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Football: Golden Valley is ready to take advantage of new playoff divisions

If there's any football program ready to capitalize on the new Southern Section playoff divisions based on competitive equity, it should be Golden Valley.

The school has never made the football playoffs in 11 years with a varsity program playing in the tough Foothill League. It's still going to be part of the Foothill League, led by Valencia, Hart and Saugus, but the Grizzlies have been improving under former Arleta Coach Dan Kelley and seem poised for a breakthrough year competing in Division 7.

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"You still have to take care of business," Kelley said.

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Golden Valley certainly has taken care of business when it comes to forming a top coaching staff. There are now three former head coaches on the staff _ Jeff Engilman (Sylmar), London Woodfin (Sylmar) and Eric Harris (St. Genevieve). Former Sylmar defensive coordinator James Magee is also an assistant.

Golden Valley returns close to 10 starters from a team that went 6-4, finished in fourth place in the Foothill and took Hart into double overtime.

Running back K.J. Maduike should be ready for a big season running behind four returning offensive line starters. Junior receiver-defensive back Jalin Lewis is a highly regarded newcomer.

Golden Valley has scheduled nonleague games against Antelop Valley, Royal, Rio Mesa, Crescenta Valley and Agoura.

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So watch out for the Grizzlies in 2016.

For the latest on high school sports, follow @LATSondheimer on Twitter

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