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VALENCIA — The Valencia and West Ranch football teams share a stadium since the Wildcats don’t have a lighted field of their own for Friday nights. The Wildcats symbolically claimed the field as their own Friday night by planting a flag emblazoned with their team logo at the 50-yard line after beating Valencia 23-16.
“That was planned,” West Ranch senior Tyler Scott said. “Everybody tries to give us crap for it because we don’t have our own stadium. This is our house now.”
The win marks the first time that West Ranch (8-0, 4-0 Foothill League) has beaten both Valencia and Saugus in the same season. They did it with the powers of quarterback Ryan Staub and Scott, who scored two touchdowns on Friday.
In Scott’s second game after the Bishop Alemany transfer’s sit-out period ended, he ran 27 yards for the Wildcats’ first touchdown after Nathan Petrie recovered a Valencia fumble to set up the drive.
His second was on a 3-yard run that came after Staub hit Maverick Diaz with a 15-yard bullet.
“Everyone grew up in our grade watching Valencia just dominate the whole league,” said Scott, whose brothers went to West Ranch. “This year, we put ourselves on top.”
The first portion of the opening quarter featured four turnovers — one of which was West Ranch quarterback Ryan Staub’s first interception of the season. Ralph Testa hauled in that one, then Staub threw another later in the game.
“He’s a perfectionist,” West Ranch coach Chris Varner said. “I thought he responded very well in the second half with his legs and threw some really nice balls that we needed.”
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Valencia (4-4, 2-2) got on the board just over halfway through the quarter on a Trey Erickson quarterback sneak, but West Ranch’s countered with a QB sneak of their own a minute later.
The Vikings defense forced a turnover on downs and their offense reached the 28-yard line just seconds until halftime, leaving Cameron Fontal to kick a field goal to bring the score to 20-9 before the break.
West Ranch now has the inside track for a Foothill League title. With that goal out of reach for Valencia and a Wildcats flag on the field, the Vikings now turn their attention to playoffs.
“There’s only one real reaction to have,” Vikings linebacker Reid Farrell said. “I’m not gonna feel sorry for myself. It’s the third part of the season, forget everything that happened. And if anything, make it even stronger. This team’s going to grow a lot right now.”