Vikings finish league campaign undefeated, down Canyon on the road, 38-0
The Valencia Vikings football team has been waiting for a moment like this for a few years now.
Friday night at Canyon High School’s Harry Welch Stadium, the Vikings (9-1, 6-0) took down the Canyon Cowboys (6-4, 2-4) on the road, 38-0, to claim the program’s first Foothill League title since 2019.
“The past 10 months have been everything and that’s what built this, but the past four years, we’ve just been grinding it out,” Valencia senior Reid Farrell said. “And those guys who wanted to do the work did the work in the offseason. It’s the reason that we’re here.”
Farrell was part of a Valencia defense that gave up less than 50 yards of total offense on Friday and picked up its second shutout of the season.
“Our defensive coordinator has us ready every week and the guys were just ready to go,” Farrell said. “It’s the same mindset every single week: Come out here, forget about the other team, just play together, swarm like crazy.”
Valencia head coach Larry Muir said the long layoff between league titles was akin to an injury that the Vikings got at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Vikings have finally recovered and are back atop the league.
“It felt like we had an injury and we had to get out from underneath that injury,” Muir said. “You have to go to rehab, you have to go through all these things to get back to where you want to be. And all the credit in the world to these kids that bought into each other and they bought into playing a certain way of Viking football, the way we traditionally have always played.”
It wasn’t quite the dominant performance that Valencia fans have been accustomed to this season. The Vikings led just 14-0 at the end of the first half in the regular-season finale for both squads.
Seniors Jackson Askins and Deandre Kermah hooked up less than two minutes into the game for the opening score, the former hitting the latter on a 31-yard pass. Junior Gabe Magdaleno made it 14-0 on a 3-yard run with just under two minutes to play in the second.
The second quarter saw both teams move the ball a little bit, but every series ended in a punt.
“Just couldn’t get things going,” Askins said. “I thought we came into this game kind of lackadaisical and not really feeling it. And we couldn’t get things going on offense at all. Defense was doing a great job.”
Askins turned it on a little bit in the second half. He finished with 204 passing yards to go along with the touchdown. Magdaleno added a second rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, finishing with 53 rushing yards.
Valencia sophomore Shelton Vance got into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the fourth, and senior Joseph Monti added a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Vikings junior Nick Seymour provided the exclamation point with a pick-6 that saw him go roughly 70 yards to the house.
“It just kind of opened up,” Seymour said. “I don’t know how to explain it. I just saw my blockers and just went for it.”
Farrell thinks that Seymour is being modest and views the junior as a top defensive back.
“He steps up on both sides of the ball,” Farrell said. “Nick’s my boy. I love that kid.”
Valencia junior Ronald Bruner didn’t reach the end zone on Friday but was key in moving the chains for the Vikings. He finished with five catches for 108 yards.
Vikings sophomore Brady Bretthauer took over for Askins during parts of the third quarter to give his team a boost with his legs, and he did that with six carries for 76 yards.
Both teams should have at least one more game to look forward to. Valencia has had a CIF Southern Section automatic playoff spot sewn up for a while now, while Holsenbeck has the Cowboys in an excellent position for an at-large berth.
Valencia, meanwhile, is most likely looking at a spot in Division 2, according to the Calpreps rankings from Friday afternoon. The Southern Section uses Calpreps rankings to seed its playoffs.
Wherever the Vikings end up, Farrell is confident that he and his teammates are in for a long journey toward more titles.
“There’s no limits for us,” Farrell said. “We come together at Valencia and just bring together the biggest fear you’ve ever seen in your life. We come together with the biggest camaraderie, and we hit harder than any other team out there because we’re brothers, and we can’t fake because it it’s so true.”