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'Cats are sharpest at Canyon tournament

West Ranch and Canyon go 2-1; Golden Valley struggles

Posted: July 2, 2009 9:55 p.m.
Updated: July 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
West Ranch and Canyon each finished 2-1 in a four-team round-robin passing league Thursday evening at Harry Welch Stadium.

Canyon’s junior varsity squad finished 1-2, while Golden Valley went 0-3.

The Wildcats were sharp in the first game, opening with a 34-12 victory over Canyon’s varsity squad.

West Ranch quarterback Connor Eichten made his reads quickly and made good decisions with the ball in all three games.

“He is tall, smart and strong,” said West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien. “We describe him as an airline pilot. He’s not going to lead by getting in your face, but he’s taking us where we need to go.”

Eichten benefitted from a deep, fast receiving corps, including Chris Kim, Josh Guzman and Matt Szmansky.

“Those three, any one of them can do what we want,” O’Brien said. “We have lots of targets and Eichten throws to all of them.”

West Ranch played mostly reserves in the second game, a 30-12 loss to Canyon’s junior varsity squad. The Wildcats rebounded to beat Golden Valley 32-18 in the finale.

Canyon’s varsity squad never seemed in sync on offense, a unit that is still getting adjusted to quarterback Mark Kirkpatrick.

“He looked a little inconsistent,” said Canyon head coach Chris Varner. “I don’t know if it was the nature of the contest, but he was a lot more consistent last weekend. We told him to ride it out and learn from it.”

After a slow start to the second game, Kirkpatrick led Canyon past Golden Valley 26-10, and the Cowboys defeated their junior varsity counterparts 30-6 in the nightcap.

“We did not start off well,” Varner said. “We told the kids to compete and we started to do that more.”

Golden Valley started slowly in a 12-6 loss to Canyon’s junior varsity, but the Grizzlies developed an edge as the night wore on.

“One thing we’ve been saying is that if you don’t know how to win, then you have to teach that,” said Golden Valley head coach Andy Campbell. “I really liked our effort against Canyon.”

The Grizzlies picked off two passes to start that second game and led 4-0 before Canyon’s offense began to click.

At the passing league, teams line up on a 40-yard field plus the end zone with seven players per side. They receive six points for a touchdown and two points for an interception.

Golden Valley didn’t help quarterback Jimmy Hughes by dropping a number of passes.

“Jimmy’s our guy,” Campbell said. “Right now he’s not getting a lot of support from the skill guys. It’s something we’ll shore up before August.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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