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Foothill football preview: Hill’s top and bottom

Canyon, Hart and Valencia are early leaders

Posted: October 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley quarterback Chase Lewis (1) is brought down by Canyon defenders Liam Cabrera (20) and Ethan Allen (76) at Canyon High on Oct. 5.

 

Canyon football seems to feel like last week was a turning point.

There was a three-week point during this season where the swagger was gone, the defense was vilified and the Cowboys were seen as a struggling team coming into Foothill League play.

They lost 56-49 to Quartz Hill on Sept. 14, then had a week to stew on that, then tied Steele Canyon 49-49 on Sept. 28 in a game they led by 20 points late in the third quarter.

If last Friday’s 49-7 win against Golden Valley was the beginning of the road to redemption, tonight against Saugus at College of the Canyons at 7:30 p.m. is the midway point because the Valencia and Hart lie in wait down the line.

The Centurions (1-5, 0-1) usually play the Cowboys (4-1-1, 1-0) tough.

Saugus is 3-2 against Canyon the last five years, including last season’s forfeit win due to Canyon playing in an ineligible player.

Three of those contests were decided by seven points or less.

“I think (Saugus head coach Jason Bornn’s) a great coach,” said Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez on why the games have been so close. “If you want my honest opinion, he knows how to break down film, he understands the game. He runs a different defense and they prepare differently. ... I think sometimes it’s matchups, style of play.”

On paper, though, this spells a Canyon victory with ease.

The Cowboys' defense took some pride in holding 0-6 Golden Valley to just seven points in last week’s win.

Saugus is averaging just 11.7 points per game and was shut out last week 38-0 to Valencia.

Krishan Pierce, the speedy running back/slot receiver was the main offensive contributor for the Centurions with 28 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards, and quarterback Chris Hamilton did return to start after not playing in nearly a month because of a concussion.

But the Cents are struggling, having lost five straight games.

That doesn’t matter to Gutierrez, though.

“There’s no way,” he said of if his kids expect to win with ease.

Hart at Golden Valley at Canyon High School, 7 p.m.

The three Foothill League games this week seem to be pretty easy to call.

Especially the Hart (5-1, 1-0) versus Golden Valley matchup.

But before chalking up a win to Hart, Indians head coach Mike Herrington said his team will still have its hands full.

“We’ve told the defense we’re going up against a big running back. They have to make tackles and fly to the football and be conscious of any type of play action with their passing game and the speed.”

That running back, Leon Jacobs, continues to be the Grizzlies’ bright spot.

He is now up to 666 yards on 106 carries this season.

The Grizzlies (0-6, 0-1) aren’t scoring much, though.

Jacobs hasn’t rushed the ball more than 19 times in one game this season, so more carries could reduce the amount of time the Hart offense is on the field.

Golden Valley has surrendered 47.3 points per game in its last three games and Hart has averaged 49 points per game in its last five games.

West Ranch at Valencia at Valencia High, 7 p.m.

West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien said just a week ago that he thinks his team is a contender in the Foothill League.

That was just before the Wildcats (1-5, 0-1) lost 49-6 against Hart in a game that they were dominated in almost every facet of the game.

Yet there’s no denying the talent West Ranch has, and despite its 1-5 record, there is still belief inside and outside of the program.

Valencia head coach Larry Muir said tonight’s game won’t be a cakewalk — despite the disparity in the way both teams played last week.

“They have (wide receiver) Rawston Redick, they have a good running back and they do a good job running the ball,” Muir said. “They do a good job following the offensive line, and the quarterback scrambling and the receivers running good double moves. They do a lot of things well.”

So does Valencia (3-3, 1-0), coming off a 38-0 win over Saugus in a stellar offensive/defensive effort.

The standout of the game was junior wide receiver Nick Jones, who caught nine passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns.

Valencia, though, has been two teams in 2012.

The Vikings have outscored opponents 127-22 in three wins and have been outscored 100-62 in three losses.

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