After nearly every team won their week three matchups, local teams struggled for the most part in week four.
Canyon is the last undefeated team in the Santa Clarita Valley just ahead of Foothill League play. Here’s a look ahead at the highly anticipated opening week of league play in the SCV:
Valencia takes on Saugus
The Vikings and Centurions are having nearly polar opposite seasons, but don’t count out Saugus yet.
These two programs have had close battles regardless of the circumstances in their last three matchups. Coincidentally, Saugus has won three straight over the Vikings, who are looking for their first win over the Centurions since 2019.
Valencia’s run game has shined with Aidan Hicks and sophomore Brian Bonner taking carries.
The Vikings’ defense is flooded with stars. Jake Pikor and Judah Plett have led a ferocious pass rush, linebackers Reid Farrell and Tony Testa have anchored the middle while Jordan Cardenas and Sam Gieser have both added three interceptions each already this season.
The Centurions will rely heavily on senior running back Lucas Francke and receiver RJ Temple.
Valencia and Saugus meet again on the gridiron on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at College of the Canyons.
Signal Staff Picks:
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Valencia defense proves too much for Saugus. Vikings win 35-21.
Tyler Wainfeld: Vikings get back to winning ways. 28-15 Valencia.
West Ranch heads to Canyon
The Wildcats are aiming to do what no one has done yet in 2023: Take down the Cowboys.
In turn, West Ranch hasn’t lost a league game in two years, not to mention not dropping a game against Canyon since 2015.
The Cowboys are all business and only focused on 2023, a season that has re-sparked the once-great Canyon program. While most teams feature a running back tandem, the Cowboys boast a talented quartet in the backfield. Evan Watts, Ganisten Turner, Keston Banos and Keyshawn Wooten have trampled defenses on the ground this season.
Watts is a pure playmaker and has also been a leader on the Canyon defense that has allowed just nine points a game, leading the team with four sacks and two interceptions.
West Ranch aims to run the rock as well, as junior Luke DePerno has powered the offense this season with 391 rushing yards and 9 TDs.
Both teams will try to get the other uncomfortable, which could mean the game will come down to some big throws by Cats’ quarterback Liam McDaniel and Canyon’s Caleb Sparks.
West Ranch heads over to Canyon on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: West Ranch takes slight advantage in a running back duel. Cats win 24-21.
Tyler Wainfeld: Cowboys’ run game proves too much. 34-28 Canyon.
Castaic set to debut new Valencia field against Golden Valley
The Castaic Coyotes (3-1) probably didn’t enter the 2023 season as potential league contenders, but they’ll probably have to be looked at more seriously based on their non-league play.
Castaic is averaging 37.5 points per game while only giving up 16.8 per game to opponents. Seniors Lucas Milan, Paul Lotz and Monty Coleman have been at the heart of the Coyotes’ strong start and will probably have to continue to be the leaders if the Coyotes want to challenge for the league title.
Castaic junior Tyler Lewis has emerged as a solid option at quarterback, while plenty of other Coyotes are capable of providing depth across the field.
The Coyotes are coming off a 54-12 thrashing of Eastside (1-2).
Golden Valley hasn’t been able to dominate games like the Grizzlies (2-2) were able to do at times last season but have shown some firepower.
Senior running back Isaiah Orozco is leading the way with 691 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. He’s averaging an insane 8.4 yards per carry through four games.
The Grizzlies can put up points with the best of them, averaging 32.8 points per game. The problem is that they also give up 33.8 points per game to opponents.
Golden Valley will be looking to forget its 35-14 loss to Garfield last week.
The Grizzlies and Coyotes are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Valencia High School.
Justin Vigil-Zuniga: Grizzlies’ run game shows enough to beat Castaic. Golden Valley 24-17.
Tyler Wainfeld: Coyotes pick up their first league win. 35-24 Castaic.
SCCS starts Heritage League play at Milken
It was not an away day to remember for the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals (2-1) last week as they were handed a 52-14 loss at Valley Christian Academy.
The Cardinals will hit the road for a third time in four weeks on Thursday when they go to Birmingham Charter High School to take on the Milken Wildcats (1-2) in their Heritage League opener. SCCS won this matchup last season, 54-24, and with many of the same faces playing in red, it isn’t hard to imagine another win for the Cardinals.
Balance has been key for the Cardinals through three games. Junior quarterback Cayden Rappleye has thrown for 458 yards and six touchdowns, while junior halfback Jonathan Boelter has paced the Cardinals with 389 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Rappleye has added 159 yards and two scores running the ball.
Junior wideout Eli Duhm has been the main threat through the air, recording nine catches for 172 yards and four touchdowns.
Milken can match on offense, putting up 29.3 points per game compared to 33.7 for SCCS. Much of that is buoyed by a 44-point showing last week against Malibu.
SCCS and Milken are set to kick off on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Birmingham Charter High.
Trinity looks to rebound at Nordhoff
Whether it was the early start or the heat, Trinity Classical Academy had a rough day at Arleta last week, with the Mustangs (3-1) handing the Knights (2-1) a 49-8 loss.
The Knights will have one more non-league game before setting off for Mesquite League play, traveling to Ojai to take on the Nordhoff Rangers (0-3) on Friday.
The Knights will be looking to get back to the type of offense that was helping them to blowout victories in their first two games. That could well be the case on Friday as the Rangers are giving up 26.3 points per game to opponents.
Junior receiver Lucas Backes has emerged as an aerial threat for junior quarterback Noah Visconti to target. Backes has racked up a team-high 16 catches for 179 yards and two scores. Junior John Carlson is just behind at 14 catches but leads the team with 232 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Visconti has thrown for 744 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 55 of 98 passes on the season.
Nordhoff keeps the ball on the ground for the most part. The main threat will likely be senior running back Sol McGarey, while sophomore Weston Haley has shown some prowess tossing the rock. The main air target is likely to be junior Uriel Covarrubias.
Trinity and Nordhoff are set to kick off on Friday at 7 p.m. at Nordhoff High School.