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Prep football: Canyon worries about itself

Posted: September 15, 2010 10:17 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

This week, the focus is internal.

For Canyon's 7 p.m. matchup against Highland of Palmdale today at Harry Welch Stadium, both coaches said they need to worry more about their own mistakes than the opponent.

Last week, Canyon (1-0) turned the ball over three times, which set up Burroughs of Burbank for two scores in the game. The Cowboys won the game 37-31, but they hope to play a cleaner game against Bulldogs.

"When you have the offense turning the ball over three times and fumbling the ball at their own 5, that certainly doesn't help," said Canyon head coach Chris Varner.

Highland (0-1), which lost 17-16 to Burroughs of Ridgecrest, also points to turnovers as a costly factor in the game. The Bulldogs fumbled once deep in its own territory and once deep in Burroughs' territory.

"We're shooting ourselves in the foot," said Highland head coach Troy Jackson.

Added to the issue of turnovers, Highland will have to take the field without the services of junior starting quarterback Christian Tago, who injured his ankle in Friday's season opener.

In his place, junior Hunter Sharp will get the nod against Canyon. Sharp normally plays wide receiver and doesn't have a lot of experience as a passer, so he'll be running a lot out of the Wildcat formation. He will play his usual role as a free safety on defense and kick returner on special teams.

"One would think in a four quarter game, you might get a little bit tired," Varner said, adding that he expects the Bulldogs to hand the ball off more to take some of the workload off Sharp.

"It's just attrition," Jackson said. "It's a matter of how long he can go going both ways."

Highland will likely give more carries to junior Dana McElroy, the team's starting running back.

On the offensive side of the ball, Cowboys quarterback Jonathan Jerozal will lead the way for an offense that moved the ball well last week.

The junior completed 17-of-22 attempts for 272 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

"Once he was able to settle in, the kid's got great tools and great instincts," Varner said of Jerozal.

The offensive production was also bolstered by the performances of wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky and T.J. Yonkers, who combined for nine catches, 187 yards and two scores.

"It'll be hard for us because they accelerate after the catch so well," Jackson said of the Canyon wide receivers. "Their swing patterns and how they catch the ball out in space, that will be a challenge for us."

Last year, Highland beat Canyon in Palmdale 29-24, but Jackson said he doesn't expect the same Cowboy team.

"They took us a little light in the desert last year and thought we were desert rats," he said. "I don't think they'll do that again."



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