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Prep football: G.V. is ready to go

Posted: September 23, 2010 11:01 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley is two points from being undefeated.

That’s what head coach Andy Campbell keeps reminding his players leading up to their game against Channel Islands of Oxnard at 7 p.m. today at Canyon High.

Two weeks ago, Golden Valley (1-1) lost 20-19 to Royal of Simi Valley after failing to convert a two-point conversion on a score in the closing seconds of the game.

Coming off a bye week, the Grizzlies are ready to shake off the disappointment of the loss.

“Nobody’s more hard on us than us, so that loss kind of lingered for a long time and especially for us as coaches,” Campbell said. “We’re all very competitive and we try to send that message down to our kids too.”

It will start on the ground for Golden Valley, which has already shown it can make use of its weapons in the backfield. Junior running backs Jeff Coprich and Earl Johnson have combined for 391 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

The two will have to find a way past Channel Islands outside linebacker Richard Palmer, who has 15 solo tackles, two fumble recoveries and a sack.

Though Coprich is the main feature in the backfield, Johnson has established himself as the Grizzlies’ top threat as a slot receiver. He leads the team with 134 receiving yards on eight catches.

“Our slot in our offense is a big-time player and that’s the guy who’s the best player on the team and the best athlete on your team, Campbell said. “That’s the guy that we want to find ways to get him the ball.”

Channel Islands (1-2) will focus on sticking with the speedy skill players of Golden Valley, which head coach Gary Porter considers a very athletic team.

“They have some pretty good athletes on their side of the field so we’re going to run at them and see what happens,” Porter said.

In the passing game, Grizzlies quarterback Reid Soliman had some trouble placing the ball in the right places last week, but Campbell said that’s something he expects to see improve.

“As a young group, those are the mistakes that we’re going to make now being two games into the season,” he said. “Come midseason, those mistakes are going to be gone.”

Defensively, Golden Valley’s focus will be turnovers. In three games, Channel Islands has coughed the ball up nine times, eight of which came out of the hands of quarterback Malcolm Allen.

He’s thrown four picks and lost four fumbles, which bodes well for the Grizzlies because they’ve spent a good deal of time practicing stripping the ball and getting into position for interceptions.

“We still have a two back set, we’re able to run the ball and we’re able to run all the plays we want to,” Porter said.


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