By Tyler Wainfeld and Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Staff Writers
High school football enters week seven in the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday, and playoff implications are beginning to arise.
While no one will be punching their tickets to the postseason just yet, Valencia and West Ranch will have a shot at their third Foothill League wins already. Hart also remains unbeaten in league and will have something to say about the Wildcats’ potential third win this week.
Santa Clarita Christian is hot off another big win, and enters its bye week along with Saugus.
Here’s some insight for the upcoming week of football in the SCV:
Castaic hosts Canyon
The two surprises of the season have been Canyon and Castaic. The two teams combined for five varsity wins last season, and are each already one win away from tying that mark.
Canyon (4-1 0-1) is looking to shake off its week five loss to West Ranch, where the Cowboys struggled to establish the run, a problem the team has not faced all season. Castaic (4-2, 1-1) is also looking to regroup after taking a loss at Valencia.
Both teams have showcased their depth in the backfield, as multiple running backs have been exceptional for each team. Keston Banos was the only back to get going against West Ranch, but scorched the Wildcats with 151 yards and a TD, but Castaic will have to account for Evan Watts, Keyshawn Wooten and Ganisten Turner, who have all put up big numbers for the Cowboys.
Castaic’s rush attack features Monty Coleman, Paul Lotz and Jacob Pimentel, while quarterback Tyler Lewis has also shown his ability as one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in the Foothill League.
Both teams have also played tight and physical defense, as Canyon has allowed just 13.2 points per game this year. The Coyotes have given up just over 22 points a game so far this season but have shown little issue holding opponents under 13 points.
Canyon and Castaic face off for the second time ever on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Valencia High School.
Signal Staff Picks:
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Canyon wins nailbiter. Cowboys 27-24
Tyler Wainfeld: Canyon rebounds after a bye. 34-28 Canyon
Valencia heads to Golden Valley
The Vikings continued their warpath through the Foothill League last week with their second straight 48-point performance. The offense is clicking, the defense is thriving and head coach Larry Muir has a lot to be happy about.
Valencia (5-1, 2-0) is looking for its third straight league win this year while the Grizzlies are aiming for the program’s first varsity win over the Vikings.
Golden Valley (2-4, 0-2) has stumbled since its 2-1 start to the year where the team averaged 38 points a game. The team is averaging half that mark in its last three games but has shown promising bright spots.
These teams each possess big, physical lines on both sides of the ball, so fans can expect a lot of battling in the trenches. Vikes quarterback Jackson Askins has the offense rolling through the air, totaling 1,031 passing yards, 13 total TDs and he hasn’t even played much in the second half of games due to the team’s success. Askins’ favorite target has been Luke Cruz, who has accumulated 370 receiving yards and four TDs.
The Grizzlies will need big plays from running back Isaiah Orozco and junior quarterback Brandon Contreras. Orozco was targeted by Hart last week and held to just one run over 6 yards. Contreras has improved immensely this season but is still finding his footing in leading the offense.
The Vikings take on Golden Valley on Friday at 7 p.m. at Canyon High School.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Vikings keep rolling. Valencia 35-21
Tyler Wainfeld: Vikings continue their Foothill League assault. 35-21 Valencia
Hart and West Ranch prepare for potential league title showdown
Friday’s game at Valencia High School between the Hart Indians (4-1, 1-0) and the West Ranch Wildcats (4-2, 2-0) will feature two of the three undefeated teams in the Foothill League.
Both teams are coming off blowout victories, with the Wildcats taking down Saugus and the Indians downing Golden Valley. Last season, West Ranch narrowly won this matchup, 20-14.
There should be plenty of scoring on Friday as both teams average north of 30 points per game. Hart has been slightly stingier on defense, allowing three fewer points per game.
West Ranch’s offense runs through junior running back Luke DePerno (552 yards, 11 touchdowns), though the Wildcats are capable of attacking through the air. Junior quarterback Liam McDaniel has tossed nine touchdown passes to go along with 1,039 passing yards. Senior receivers Jack Samuelson (448 yards, four TDs) and Zach Wyre (308 yards, three TDs) have been his top targets this season with 20-plus catches each.
Hart relies more on its quarterback, senior Timmy Larkins, who has thrown for a league-leading 1,444 yards. Senior receiver Shawn Irwin leads the league with 44 catches for 769 yards to go along with three touchdowns.
The Indians have a capable running back in senior Chris Clauss, who only managed 30 rushing yards but reached the end zone four times last week, bringing his overall total of scores to nine on the year.
West Ranch and Hart are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Valencia High School.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Hart shows grit on defense. 31-28 Hart
Tyler Wainfeld: Wildcats run the Indians into the ground. 28-20 West Ranch
Trinity enters Mesquite League play
The Trinity Classical Academy Knights are heading into Mesquite League play needing a win to raise their spirits.
Coming off three straight losses, the Knights (2-3) won’t have an easy time of it on Friday as they host the undefeated Arrowhead Christian Eagles (5-0). Trinity fought hard on the road in this matchup last season but fell to the Eagles, 48-32.
Trinity hasn’t had any trouble scoring, putting up 21.4 points per game. Junior quarterback Noah Visconti has been at the heart of the attack, tossing 11 touchdowns to go along with 1,295 passing yards on the year.
Knights juniors John Carlson and Luke Backes have been the top receivers with 28 and 29 catches, respectively. Carlson has the edge in touchdowns with five to Backes’ three.
The Eagles have been an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging 34.4 points per game. The run game is where they hurt teams, as seniors Caden Rossi and Tyler Flethez have combined for 697 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Senior quarterback Connor Thuilliez has shown prowess under center with 525 passing yards and five touchdowns while adding 217 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
Arrowhead Christian has been strong defensively as well, giving up 13.6 points per game.
Trinity and Arrowhead Christian are scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.