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Canyon and the soph debut

Posted: September 10, 2009 10:32 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Canyon football begins its season today.

It also begins a new era as sophomore quarterback Jonathan Jerozal starts under center, the first sophomore to fill the role since Nate Longshore.

And he brings a lot of mystery as Canyon (0-0), ranked No. 8 in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division poll, travels to Bakersfield for its 7:30 p.m. opener against the Drillers.

Bakersfield head coach Paul Golla is left wondering how to game plan.

“To be honest with you, after the first quarter would be a better time to ask,” he said in regards to tactical points of emphasis.

That includes planning for Jerozal.

“We don’t really know him,” Golla said. “Right now our quarterback started as a sophomore and he was pretty dang good. Just because they are young, doesn’t mean they aren’t gifted. ... It’s hard to prepare when all of a sudden they are doing new things.”

Meanwhile, Canyon head coach Chris Varner is looking to ease Jerozal in slowly.

“We’ve got a young quarterback so we are looking to just break him in and not put too much on his shoulders,” he said. “He’s a heck of a kid. He’s been working tremendously hard. We are looking at being able to move the ball and just take the pressure off him.”

While Bakersfield (0-0) is left with questions regarding what they will see from the Canyon offense, the Cowboys’ defense knows what to hone in on — the Drillers’ rushing attack.

“That’s where we are laying lots of pressure, stopping the run,” Varner said. “Last year they ran for almost 400 yards against us. It’s definitely been something the kids remember.”

Last season Bakersfield beat the Cowboys 38-32 at Harry Welch Stadium.

Golla acknowledges his team’s rushing emphasis with running back Alfonso Jackson, who was the team’s second-leading rusher last season with 502 yards on just 51 carries. But he is looking to establish junior quarterback Brian Burrell, who took over the team’s starting job midseason in 2008.



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