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’Boys face final pre-league test

Posted: October 8, 2009 11:00 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 

Canyon football’s pre-Foothill League schedule comes to a close tonight when it takes on Buena of Ventura at 7 p.m. at Harry Welch Stadium.

After a combined 13-37 record over the last five years, second-year head coach Cliff Farrar has the Bulldogs (3-1) sitting just outside the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division top-10.

“The kids have bought into the program,” Farrar said. “They have bought into what we want to do. We had a very good offseason program January through June and a good summer program.”

However, Cowboys head coach Chris Varner remains undaunted.

“We just have to do everything we are doing a little bit better,” he said. “Cut down on the turnovers, cut down on the big plays, make those tackles. We’ve had opportunities, we just couldn’t capitalize. That’s what we have to do and we’ll be right there with anybody.”

Buena’s only loss came on Sept. 25 to Oxnard — currently the sixth-ranked team in the division — by the score of 42-21.

The Bulldogs beat Thousand Oaks 27-20 on Sept. 17 and held Lancer dual-threat quarterback Avondre Bollar to 131 yards passing and 148 yards rushing and two scores.

Last Friday, Buena won 29-26 at home over Pacifica of Oxnard.

“They were able to throw the deep pass a couple of times and that’s obviously been our Achilles’ heel all season — stopping those big plays,” Farrar said. “And they are certainly capable of it.”

Buena senior quarterback Robert Munoz has completed 52-of-81 passes on the season for 789 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions, while sophomore running back Kendrick Mathis leads the team on the ground with 248 yards and five touchdowns on 51 carries.

However, Canyon must also watch out for the dangerous wide receiver combination of junior Chase Smith and senior Kevin Leiser. Both possess big-play ability and have combined for 26 receptions with 521 yards and five touchdowns.

“I think we are pretty evenly matched physically,” Farrar said. “We are built a little more like they are. We are build for speed and for quickness. We are not a big team.”

If the Cowboys (0-4) are going to be successful, Varner said his team must first limit its turnovers.

Canyon has thrown two interceptions and lost seven fumbles on the season.

“Sometimes, it just happens and there is nothing you can do,” he said. “Sometimes, kids get so focused on not fumbling that they don’t play football; focus negatively instead of positively holding onto the ball. They are thinking: ‘don’t drop it, don’t fumble.’”

So, Varner said his team is trying to monitor its mentality by having more fun at practice.

It’s a process that begins with competitions between the first-team offense and first-team defense.

Canyon has also battled “the musical chairs of injuries” all season, and Varner noted sophomore Robert Hooper, senior Nick Sotos and junior

Kenneth Stone have stepped up recently to fill spots.

Varner said he wanted to use the injuries as a positive going forward.

“It would help to not lose a new kid each week, but it helps build for the future because we are getting a lot of guys stepping up that probably otherwise wouldn’t,” Varner said. “Good to get some reps for the future.”

 

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