Valencia Vikings football put up an absolutely dominating performance in all three phases on Friday.
The Vikings continued their tear through the Foothill League, blowing out the visiting West Ranch Wildcats, 42-14.
Valencia (7-1, 4-0) posted scores on offense, defense and special teams, and did so all in the first quarter.
Vikings junior Isaac Shin reeled in the first of five interceptions of Wildcats quarterback Liam McDaniel, and ran back the first score of the game for a pick-six.
Valencia later scored on special teams after senior Jordan Cardenas, who also had an interception, blocked a 40-yard field goal. The ball was recovered by junior Nick Seymour, who ran it back for a 60-yard touchdown to go up 35-0 in the second quarter.
“It was a good win,” Cardenas said. “We’ve been prepping really hard all week. We obviously knew they had some energy coming in from that big Hart game that they had. But we knew we were up to the test. Our offense put up points that we got from our defensive stops and our special teams. They’re just doing what they’re doing.”
The Vikings totaled five interceptions, a fumble recovery and two sacks.
Valencia dominated but didn’t play the cleanest of games as the team racked up 22 penalties in the beatdown.
West Ranch (5-3, 3-1) got its first score of the game on a 5-yard touchdown pass from McDaniel to Zach Wyre.
Wildcats running Luke DePerno was hot off his second five-touchdown game last week, a huge second-half comeback win over Hart. Valencia knew DePerno was capable of breaking free at any point and the Vikings were on the junior back all night.
Valencia went into halftime up 35-7, but head coach Larry Muir knew this game was nowhere near over, especially after the Wildcats’ huge second-half comeback last week.
“We were talking about the Hart game in terms of that they have a lot of pride in their program so they’re not going to just lay over for you. If we’re still gonna win, we still have to play and we gotta execute.”
The Wildcats stirred the momentum into their favor in the third quarter and held Valencia scoreless through some gritty drives. McDaniel hit Jett Hilst on a 74-yard pass before finding him again a play later for a 12-yard TD. The Cats recovered the onside kick on the following play but stalled after turning the ball over on downs at midfield.
Vikings sophomore Brian Bonner was a problem for the Wildcat defense. Bonner rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries while also adding a 56-yard TD reception from quarterback Jackson Askins.
Askins was rock-solid for Valencia and finished the game 9-for-18 with 215 total yards.
Valencia displayed its overwhelming talent in what was a battle of the last two undefeated Foothill League teams. The Vikings will hope to clean up some little things as well as the penalties as the team heads into it bye unscathed and winners of its last four games.
“Our preparations throughout the week, we give it our all we’re really locked in,” Cardenas said. “We get here at 7 a.m. and we don’t leave till 8 p.m. It’s all dedication and that’s what keeps us going through all the games. We find ways to break their will and we’ll fight all day long.”
Muir and the Vikings will still need at least one more win to secure their first Foothill League title in four years but they’re well on their way to returning to the top.
“It’s the guys,” Muir said. “It’s the players there. They’ve done a great job of executing and buying in and they bought into each other and they buy into each other. There’s a special group. There’s a group of seniors here that are awesome and they’re really terrific. And they’ve been nothing but special all year long in their commitment to everything and to each other. So that’s really what’s going on here.”
The Vikings return to action on Friday, Oct. 20, when Valencia hosts the Hart Indians, a team the Vikes haven’t beat in three seasons.
West Ranch will look to rebound against Golden Valley on Friday at Canyon.
Both games kick off at 7 p.m.