By Jason Galvin – Cougar News Staff Writer
To the surprise of nobody in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Valencia Vikings football team has earned the number one overall seed in the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoff bracket released earlier Sunday.
The Vikings, coming off the most impressive regular season in school history in which they never lost a game and were never challenged in league play, draw a first round rematch with Thousand Oaks. Valencia went on the road to play the Lancers in the first week of the season, and defeated them 39-36. The game was the only one the Vikings didn’t win by at least two touchdowns. The 36 points were the most Valencia gave up all year. Valencia should have no problems with the Lancers this time, and running back Steven Manfro should continue to see open spaces against a porous Thousand Oaks defense.
Surprisingly, the Hart Indians received a home game in the first round. The 7th seeded Indians will host Hueneme, the second place team from the Pacific View League. Hueneme went 0-10 last season, but the Vikings turned it around this year. After defeating West Ranch 10-8 in the season opener, Hueneme went on to a 7-3 record. Hart has had a roller coaster season, but managed to finish second in league play with a 4-1 record. Hart also played a difficult non-league schedule, losing to league champions Westlake and El Camino, who combined have one loss.
The Canyon Cowboys had perhaps the worst season in school history heading into week 9 and with the help of Golden Valley, the team found a rhythm. The Cowboys played inspired and pulled out a victory against a quarterback-less Saugus team. Hours later, Canyon got their biggest victory of the year – a coin flip win over West Ranch and the Centurions. And just like that, a team that had not won a game this year just two weeks ago is now in the playoffs. Canyon was awarded the 13th seed and have the unfortunate duty of being the rebound team for Moorpark. The Musketeers lost their first game of the year in what turned into a league championship game against Westlake. Canyon goes into the game as overwhelming underdogs.