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Canyon makes a statement on both sides of the ball

Posted: September 7, 2013 10:09 p.m.
Updated: September 7, 2013 10:09 p.m.

Canyon High's Israel Cabrera (22) reaches the ball toward the end zone against Clovis West at Canyon High on Saturday as Liam Cabrera, left, follows trails the play.

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Prior to Saturday night’s Canyon Cowboys game against visiting Clovis West, the high school honored its first CIF championship team during the pregame coin flip at Canyon High.

After the flip, the 2013 Cowboys showed they might be poised to make a CIF run of their own.

If there was any doubt after week one when Canyon defeated traditional power Westlake, the Canyon defense made a resounding statement in a 48-0 Cowboys shutout victory on Saturday at that things will indeed be different in 2013 for a defense that was much maligned last season.

While the Canyon offense continued to click most of the night, it was the Canyon defense that changed the tide against Clovis West, intercepting three straight passes at one point in the second quarter.

Definitely not the same old Canyon defense.

“I think so, especially with the shutout,” said Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay of whether the team made a statement on Saturday. “I think that defensive shutout put that into Foothill teams’ heads — Canyon’s got a defense now.”

With Canyon (2-0) leading 14-0 in the second quarter in what had been a somewhat sloppy game to that point, Canyon’s Tevon Priestley picked off Clovis West (0-2) quarterback Bennie Adame at the Canyon 45-yard line. The Cowboys immediately scored on a 55-yard pass from Apsay to wide receiver Liam Cabrera with 7:39 remaining in the second quarter.

That was a familiar pattern.

On the next Clovis possession, Priestley intercepted Adame again, and the Cowboys responded to take a 28-0 halftime lead on a 6-yard pass from Apsay to Zach Cuha.

Speaking of Cuha, all he did was catch touchdowns Saturday night.

The wideout caught three passes for 70 yards for scores of 20, 6 and 44 yards. The senior also intercepted Adame in the second, to start the run of three straight pass attempts picked off by the Cowboys.

“It’s really good. Last year we had to fight the whole time,” Priestly said of last year’s 56-48 victory over the Golden Eagles. “Defense is much better than we were last year. They’re shocked with our defense. Last year we gave up a ton of points.”

With the defense taking care of the Golden Eagles deceptive running attack, Apsay and the Canyon offense went to work.

After starting the game just 3-for-7 with two interceptions, the Colorado-bound quarterback responded with 12 straight completions and five touchdown passes.

He finished the night — of which he only played three quarters — 15-of-20 with the five touchdowns and 265 yards passing. He also added another score on the ground on a triple-option keeper for 18 yards to give Canyon a 41-0 lead.

“I think it was a lot of nerves,” Apsay said of the poor start. “Last year was a big shootout.”

Israel Cabrera would set the final score on a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter — it was the Golden Eagles’ fifth turnover of the night.

“Yeah,” Clovis West head coach Mike Parson said simply of whether he was surprised by Canyon’s defense. “Canyon was ready to play and we didn’t come ready to play ... You can’t beat a Pop Warner team throwing four picks.”

Adame finished the game 5-of-16 for 40 yards and four interceptions.

The running attack managed a total of just 87 yards as Canyon held Clovis West to 127 yards of total offense in the game.

Notes: The game featured a pregame ceremony to honor Canyon’s 1983 CIF Coastal Conference championship squad. Former head coach Harry Welch and 1983 stars Rick Burton and Tony Moore conducted the coin toss.




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