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Foothill football: The hilltoppers

Prep football: Canyon wins a share of its first Foothill League championship since 2006

Posted: November 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Canyon wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky hauls in a touchdown pass in the second quarter at Canyon High School on Thursday. The Cowboys defeated Golden Valley 48-21 and claimed at least a share of the Foothill League title.

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Canyon may have been expected to reach the top of the Foothill League, but the way it got there was anything but.

Cowboys wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught four first-half touchdowns from quarterback Jonathan Jerozal to lead Canyon to a 48-21 victory over Golden Valley High at Canyon High School on Thursday.

The victory clinches at least a share of the Foothill League title for Canyon, with Saugus and Valencia sitting a half-game behind in the standings and facing off tonight.

Entering the Foothill League season, Canyon (9-1, 4-1) had averaged nearly 50 points per game and was the favorite to win its first league title since its state championship season of 2006.

But after a 34-7 loss to Valencia on Oct. 21, Canyon’s chances looked slim — no school has won even a share of the Foothill League title with a league loss since Canyon rejoined the league in 1992.

That all changed when Valencia fell to Hart 19-14 the next week, opening the door for the Cowboys to get back on top.

"After we lost to Valencia, it was play hard and see what happens," Jerozal said. "We worked hard to not give up."

And on Thursday night, the Cowboys proved it.

The Grizzlies (1-9, 0-5) started the game as well as they could have hoped, as running back Earl Johnson ran right on the first play of the game, cut back to the left and raced 65 yards for a touchdown. Johnson finished with 164 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns with one fumble.

Golden Valley quarterback Reid Soliman finished with 93 yards on 8-of-15 attempts with one touchdown.

Then Canyon responded. Again, and again and again.

"The first play showed us we had to fight," Jerozal said. "It was a wake-up call for us."

Jerozal picked apart the Golden Valley defense, throwing for 331 yards on 16-of-24 attempts with five touchdowns.

Wolitarsky grabbed seven of those passes, finishing with touchdowns of 12, 54, 67 and 33 yards. Coley Apsay added 67 yards of his own on six catches.

"(Wolitarsky) is just a phenomenal athlete," said Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez. "He’s an incredible kid who works 100 percent at everything."

Running back Max Archuleta did his part as well, rushing for 82 yards on 13 carries. Backup running back Daniel Castro added 49 yards on four carries and a 33-yard touchdown with 11:06 remaining to push the lead to 48-7.

Wide receiver Zane Patterson added a 31-yard reception late in the third quarter to push the lead to 42-7 with 1:56 remaining.

Soliman found wide receiver Isa Bey with 2:26 left for a 39-yard touchdown. Bey had 85 yards on seven receptions.

For the Cowboys, the route to a league title may not have been ideal. But they sit where they expected to be all along.

 

 

 

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