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Canyon gets defensive, skins Norco Cougars

Cowboys travel long way to pick up huge victory, has winning record

Posted: September 23, 2008 7:30 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The only offensive touchdown scored by Canyon High School was an ominous one Friday night at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Corona.

The major play was set up by the Cowboys' defense, in a 16-6 preseason victory over Norco.

With 9:56 left in the game, Canyon quarterback Jordan Adamczyk connected with tight end William Kirkpatrick in the back corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. The play was a well-executed play-action pass by Adamczyk and was closer to the Cougars' fans.

Kirkpatrick, a sophomore, is a first-year varsity player on the Cowboys. The grab was his first career touchdown catch.

"It was an easy catch," Kirkpatrick said. ‘It feels good. It was a fake isolation play to (running back) Daniel Hooper."

Before the Cowboys were in position to add the score, linebacker Nate Marroquin forced a fumble by Norco tailback Richard Lopez that was recovered by Anthony Tarnowski.

Canyon's defense forced four turnovers as it saw a winning record for the first time this season at 2-1. The carnage included four forced fumbles, two recovered muffs and two interceptions.

"They were a few shoestrings away from scoring a couple touchdowns," Canyon head coach Chris Varner said. "Turnovers in a defensive game were huge. The ball bounced our way tonight."

Norco (1-1), who reached the second round of the CIF-SS Football Tournament last season, made a last-gasp attempt at making it a three- or a seven-point game.

On third-and-14, cornerback Tyger Rodriguez picked off a pass by Taylor Viloria that was tipped by a teammate at the Canyon 3-yard-line.

Rodriguez earlier kicked the go-ahead field goal, a 24-yarder that gave Canyon a 9-6 lead with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.

Canyon took advantage of a fake punt attempt right before the drive. On fourth-and-nine, upback Daimion Stafford took the direct snap but was stuffed for four yards by Chile Viall. Adamczyk slinged a 27-yard pass to a wide-open Rivas to the Norco 11 on the drive.

Norco's offense gained 240 yards on 43 carries, including 115 yards on 16 carries by Deandre Lewis. The Cowboys won despite being outgained, 322-152.

"We have to learn how to finish it up and get in the end zone," Lewis said.

Norco ran an offense that was heavy on the wingbacks running up the middle and outside on pitches.

"We don't get to see that type of offense all the time," Varner said. "We got the kids seeing it for the first time, which was good."

With 6:01 left in the first half, fullback Chris Reed suffered a neck injury while he was blocking on a run by Camp.

Reed was underneath a pile of players from both teams on the play. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior was taken off a stretcher and transported to Corona Regional Medical Center. Reed, who was conscious at the time, was looked at by members of the Norco Fire Department.

Canyon began the game as good as any football team could. Charlie Cusumano took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Cusumano dropped the kickoff near the 2, took the ball from right to the left sideline, broke three tackles and found his way to paydirt, for a 6-0 Cowboy lead.

Norco controlled most of the first half. Handoffs up the middle, option runs, reverses and power sweeps outside gained 129 rushing yards in the half, but they led to zero touchdowns but two field goals.

Two 29-yard field goals kicked by Chance Simon tied the game at 6.

Norco's passing game clicked on a 63-yard drive. Quarterback Taylor Viloria came on in relief of running QB Cody Stevens. Viloria found Lopez on quick outside screens six times for 70 yards, including a 30-yard catch-and-run that advanced the ball to the Norco 48.

Three incompletions - including two that were nearly picked off by Canyon - stopped the drive with 12 ticks left in the half.


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