The Valley Gems: Week Nine Edition
As the regular season winds down, there are still plenty of twists and turns before we hit the postseason in the next two weeks. The Southern Section offers up two rivalry matchups with league implications while Sierra Canyon prepares for the toughest test to date this season. After falling out of the top spot in the Coty Section rankings, Birmingham looks to make a statement against one of the best players in the city playing his final regular season game at home. In our game of the week, two Valley Mission teams could either decide the league champion or send the league into chaos heading into the final week. Here’s what you need to see in the San Fernando Valley this week:
#2 Birmingham Patriots (6-2) vs. #13 Cleveland Cavaliers (6-2) – 10/20 at Cleveland High School, 7 pm
It is beginning to sound like a broken record to keep saying that the Patriots are a dominant force that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. With their 3-0 start to league play, the Patriots have not lost a game against a city opponent since losing to El Camino Real back in 2017. All streaks are made to be broken, but it will be a tall task for Cleveland to win this game, as Birmingham looks as dominant as ever in recent games. The atmosphere will be electric at Cleveland High School, where their seniors will be honored, and if the Cavs have any chance to win it will be seniors like Kory Hall, Donovan Powell, and Usman Ajayi playing at their best to knock off a juggernaut.
Heritage Christian Warriors (5-3) vs. Village Christian Crusaders (5-3) – 10/20 at Birmingham High School, 7 pm
While this matchup between the Warriors and Crusaders would have more juice if it had more bearing on the Ironwood standings (the way the Ontario Christian versus Aquinas matchup does happening at the same time), this is still a rivalry that both teams care deeply about no matter what the records say. Styles make fights, and this one features the high-powered air attack of Village led by Chase Everett versus the physical ground-and-pound attack led by Heritage’s DJ Cole. This game takes on significant meaning to the Crusaders, whose seniors would love to notch a win in the “Bible Bowl.” Village Christian has won the last two meetings in the series.
Crescenta Valley Falcons (6-2) vs. Burroughs Bears (7-1) – 10/20 at Burroughs High School, 7 pm
When you looked at the schedule at the beginning of the season, it felt like destiny that the week nine matchup between an unbeaten Falcons and unbeaten Bears would make this game the Pacific-Upper League championship game. Unfortunately, Crescenta Valley fell to Muir a few weeks ago so the game isn’t quite for the outright championship, but the Bears can wrap up the league with a victory.
#11 Serra Cavaliers (6-2) vs. #3 Sierra Canyon Trailblazers – 10/20 at Sierra Canyon High School, 7 pm
The Trailblazers have established themselves as not just the top team in the Mission League, but the Blazers are a team that is mentioned as one of the premier programs in the country. They have dominated every opponent since week zero, but they could have their hands full with the Cavaliers at home Friday night. Serra comes onto this contest red-hot, boasting a four-game winning streak with double-digit margins of victory in each game. They’ll need every point they can get because Sierra Canyon’s defense has kept points scored against them to a minimum all season long.
VST Game of the Week
Panorama Pythons (7-1) vs. #14 Kennedy - 10/19 at Kennedy High School, 7 pm
It was a bitterly disappointing night last week for Panorama, losing their first game of the season at home to San Fernando 35-15, but there was no time to sulk as the Pythons have to hit the road on a short week, looking to get themselves right back in the title race with a win over Kennedy on the road. The Cougars have been impressive all season long and a win here can be a huge step toward the first leg of their goals head coach Troy Cassidy set out for this season; win the Valley Mission. To do so they will need another strong performance from sophomore quarterback Diego Montes, who is miles ahead of schedule in his development at the position. Young quarterback Keanu Kelly will be looking to bounce back from a tough week and lead the Pythons offense back to the form they had shown all season long. This game promises to be a fun one, and if Panorama can pull off a tough win on the road, we will have three teams all sitting at 4-1 at the top of the league, all with losses against one another. Could we see a three-team co-champion by the end of the regular season? It's very possible. We’ll all be tuning in to find out.