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Golden Valley football: GV and an uphill climb

Grizzlies will play a perennial powerhouse on the road

Posted: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Golden Valley’s “bring it on” mentality takes on a whole new meaning today.

Despite its struggles over the years, the Grizzlies haven’t backed down from a challenge.

They may face one their biggest challenges in school history against state power Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks today at 7 p.m. at Notre Dame High.

Notre Dame (4-0) ranks 25th in the state according to Calpreps.com.

“The reason why Notre Dame is on our schedule is if we want to be a good team and we want to be a team that people respect, we’re going to have to play some top teams in our preseason,” said Golden Valley head coach Robert Fisher.

For Golden Valley (1-2), the goal is and has always been to win Foothill League games. Today’s game could prove the most effective training before the start of league play on Oct. 14.

Then again, Notre Dame head coach Kevin Rooney looks at the game in the same light — as another step in preparation for league.

“(Golden Valley’s) from a good league and it’s a big school and they’ve got good athletes and we’re all trying to get better each week,” Rooney said.

Coming of its first win of the season, a 17-10 dismissing of Channel Islands, the Grizzlies now face the task of stopping a punishing rushing attack led by Khalfani Muhammad.

Muhammad already has 588 yards on the ground on 76 carries and a team-high seven total touchdowns.

As a team, the Knights average 187.5 yards per game.

“We’re going to have to get after it. We’re gong to have to play disciplined football, man,” Fisher said. “It’s going to come down to (limiting) mistakes and defensively, we’re going to have to stop their running back. Their running back is pretty good.”

Notre Dame’s scheme is simple, yet effective on offense. The defense, while undersized, is filled with fast players and effective tacklers.

That’s a good recipe for success against the Grizzlies’ shotgun spread offense, but not good enough for Rooney to make any assumptions.

“I think that our guys understand that we’re not good enough to overlook anybody,” Rooney said.

In addition to vastly reducing costly mistakes from the first two games, the Grizzlies continued to get contributions from their top offensive weapons.

Running back Earl Johnson rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown and wide receiver Isa Bey had a season-high 87 yards receiving and a score of his own in last Friday’s 17-10 victory over Channel Islands.

Fisher also called last week’s win a redeeming defensive effort.

Can Golden Valley stop a team the caliber of Notre Dame? That’s yet to be determined.

Playing solid, fundamental football can go a long way.

“Do the little things and let the scoreboard take care of itself,” Fisher said.

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