By Matt Lechuga
For The Signal
There was a familiar chill running down the collective spines of the Foothill League on Friday night. It looks like the Valencia Vikings are back.
Thanks to its quick-strike offense and some special teams magic, the Vikings cruised to a 40-7 win over host Golden Valley at Canyon High school.
Things started about as quickly as they could have for Valencia. After forcing a Golden Valley three-and-out, Vikings quarterback Jackson Askins hit Luke Cruz on a wide-open corner route for a 49-yard score and an early 7-0 lead.
“I feel like scoring quick is good but it’s also bad because we want to get in a rhythm and a groove and scoring so fast, we don’t get that feeling,” said Askins.
Askins, who only played in the first half, finished the game a perfect 5-5 for 132 yards, two touchdowns through the air and another rushing.
While the teams went back and forth to finish the first quarter, it was a three-play series in the second that blew the game open. Golden Valley (2-5, 0-3) ground out an 11-play drive but was forced to punt. Vikings punt returner Nick Seymour fielded the punt on the hop and returned the kick 88 yards for the score. On the Grizzlies’ next offensive play, running back Isaiah Orozco fumbled the ball and gave it back to the Vikings at the Golden Valley 14-yard line, where they immediately scored on a fake reverse pass from sophomore quarterback Brady Betthauer to Tony Testa that made the score 20-0 after the missed PAT.
“In any game you want to find your big plays,” said Valencia head coach Larry Muir. “The nice thing is we found big plays on defense, on special teams, on offense, and that’s been a nice theme we’ve had so far this year.”
Valencia (6-1, 3-0) scored twice more before the half — a 6-yard rush by Askins and a 57-yard screen from Askins to running back Brian Bonner, to make it 34-0.
The second half showed promise for the Grizzlies when they moved away from their ground-and-pound run attack to a more pass-focused one. Quarterback Brandon Contreras completed four passes on the drive, the final being a 14-yard score to Donavan Anson to make it 34-7.
“This [Valencia] team right here, they have a veteran group and they’re a good team,” said Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley. “We knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but we also played tough. Our defense played well at times. I thought we played a better second half. We forced them to kick a couple field goals later in the game. We played full-speed and we came out injury-free.”
The two field goals, 28 and 21 yards from Joseph Monti and Joey Gray, respectively, made the final score 40-7.
Valencia will look to keep its momentum going when it hosts West Ranch next Friday and the Grizzlies will look for their first Foothill League win when they face Canyon.