STEVENSON RANCH – It’s a historic week at West Ranch High, as the football team prepares for its first varsity game scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Pioneer Valley of Santa Maria. A second-year program composed of ninth- and 10th-graders, West Ranch has scheduled three varsity contests and six junior varsity games this season. For the first time, a game really counts this Friday, so the players and coaches are fired up. West Ranch is considered a significant underdog because Pioneer Valley, with juniors, sophomores and freshmen, is 2-0 after defeating Knight of Palmdale 13-0 and Kilpatrick of Malibu 21-20. “When I exchanged game tape with one of the coaches Saturday, he told me we’re brave for taking this game,” West Ranch coach Mike Kane said. “I said, ‘What are you talking about? You guys wanted to play and called us.’ “ At any rate, Kane expects a strong challenge against Pioneer Valley, which runs a tricky fly offense that’s common among teams on the Central Coast. West Ranch opened with a 47-18 JV victory against Newbury Park, as Joe Spell rushed for 87 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, and Tyler O’Brien added 80 yards on four carries, including a 60-yard touchdown. Josh Gibbs completed five of nine passes for 87 yards, and he also scored a touchdown. Santa Clarita’s other first-year program, Golden Valley High, lost its opener 66-0 against Burbank on Friday. Besides West Ranch and Golden Valley, the area’s newest school is Valencia, which played its first varsity football season in 1995. Valencia fell 47-27 to Bishop in its first game, losing its first five contests before defeating Burbank 43-28 for its inaugural victory on Oct. 13, 1995; Valencia finished its first season 2-8, then improved to 5-5 in 1996 and 8-3 in 1997. In other West Ranch football news, the freshman team, coached by legendary former Sylmar High coach Jeff Engilman, is 1-0 after defeating Newbury Park 14-6 last week. Danny Garza, a Canyon High football receiver who was hoping to recover from shoulder surgery in time for last week’s season opener, should be cleared in a couple of weeks. “The doctor said we need a little more therapy but we’ve got an appointment in two weeks, and he should get his release,” said his mother, Linda. Twelve-year-old Christian Lopes, a 5-foot-9 baseball phenom from Santa Clarita who throws 81 mph and hits 380-foot home runs, has been selected to the Travel Ball Select All-American Baseball Team. The honorees were selected from a nationwide talent pool from elite travel teams, and TBS garnered information from a network of coaches, scouts, teams and tournament organizations including USSSA, AAU and others, said TBS national director Kevin J. Thomas. Lopes, who played at the William S. Hart PONY League, has been invited to participate in the 2006 Pan-Am games in Mexico and the Goodwill Series in Beijing, China. He’s also been picked by Baseball America as a player to watch, meaning the publication will track Lopes’ development through youth leagues, high school and college. Former Canyon High football standout Dejon Negron, a talented player but a young man who’s always been prone to change plans, is playing for San Jose City College after previously committing to College of the Canyons, then Glendale College. Negron, a freshman receiver, has one reception in two games. “I’m not getting much playing time but I love it here. I just had to get out of that atmosphere in Santa Clarita,” said Negron, who played football only during his senior year at Canyon because of academic problems during his first three seasons. “Dejon’s a work in progress. I didn’t recruit, he just showed up, and he’s getting better every week,” San Jose City coach Carlton Connor said. “He’ll get more opportunities to show what he can do.” Meanwhile, another former Canyon receiver, Sean Coen, caught two passes for Cal Lutheran during an opening 42-35 victory over Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. Coen, a sophomore, played sparingly during his freshman season after catching a school-record 108 receptions at Canyon as a senior. The Saugus High football program is looking for parent volunteers to sell programs for the varsity and junior varsity home games at College of the Canyons. For info, contact Rick Walroth at (661) 296-1828. Remember the name Rawston Redick. The youngster rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, to carry Castaic (10-under) to an opening victory over Ventura in youth football action Saturday. Never thought I’d live to see Hart’s football team win by one point and Burbank win by 66 on the same night. Gerry Gittelson’s column appears in the Daily News three times a week. He can be reached at (661) 257-5218 or [email protected] The fax is (661) 257-5262. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!