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SCV has hand in Championship Sunday

Posted: January 18, 2014 10:32 p.m.
Updated: January 18, 2014 10:32 p.m.

Valencia High alumnus and New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen will play in Sunday's AFC Championship game.

 

Valencia graduate Shane Vereen highlights a group of three players with Santa Clarita Valley ties who are connected with NFL teams still alive in the playoffs.

New England will travel to face the Denver Broncos today at noon in the AFC Championship while the San Francisco 49ers play at the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC Championship beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The winners of each game face off in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 in East Rutherford, N.J.

The local who has the best chance to make an impact in the games is Vereen, who has been used as a change-of-pace running back for the New England Patriots most of this season and he’s been a strong offensive weapon for the team, particularly in the passing game.

The third-year player finished the regular season with 208 rushing yards, 427 receiving yards and four total touchdowns despite missing eight games with a broken wrist.

The other two locals are both former College of the Canyons players — Patriots nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and Seattle Seahawks rookie offensive lineman Caylin Hauptmann.

Neither player is likely to suit up for today’s game.

Sopoaga is a 10th-year veteran who hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 1. He was traded to the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 29 after playing eight games and racking up 10 tackles with the Eagles.

He has seldom played since signing with New England.

This will be Sopoaga’s third straight year playing for a team that advanced to a conference championship. He played in the last two NFC Championships with the 49ers, the team he played for the first nine years of his career.

He became a free agent in March and Philadelphia signed him.

Hauptmann, who played for COC in 2009, was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in April.

The Seahawks signed him off of the Browns’ practice squad on Sept. 21.

He has yet to play a game this season.

The AFC title game will be televised on CBS and the NFC game will be aired on Fox.

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