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Canyon Year in Review

Posted: June 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Led by Foothill League Player of the Year Shorty Dent (pictured), the Canyon girls basketball team repeated as league champions, reached the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA semifinals and won the first state playoff game in program history.

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For Canyon High School, most of its athletic success this past year came in just a handful of sports.

But those sports made it count, turning in deep postseason runs and rebound seasons.

Canyon girls basketball won its first-ever game in a CIF State Championship bracket after making it to the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs.

The 4x100-meter relay team of Max Archuleta, Kenny Stone, Dominic Pennucci and Darius Rudolph made it to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, further than any other sprint team in program history.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the year for the Cowboys was the football team’s sudden revival after a dismal 2-9 season a year ago.

But what Canyon football couldn’t do — beat Foothill League rival Valencia — the boys basketball team did three times this past season.

Sept. 11
Canyon football wins its Saturday season-opener 37-31 over John Burroughs of Burbank at Canyon High behind junior quarterback Jonathan Jerozal. In addition to throwing two touchdowns in a 17-for-22, 272-yard passing performance, Jerozal scores the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard keeper late in the fourth quarter.

Sept. 16
Junior quarterback Jonathan Jerozal puts together another big performance in Canyon football’s 35-0 shutout of Highland of Palmdale at Canyon High to improve to 2-0. He tosses three touchdowns and goes 18-for-33 passing with 189 yards and an interception. Two of those scores are caught by sophomore wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, who finished the game with 113 yards receiving.

Sept. 17
Nicole Smith sweeps three singles sets 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0 to help girls tennis beat Palmdale 12-6. The Cowboys doubles team of Paulette Alonsagay and Madison Poitras also sweeps 6-0, 6-2 and 6-3.

Sept. 23
Sam Willis ends up as Canyon’s top finisher in the first Foothill League cross country meet at Castaic Lake. Willis comes in seventh place overall in the boys race with a time of 15 minutes, 58 seconds.

Sept. 24
For the third straight week, Canyon’s top offensive weapons carry the football team to a win, this time a 41-28 victory over Adolfo Camarillo at Camarillo High School. Running back Darius Rudolph carries the ball 17 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky hauls in a 93-yard touchdown, one of his seven receptions for 199 total yards.

Sept. 30
The girls volleyball team beats Golden Valley 3-1 in its Foothill League opener with game scores of 25-22, 22-25, 28-26 and 25-20. Setter Christina Guerrero has 32 assists and Khrista Prudencio tallies 26 digs.

Oct. 1
The Cowboys hold off a comeback attempt by the Beverly Hills football team on the road to hang on for a 31-21 win. Senior running back Darius Rudolph rushes for 134 yards on 18 carries, including a 68-yard scoring run.

Oct. 8
For the first time since 2004, the Cowboys start the season 5-0 in football and finish the preleague season as the Foothill League’s only unbeaten team. They do so with a 36-3 rout of Dos Pueblos at Canyon High. Senior wide receiver T.J. Yonkers catches six passes for 81 yards, including three first-half touchdowns. Kicker Mohammed Roknipour boots a school-record 57-yard field goal in the game and quarterback Jonathan Jerozal throws four touchdown passes.

Oct. 14
Senior Sam Willis is once again the school’s top finisher at the second Foothill League cross country meet at Central Park. He comes in ninth place overall with a time of 16 minutes, 21.35 seconds.

Oct. 15
In its closest call of the season, the Cowboys football team edges Saugus 21-14 after quarterback Jonathan Jerozal scores on a 1-yard keeper with 9 seconds left in the game. It caps an 11-play, 65-yard drive to win the game against a pesky Saugus defense.

Oct. 22
The Cowboys lose their first football game of the season, a 52-31 setback against Valencia. It’s a four-point game until late in the third quarter, when Valencia’s defense finally slows down Canyon and Drew Wolitarsky, who has seven catches for 179 yards in the game.

Oct. 23
The boys cross country team finishes with its sixth-fastest team time in school history at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational, finishing in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 15 seconds as a team. Sam Willis leads the way by running 15:21. The girls team finishes 18th in its race with the top time coming from Lindsey Jakeman (19:57).

Oct. 29
Canyon football bounces back from a loss to rout West Ranch 59-38 at home with another offensive explosion. Running back Darius Rudolph gains 176 yards on 23 carries and rushes for three touchdowns while also catching a 24-yard score in the game. Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal throws four touchdown passes and totals 230 passing yards.

Nov. 3
Senior tennis player Nicole Smith falls one win short of a semifinal appearance in the Foothill League Individual Championships, losing to West Ranch’s Ana Cecelia Fuentes 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals at the Paseo Club.

Nov. 4
A pair of Canyon runners earns top-five spots in the Foothill League cross country finals at Central Park. Sam Willis finishes fourth in 15 minutes, 49 seconds and teammate Timmy Gonzales comes in fifth in 15:56.59. With that, the Canyon boys earned a spot in the postseason with a third-place finish in league.

Nov. 5
Two big runs by running back Darius Rudolph help the Cowboys football team erase a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and beat rival Hart 36-29 at College of the Canyons. Rudolph scores on a 98-yard kickoff return and an 80-yard run to tie the game at 29-29 before quarterback Jonathan Jerozal scores the game-winning touchdown from 1 yard out.

Nov. 11
The Cowboys football team finishes the regular season at 9-1 with a 47-8 rout of Golden Valley. The Cowboys finish second in the Foothill League behind Valencia a year after finishing 2-8 overall. Against Golden Valley, quarterback Jonathan Jerozal adds to his impressive year by throwing for five touchdowns and 367 yards. The game also features a 99-yard scoring run by Sean Guzman, which sets a school record for longest play from scrimmage.

Nov. 19
For the first time since winning the CIF Division I State Championship in 2006, Canyon football wins a playoff game, this time a 24-13 triumph over Palmdale in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs. Running back Darius Rudolph shoulders the bulk of Canyon’s offense in the game, scoring a pair of touchdowns to go with 132 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Nov. 20
The boys cross country team finishes 13th overall at the CIF-Southern Section Division II meet. The Cowboys are led by Sam Willis’ 24th-place time of 16 minutes, 22 seconds.

Nov. 26
The turnaround season for Canyon football comes to an end in a 45-21 loss to St. Bonaventure in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs on the road. The game is highlighted by senior wide receiver T.J. Yonkers, who catches three touchdowns and has 113 yards receiving.

Nov. 29
Canyon boys basketball wins its season opener, defeating Santa Clara High 69-49 at the opening day of the Burbank Tournament. Clay Kasdorf scores a team-high 28 points in the contest.

Nov. 30
Adriana Dent pours in 19 points to lead Canyon girls basketball to its season-opening 72-55 victory over Buena.
Boys soccer also notches a win in its season opener, a 4-1 victory over Quartz Hill. Anthony Donato and Jordan Markovich both score goals.

Dec. 3
The boys soccer team ties defending CIF-Southern Section Division III champion Paramount 1-1 at Canyon High.

Dec. 4
A 59-44 win over Ventura lifts the girls basketball team to a Ventura Optimist Tournament championship. Senior Shorty Dent is named tournament MVP, scoring 18 points in the title game.

Boys basketball finishes third at the Burbank Tournament, topping Crenshaw 81-76 in the third-place game. Clay Kasdorf leads Canyon with 35 points.

Dec. 10
Football head coach Chris Varner resigns after four years with the program, citing a need to spend more time with his family. The Cowboys went 21-22 under his watch.

Dec. 11
The Canyon boys basketball team wins the Canyon Classic championship, hanging on to beat Foothill League rival Valencia 59-58. Point guard Coley Apsay scores 22 points and makes key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Dec. 29
Led by Coley Apsay’s 20 points and six rebounds, the boys basketball team advances to the championship game of the Ventura Tournament by topping Lakewood 60-49.

Jan. 11
A third-quarter scoring run leads the boys basketball team to a Foothill League-opening 54-47 win over Hart at Canyon High. Point guard Coley Apsay scores a team-high 18 points and leads the Cowboys on a 7-0 run to take a permanent lead in the second half.

A late goal stuns the defending league champion boys soccer team, which loses 3-2 to Hart in the Foothill League opener. A.J. Rochow and Zach Jens each score goals for the Cowboys.

The girls basketball team goes ahead early and then runs away in a 49-31 rout of Hart in the Foothill League opener. Alia McCoy scores a team-high 10 points.

On the girls side, the soccer team earns a 1-1 draw against Hart in the first Foothill League match of the year.

Jan. 13
Junior softball player Courtney Ziese makes a verbal commitment to Georgia Tech University, expecting to play for the Yellow Jackets beginning in 2013.

Jan. 14
Despite sluggish offense late in the game, girls basketball squeaks by Saugus 42-39 in the second Foothill League game of the season. Center Alia McCoy plays tough defense against Saugus power forward Megan Dawe throughout.

Jan. 18
For the first time since 2002, the Cowboys beat Valencia at Valencia High School in boys basketball. The Cowboys get a game-clinching layup from Darnel Haggerty with 25 seconds left to win 50-47. Haggerty scores 15 points to help Canyon hang on in the closing seconds.

It comes down to the wire for boys soccer, which allows a late goal against Valencia and settles for a 2-2 draw. The game ends in controversy as it appears Canyon scores the game-winning goal before it is called back. Arguments from players and coaches aren’t enough to overturn the decision.

Jan. 21
Canyon High athletic director Rich Gutierrez is named head football coach for the 2011 season. Gutierrez was an assistant coach for Canyon football and will remain athletic director.

Jan. 25
The girls soccer team notches its first league win of the season, topping Golden Valley 2-0.

Jan. 27
Wide receivers Drew Wolitarsky and T.J. Yonkers are named to the All-CIF-Southern Section Northern Division football team.

Jan. 30
Wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky makes the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomores team.

Feb. 1
Defense holds tough in the boys basketball team’s 67-45 win over Saugus, marking Canyon’s third straight win by at least 20 points. The Centurions are limited to 24 percent shooting while Clay Kasdorf scores a game-high 25 points for the Cowboys.

Feb. 4
For the third time this season, the Cowboys beat Valencia in boys basketball, this time 72-65 in a crucial Foothill League matchup. Darnel Haggerty leads all scorers with 20 points for Canyon and Clay Kasdorf adds 18, including big free throws in the final seconds. The victory moves Canyon into a tie for first place in league with a 6-2 record.

Feb. 8
With a 61-53 victory over West Ranch, Canyon clinches an outright Foothill League championship in girls basketball. Senior Shorty Dent scores 20 points in the game.

Freshman goalkeeper Robert Nudya saves a penalty kick attempt in the final minutes of a boys soccer matchup with West Ranch to preserve a 1-1 tie with the first-place Wildcats.

Feb. 10
A 17-point performance from Shorty Dent helps Canyon girls basketball wrap up a 9-1 Foothill league season after beating Golden Valley 65-24.

Boys soccer finishes tied for third place in the Foothill League with a 4-1 win over Golden Valley, going 4-2-4.

Feb. 15
Girls soccer is eliminated in the wild-card round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, losing 2-0 to Lutheran High and finishing the season 11-6-7 overall.

Feb. 16
Two goals from Mohammed Roknipour aren’t enough to move Canyon boys soccer beyond the wild-card round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III playoffs. The Cowboys fall 3-2 to Nipomo and finished the season 9-5-9 overall.
Clay Kasdorf pours in 27 point and Canyon beats Buena 77-60 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs.

Feb. 17
A big second half brings girls basketball to a 50-38 first-round win in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs. Alia McCoy leads the way with 15 points.

Feb. 18
A furious second-half rally falls short as the Canyon Cowboys boys basketball team loses 65-59 to Canyon of Anaheim at home in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs. Coley Apsay scores 23 points on 7-of-19 shooting for the Cowboys, who end the season 20-8.

Feb. 23

The girls basketball team withstands a pressure-filled second half to earn a 69-57 win over Huntington Beach High in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA quarterfinals. The Cowboys break a 26-26 halftime deadlock with a 14-2 run to start the third quarter in the contest.

Feb. 26

In girls basketball’s first CIF semifinal appearance since 2006, late foul trouble leads to a 60-53 loss to Buena, ending the Cowboys’ run in the CIF-Southern Section Division IIAA playoffs. Alia McCoy leads Canyons with 20 points.

March 5

The 4x1,600-meter relay team of Sam Willis, Michael Glasgow, Jacob Bacerra and Steven Dreger breaks a meet record at the Santa Clarita Valley Track Invitational at Canyon High, running the race in 18 minutes, 44.68 seconds. Stevie Kennedy-Gold also jumps her way to a meet-record mark of 10 feet, 6 inches in the girls pole vault.

March 8
For the first time in school history, Canyon girls basketball wins a state playoff game, beating Monache of Porterville 74-61 in the first round of the CIF State Girls Division II Basketball Championship. The Cowboys, who earned a spot in the tournament by invitation, see four players score in double-figures in the win. Sara Ward leads the way with 12 points.

March 10
The girls basketball finds itself in a tight game yet again, but is knocked off at Rialto 46-44 in the second round of the CIF State Girls Division II Basketball Championship. Alia McCoy leads with 13 points as the team’s historic season ends at 27-6.

March 18
After scoring two quick runs, the Foothill League baseball opener gets away from the Cowboys, who lose to Valencia 12-2. Patrick Roxbury hits a two-RBI double in the first inning to get Canyon on the board.

March 23
The boys and girls swimming teams sweep Golden Valley in the first Foothill League meet. The boys win every race to defeat the Grizzlies 111-59 and the girls also dominate 127-42.

March 24
Sprinters dominate for Canyon boys track and field, which beats Golden Valley 88-48 at Golden Valley High School in the first Foothill League meet. The Canyon girls lose 79-57.

March 30
Harry Bennett’s walk-off single in the seventh inning gives Canyon baseball its first Foothill League victory of the season, a 4-3 win over Saugus.

April 12
An 8-5 victory over Hart gives Canyon softball its first win over the Indians since April 11, 2002. Leanne Hill earns the win in the circle.

April 15

Senior Sam Willis clocks a 1,600-meter time of 4 minutes, 16.52 seconds at Mt. San Antonio College to move into third place on Canyon’s all-time list in the event. At the same event, Taylor Thomas runs a school-record time of 14.51 seconds in the 100 hurdles.

April 26
Hayley Bottino has an RBI base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to help Canyon secure a 1-0 win over 10-time defending Foothill League champion Valencia at Canyon High School. Leanne Hill pitches all eight innings of the shutout.

April 27
Canyon boys swimming finishes the regular season fourth in the Foothill League after losing to Valencia 119.5-50.5 at the league finale. The girls also lose to Valencia 116-54 to finish fourth in league. The boys finish 3-5 overall, the girls finish 5-3 overall and both teams go 2-3 against Foothill opponents.

April 28
Boys track and field clinches its second straight Foothill League title, beating Saugus 78-58 at Saugus High. Kenny Stone wins the 200-meter dash in 21.95 seconds, the 400 in 50.12 seconds and takes part in a 4x100 relay team that wins in 42.33 seconds. He is joined by teammates Max Archuleta, Dominic Pennucci and Darius Rudolph in the relay.

May 5
Senior Jason Ferlianto claims the Foothill League boys tennis individual singles championship by defeating West Ranch’s Harrison Collins 6-2, 6-4 in the final at Paseo Club. It marks the second career singles title for Ferlianto.

May 6
Kenny Stone takes part in four different individual Foothill League championships at the finals at College of the Canyons. He wins the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.53 seconds and the 200 in 21.64 seconds, and he helps the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams to victories.

For the first time since 2007, Canyon baseball wins two season series against Foothill League opponents in the same season, topping Golden Valley 3-1 in the rubber match. Canyon had also beaten Saugus two out of three games earlier in the year.

May 12
Canyon softball falls 6-3 to Valencia to finish its season at 13-13 overall and 3-7 in the Foothill League, good for fifth place.

May 13
The baseball team loses to Valencia 6-2 to finish fourth place in the Foothill League at 5-10.

May 20
Senior Jason Ferlianto gets knocked out in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section boys tennis individual tournament, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3).

May 21
Kevin Enge, Stevie Kennedy-Gold and the boys 4x100-meter relay team all qualify for the Masters Meet at the CIF-Southern Section Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Enge finishes fourth in Division II by clearing 6 feet, 4 inches, while Kennedy-Gold matches a personal-best by clearing 11-3 in the pole vault. The relay team of Max Archuleta, Kenny Stone, Dominic Pennucci and Darius Rudolph finishes fifth with a time of 42.34 seconds.

May 27
Due to multiple opponent disqualifications, the Canyon boys 4x100-meter relay team of Max Archuleta, Kenny Stone, Dominic Pennucci and Darius Rudolph earns a spot at the CIF State Track and Field Championships with its time of 42.61 seconds at the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

June 4
Canyon runners Max Archuleta, Kenny Stone, Dominic Pennucci and Darius Rudolph finish sixth at the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis in the 4x100-meter relay. The team runs the race in 42.18 seconds, a bit slower than its Foothill-League record mark of 41.78 seconds the day before during prelims.


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