The KHTS Game of the Week is between the Saugus Centurions and the Canyon Cowboys. The game will be held at Canyon High School and you can listen to all the action beginning at 6:45 p.m. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.
*KHTS Game of the Week* Saugus (1-1) vs Canyon (0-2)
There’s no way around it: to this point, the Cowboys season is defined by surrendering to the Golden Valley Grizzlies for the first time.
Canyon is getting killed at the point of attack. On defense, they’ve played two of the top running backs in the league, and both Nelson James (Hart) and Jesse Camacho (Golden Valley) have had career days, combining for 419 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Offensively, the o line has been putrid, allowing seven sacks and several drive-killing penalties. Add in some drops and mental mistakes form the skill position players, and it’s difficult to get into any kind of rhythm for Miles Fallin and the unit.
Fallin has also had issues throwing the ball with consistent accuracy. He threw an excellent 25 yard touchdown pass that showed touch down the sideline, but other than that there was nothing going.
They must find a way to get in more manageable third down situations, and rush the ball more with junior Henry Arellano who is a big, punishing back.
Valencia gave the Saugus Centurions every chance to make last week’s KHTS Game of the Week interesting at Cougar Stadium, but the Centurions refused to take hold of any opportunity on offense, especially in a poor, scoreless third quarter for both teams.
We’ve talked about their issues on offense all season, and it’s the same story for this team: no offensive identity. Instead of finding something a team of high school players does great and stick to it with no abandon, the Centurions have gotten too cute and tried to outsmart their opponents.
That’s not going to work against most of the Foothill League. They must stick to the ground and pound brand of football that has gotten them to each of their three wins on the year. Stay in front of the chains and don’t ask Louis Eusebi to throw more than 15 times a game.
The Saugus defense is legit. Five straight games holding opponents to 21 points or fewer is very good, and the unit has kept them in every game this season. It’s up to head coach Jason Bornn to get the most out of the offense if they want to sneak into the playoffs.
This is by all intents and purposes a Foothill League elimination game. At 1-6, the Cowboys are playing for pride and need to show some serious fight. Most of the team is heavy with juniors, and imperative they appreciate the opportunity they have coming back together next year for something special. And next year starts now.
Saugus can still make noise in the league with a win at Canyon. Will Miles Fallin and the Cowboys offense put it together at home against one of the best units in the league (Saugus’ defense)?
Golden Valley (1-1) vs Hart (2-0)
The most impressive thing about Golden Valley’s historic win over Canyon was not the 35-6 scoreline. Nor was it the coming-together of the school with such respect for the sport and pride. It was the focus the entire team showed on the task still at hand.
Led by head coach Dan Kelley, this Grizzlies team is just plain different than those of the past. Kelley made it clear they were to enjoy the win for the night, but indicated they were preparing for Hart immediately in Belicheckian fashion.
In week one against Valencia, the Grizzlies got away from what they do best and it doomed them. Back to running the ball hard and doing just enough in the passing game with Corona to move the chains last Friday, is how they can win football games.
Jesse Camacho was a monster against Canyon. He is running with supreme confidence, and will need every bit of it going up against the #6 team in the West Valley Division.
Golden Valley’s defense is swarming. Not only did they keep them in the game at Valencia until the wheels fell off in the 3rd quarter, but they destroyed the confidence of Canyon’s offense last week. They create turnovers at a good rate, and now have decided to play their best players on both offense and defense which could be a reason for the elevated play.
Hart has established itself as the class of the Foothill League in 2015, with the best unit in the league, the Indians offense. They’ve only scored less than 30 points once this season, and are averaging 48.5 ppg in two league games.
They also boast the top two candidates for league MVP early on, both members of the Indians backfield in Nick Moore and Nelson James.
Most of the season Moore has been most effective when running the ball in tandem with James; however, he has upped his quarterbacking in the Foothill League, completing 66% of his passes for 562 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception.
Nelson James has been electric all season long, leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns. His vision in and acceleration out of holes is the best in the league, and he hasn’t been slowed down yet.
While the Hart defense has given up their fair share of big plays this year, they also have some ballhawks in the secondary who can halt momentum with one excellent play on the ball. CJ Stokes (5) and AJ Stanley (4) are 1st and 2nd in the league in interceptions. CJ & AJ, there’s a duo nickname in there somewhere.
Golden Valley will have to play a perfect game in all phases to keep up with the juggernaut Hart offense. Hart’s only holdup this season has been finishing halves strong, whether that be getting complacent in the middle of the 2nd quarter or middle of the 4th.
The Grizzlies must force Nick Moore in to mistakes and play keep away with the ball, pounding it with Jesse Camacho to keep it out of the Indians’ hands. This is going to be an exciting one at Cougar Stadium.
West Ranch (0-2) vs Valencia (2-0)
Without Jackson Clark at quarterback for West Ranch last week (out with a concussion), they struggled mightily against Hart, who were simply too much for this Wildcats team to handle, who currently look like the weakest team in the league. It remains to be seen if he will be healthy for the west side showdown with Valencia.
Toughness on defense can’t be stressed enough with this team. Since starting 2-0, the Wildcats have given up an average of 44.2 ppg. That isn’t very good. Jordan Hunt is the player to watch on that side of the ball, but it’s clear he can’t do it alone. Teams set them up with the run early and then pass all night on them.
Much like Canyon across town, the Wildcats are playing for pride at this point. There’s nothing worse in sports than being worst, no one wants to finish last, the Cats have to scratch and claw their way to some victories with three games remaining.
The 2015 Valencia Vikings remain an enigma, which is surprising for the six-time defending Foothill League champs. Cole Parkinson and the offense looks balanced at times with Davalos and Berkley running the ball, but then get stagnant for long periods of time during games.
Parkinson still hasn’t sorted out his issues with accuracy, and is currently being outplayed in the Foothill League by Hart’s dynamic quarterback. He has the tools to sling it with the best of them, but sometimes the play calls are confusing with so many deep routes.
Coach Larry Muir should look to get Parkinson in rhythm with high percentage throws before opening it up all the way.
The most improved unit on the Vikings since league play opened has been its defense, allowing a staggering 3.5 ppg after shutting out Golden Valley and giving up a first quarter touchdown to Saugus. Senior DE Jermaine Brown leads a ferocious pass rush that has passed its first two tests of the league with flying colors.
This edition of the West Side Rivalry looks much like the previous ones, with West Ranch looking overmatched against the best the Foothill League hast to offer. However, we’ll proverbially throw everything out and hope both teams play to their best capabilities in a rivalry game.