Foothill League play is officially in full swing in the Santa Clarita Valley.
This season has been full of headlines, with hot starts from Valencia, Canyon and Castaic.
The second-year Coyotes program won its first league game last week and has no plans of stopping there.
Here’s everything you need to know for the upcoming week of action in the SCV:
West Ranch takes on Saugus
The Wildcats entered league play with a bang last Friday, handing Canyon its first loss of the season. The Centurions’ struggles have continued into league play as they dropped their fifth in a row against Valencia.
West Ranch keeps finding strength in its offensive depth chart as the team’s week one backup quarterback and running back have exploded onto the scene.
Junior Liam McDaniel threw for over 300 yards with 2 TDs last week while running back Justus Morris had a 105-yard outing with two scores, all on the ground.
Wide receivers Zach Wyre and Jack Samuelson also both added 100-yard days for the Wildcats.
Saugus will look to clean some things up but will hope to see more positives in their matchup with West Ranch.
The Centurions take on the Cats on Thursday at 7 p.m. at College of the Canyons.
Signal Staff Picks:
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: West Ranch wins physical league game. Cats 28-17
Tyler Wainfeld: West Ranch rolls to 2-0 in league. 42-21 West Ranch.
Valencia hosts red-hot Castaic
The two teams with the best records in the Foothill League will meet at Valencia High School on Friday.
The Valencia Vikings (4-1, 1-0) will finally get to play a home game at home this season after delays to turf renovation, welcoming the Castaic Coyotes (4-1, 1-0), who debuted the field last week in their win over Golden Valley.
It was the first Foothill League victory in the history of the Castaic program in just its second year of varsity play. The question now is if the Coyotes can ride that momentum against a Vikings team that entered the year as one of the favorites for the league title.
The Vikings helped that case by shutting out Saugus last week. They showed the rest of the league just how deep they are with five different players having a hand in at least one touchdown in the win.
Castaic holds a slight edge in scoring average (35.6 to 33.8), while the Vikings are giving up slightly fewer points on average (16.4 to 17.6).
The Coyotes will be leaning heavily on the legs of senior running back Paul Lotz, who ran for 132 yards and a touchdown last week, and junior Monty Coleman, who scored the game-winning touchdown and recovered a fumble late last week. Should they be forced into a passing attack, junior quarterback Tyler Lewis has developed a nice relationship with receivers Lucas Milan and Logan Mietzner.
Valencia has no shortage of options, whether the Vikings want to run or pass. Running backs Brian Bonner (320 yards, two TDs) and Aidan Hicks (222 yards, three TDs) provide a solid one-two punch, while quarterback Jackson Askins (824 yards, seven TDs) has been slinging it to receivers Luke Cruz (282 yards, four TDs) and Deandre Kermah (147 yards, two TDs), among others.
Valencia and Castaic are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Valencia High School.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Valencia’s defense overpowers Coyotes. Vikes 24-14.
Tyler Wainfeld: Valencia’s depth carries the Vikings through. 35-21 Valencia.
Hart looking to end struggles against Golden Valley
The Indians took their league bye first for the second year in a row. Last year, Hart exited the bye with a 34-20 loss to the eventual CIF runner-up Grizzlies.
Despite three losses, Golden Valley (2-3, 0-1) has shown minimal issues scoring the ball so far this season.
Hart (3-1) has put its loss to Eisenhower well behind the team. Indians quarterback Tim Larkins had an off day to say the least, throwing four interceptions, but the team still scored and lost 35-21. Hart wide receiver Shawn Irwin continued his sensational start to the season and now has totaled 661 receiving yards in four games.
The Grizzlies will look to slow down the Hart passing attack, while both teams will have battles in the trenches. Golden Valley two-way standout Isaiah Orozco has also put up video game-like numbers so far this season, rushing for 782 yards in five games.
Golden Valley hasn’t dropped a game to Hart since 2018, and Orozco, Julian Rios, Brandon Contreras and Jackson Anderson plan on keeping it that way.
The Grizzlies head to COC to take on Hart on Friday at 7 p.m.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Hart snaps the Grizzlies’ streak in shootout. Indians 42-35
Tyler Wainfeld: Hart’s passing game spreads the Grizzlies thin. 28-20 Hart.
SCCS looking for revenge against Coast Union
Santa Clarita Christian football has had this game circled since finding out its schedule. SCCS will host the Coast Union Mustangs on Saturday, the same team that beat the Cardinals twice last season, including a 28-26 playoff loss that ended the year.
The Cards returned nearly every player from their 2022 team, who have taken a solid jump in 2023.
SCCS (3-1) is averaging 33.5 points a game, with success in the pass and run game. Quarterback Cayden Rappleye is hot off a 214-yard, three-touchdown day after the team’s Heritage League win over Milken. The junior also led the way on defense with 10 tackles and an interception.
The Cardinal defense is feeling some momentum after registering four picks and one sack against Milken.
The Cardinals hunt for their second straight 2023 league win on Saturday when SCCS hosts Coast Union at Valencia High School at 5:30 p.m.
Trinity looks to stop skid at Santa Paula
Trinity Classical Academy (2-2) had a rough go of it on the road at Nordhoff last week, and the Knights are in for another tough battle as they go on the road to take on the Santa Paula Cardinals (4-0) to finish off non-league action on Friday.
The Knights go up against a Cardinals team that is seemingly scoring at will, putting up 40.8 points per game. They’ve hit the 40-point mark three times and had to settle for 36 points in their other game.
A win would do wonders for the Knights as they look forward to the start of Mesquite League play. They’ve lost twice in a row after two wins to start the year.
Santa Paula features a standout running back in junior A. Macias, who has racked up 648 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Cardinals quarterback I. Mata has run for 245 yards, while senior M. Medina adds some depth with 173 rushing yards.
Mata doesn’t throw too much, with only 37 pass attempts in four games. His top targets are juniors I. Rabago and S. Cripe, who each have a team-high seven catches. Rabago seems to be the red zone threat with four touchdowns. Macias also has two receiving touchdowns.
Trinity’s run game was shut down in last week’s loss, and head coach Mike Parrinello will be hoping to bring back some balance this week. Trinity junior quarterback Noah Visconti had to toss the rock 46 times last week, throwing for 310 yards. Seven passes were caught by junior Luke Backes, who has emerged as a volume target for the Knights.
Trinity and Santa Paula are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday.