Playoffs are right around the corner, with just two weeks left of regular-season football.
Valencia and West Ranch are the only postseason locks, but Hart and Castaic can make it official with wins over the Vikings and Wildcats.
Canyon needs a win to stay in the hunt, while the much-improved Golden Valley and Saugus teams are playing for pride and building up their young rosters for the future.
Santa Clarita Christian can also lock in a playoff spot with a win this week.
Here’s everything you need to know for week 10:
West Ranch hosts Castaic
Castaic (6-2, 3-1) can officially celebrate its first postseason berth with one more win. In the Coyotes’ way lie the West Ranch Wildcats, who are hot off a win over Golden Valley.
The Wildcats shook off a slow start and scored 24 unanswered points in between the second and fourth quarter. The West Ranch (6-3, 4-1) defense repeatedly force-fed the ball to the offense with numerous turnovers and big plays. Junior Kyler Garrity added two interceptions and 10 tackles for the Cats, while senior Ryan Walters had two sacks.
West Ranch quarterback Liam McDaniel finished the day with three total touchdowns, running in one rushing touchdown while also throwing scores to Andrew Hamilton and Jack Samuelson. Senior Luke DePerno also added 12 carries for 82 yards and one TD.
Castaic is also coming off a win, after beating Saugus 42-28. The team found success through the air and on the ground, and was able to register the program’s highest scoring output in a Foothill League game ever.
The Coyotes’ secondary will be a solid test for McDaniel, who is averaging under 180 yards passing in his last four games. Nonetheless, McDaniel has shown he can light it up at the helm of the fast, spread offense and will coincidentally be a test for the Coyote defense.
Castaic and West Ranch duke it out on both of their home fields on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Valencia High School.
Signal Staff Picks:
Justin’s pick: West Ranch run game wins another one. 33-28 Wildcats.
Tyler’s pick: West Ranch coasts into the playoffs. 35-21 West Ranch.
Valencia looks to end dry spell against Hart
Valencia (7-1, 4-0) looks unstoppable and may be gearing up for its second CIF playoff run in three years. But somehow, Hart coach Rick Herrington and quarterback Tim Larkins have found a way and had the Vikings’ number these past two seasons.
The Vikings and Indians matchups have been some of the best Foothill League games in recent years. Hart shocked Valencia in overtime two years ago and last season Larkins hit receiver Shawn Irwin for a walk-off touchdown. Irwin finished the game with 11 catches for 108 yards.
The Indians took both of the previous matchups at College of the Canyons but will have to shoot for the three-peat on the Vikings’ field. The three-peat of Hart victories could also set up a potential three-way tie for the league title between the two and West Ranch. On the other hand, a win for the Vikes means at least a share of the Foothill League title returns to Valencia.
However, that was then and this is now. Valencia has won four straight league games this season, a stretch in which the team is allowing under nine points per game. The Vikings have manhandled offenses this season thanks to the pass rush led by Jake Pikor, Reid Farrell and Tony Testa and a tight secondary led by senior Jordan Cardenas.
Hart (6-2, 3-1) is averaging 38 points per league game with monster stats coming from its quarterback and receiver duo. Irwin has already amassed 1,265 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on the season, while Larkins has put up 2,358 passing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Valencia hosts Hart on Friday at 7 p.m.
Justin’s pick: Valencia’s defense wants this one badly. 27-24 Vikings.
Tyler’s pick: Valencia claims its share of the league title. 35-28 Valencia.
Canyon takes on improved Saugus
The Canyon Cowboys (5-3, 1-3) are still in the playoff hunt, but just barely.
Needing a win and a Castaic or Hart loss to stay in the hunt for an automatic playoff spot, the Cowboys travel to College of the Canyons on Friday to take on the Saugus Centurions (0-8, 0-4), a team that is still seeking a win in 2023.
That doesn’t mean this will be an easy one for the Cowboys. The Centurions have shown signs of life in their last two games, putting up 14 points against Hart and then 28 against Castaic before taking their bye last week. Keeping points off the board has been the biggest issue, with Saugus allowing 82 points in the last two games.
Canyon was stifled by Hart last time out, 41-7, but thanks to the Cowboys’ week 8 victory over Golden Valley, they are now set to finish at least .500 and in the conversation for an at-large bid in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
It’s all set to go down on Friday at 7 p.m. at COC’s Cougar Stadium.
Justin’s pick: Canyon gets much-needed win. 28-21 Cowboys.
Tyler’s pick: Canyon stays in playoff conversation. 28-14
SCCS heads up to Desert Christian
The Cardinals (5-2, 2-0) can clinch their second-straight trip to the postseason with a win this Friday.
SCCS heads up north to take on the Desert Christian Knights (2-5, 0-2), a team the Cardinals shut out last season.
Desert is led by running back Noah Bakewell, who has racked up 436 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season.
The Cards were revitalized last week by the return of junior Eli Duhm. The receiver scored twice through the air, one on the ground and added three picks on defense in a win over Faith Baptist. Quarterback Cayden Rappleye was glad to have his man back but still found time to hit his other weapons in Wyatt Shields and Wyatt Waldron.
SCCS can lock up a trip to the playoffs this week, but the Heritage League title will likely come down to the team’s regular-season finale with Lancaster Baptist.
The Cardinals head up to Lancaster to take on Desert Christian on Friday at 7 p.m.
Trinity returns home to face Capistrano Valley Christian
The Trinity Classical Academy Knights (2-6, 0-3) finally get to play a home game after going on the road the past two weeks.
Unfortunately for them, they are set to host the Capistrano Valley Christian Eagles (6-1, 3-0) on Saturday at Valencia High. The Eagles are coming off a 51-8 win last week and have put up 32.3 points per game this season, compared to 18.1 for Trinity.
Stopping offenses has been a struggle for a young Trinity team. The Knights are giving up 39 points per game to opponents.
Capistrano Valley is likely to pass the ball on Saturday. Eagles quarterback Nate Richie has thrown for 1,950 yards and 25 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Should the Eagles need to run, senior JP Synnott is leading the team with 601 rushing yards.
Trinity and Capistrano Valley are set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Valencia High School.