Week 1: Valhalla Norsemen 34, University City Centurions 20
The Valhalla football team put last year’s 0-10 season exactly where it belongs, in the past. The Norsemen opened the 2019 campaign with a dominating 34-20 win over University City, not only ensuring the team doesn’t go winless again, but also avenging last season’s 41-14 loss to the Centurions.
Kegan Baker carried the load, literally. The senior running back ran for 263 yards and scored 5 touchdowns, including one from 71 yards and one from 54 yards. He also caught 4 passes for 45 yards. It’s not the first time Baker has put on a show, he ran for 360 yards last year against El Capitan.
It was University City striking first. Senior quarterback, Gunnar Gray was perfect in the Centurions’ first series, going to Skip Waltower 5 times, including a 16-yard touchdown pass that gave Uni City the 7-0 lead.
The 2nd quarter belonged to Baker though. He scored from 23 yards, 2 yards, and the aforementioned, 71 yards, giving the Norsemen a 21-7 lead at halftime. Baker’s 2nd touchdown came after Eddie Villavacencio recovered a Centurion fumble deep in Centurion territory.
In the 3rd, it was more of Baker, scoring his 4th touchdown of the night with teh 54-yarder. He broke 5 tackles on this run and administered a flawless stiff arm to go the last 10 yards.
University City got within a touchdown in the 3rd quarter on back to back touchdown passes from Gray to Waltower. The first one was an out-route to the corner of the northwest corner of the endzone from 8 yards out, the second coming after Valhalla let the ensuing kickoff bounce, allowing the Centurions to jump on it deep in Norsemen territory. First play saw Gray hit Waltower for a third time, this one from 9 yards out.
But Baker would put it away with 4 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, scoring from 2 yards out, his 5th touchdown of the night.
The Norsemen will travel to West Hills to take on teh Wolfpack on Friday. Valhalla has lost 2 in a row to West Hills, including a 24-7 loss last season.
University City will host Teh Bishop’s School on Friday.
Valhalla will begin the 2019 high school football season by hosting University City on Friday.
The Norsemen come into 2019 looking to bounce back from an 0-10 season a year ago, including a 41-14 loss to the Centurions in their 2018 season-opener.
Leading the way for Valhalla will be senior running back Keegan Baker.
Baker returns for his third season on varsity and looks to put up big numbers from the backfield. He will be playing both sides of the ball, mostly in the secondary.
Alongside Baker on defense will be Josh Meredith, a transfer from Helix High. look for the junior to shut down opposing teams’ passing game. Senior linebacker Ethan Ferkich will anchor the linebacker core.
University City comes in off of a 5-7 season that saw them reach the CIFSDS Division III quarterfinals, losing a tough battle with Christian, 42-41.
The Centurions’ offense will be led by senior quarterback Gunnar Gray.
The 6-foot-4 senior is in his third year on varsity and will look to air it out again. He lost huge weapons in Casey Granfors (UC Davis) and Tariq Jefferson, but will have plenty of talent to throw at in 2019 in Skip Waltower and Matthew Lising.
Gray has drawn interest from several Division 1 programs. Look for him to have a monster season, and it all starts on Friday. Zeke Pavich will carry most of the load in the backfield.
Don’t forget to tune into highlights from this game and dozens more on KUSI’s Prep Pigskin Report on Friday night.