathan Boelter. The junior recorded 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns as he complemented quarterback Cayden Rappleye (108 yards, two TDs). 

The Cardinals have no shortage of options with which to hurt teams, and not just on offense. Junior Eli Duhm is a standout at both receiver and as a return man, as evidenced by his 75-yard punt return for a touchdown last week. Junior Wyatt Shields also made his presence felt with three catches for 70 yards. 

The Eagles ran the ball far more than they passed last week, racking up 179 rushing yards on 38 attempts as opposed to 91 yards passing. Junior running back Adam Weisner was responsible for 70 of those rushing yards. 

SCCS and United Christian Academy are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday at COC. 

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