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Foothill football: Ain’t that a kick

Field goal as time expires gives Canyon second place

Posted: November 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay (1) and kicker Bonifacio Rojas celebrate Rojas' 17-yard, game-winning field goal against Hart on Friday night at College of the Canyons.

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All season long, Canyon made its name with big offense and, at times, struggled on defense.

In a rivalry game, apparently all bets are off.

Israel Cabrera’s interception deep in Hart territory with 1:26 to play set up Bonifacio Rojas’ 17-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to give Canyon a 17-14 win over Hart on Friday night at College of the Canyons.

“As a kid, I’ve always known the rivalry, Canyon-Hart. I’ve gone to every game,” said Cabrera, who picked off two Brady White passes in the game. “I’m just so glad to win it.”

The win, which was the Cowboys’ third straight against their oldest rival, secures second place in the Foothill League, while Hart falls to third place after losing its second in a row.

Rojas’ kick was set up by an 11-yard run Myron McAfee run in which he intentionally kneeled at the 1 with a clear chance to score.

That play came after Cabrera snagged a tipped ball thrown by White on a first down play from Hart’s 4-yard line.

The sophomore also had a key interception near the end of the first half in Hart’s end zone to end a potential scoring threat.

The Indians jumped in front 14-0 in the first quarter, but Canyon cranked up the intensity on defense as Hart tried to take the air out of the ball with long, run-heavy drives.

Canyon running back Dominic Pennucci, playing in his first game since Oct. 5, ran for 96 yards on 17 touches, including a 5-yard touchdown carry in the second quarter for Canyon’s first points of the night.

It was 14-7 Hart at halftime.

“We never got nervous,” said Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez. “We just said, ‘Let’s buckle down and do this.’”

The Cowboys (7-2-1 overall, 4-1 Foothill League) scored again to tie it at 14-14 on a 12-yard pass from Cade Apsay to Drew Wolitarsky in the third quarter.

It was Apsay’s 35th touchdown strike this year, which broke a single-season school record for touchdown passes held by Nate Longshore (2003).

Both of Canyon’s scoring drives were 13 plays long, one was 86 yards and the other for 78 yards.

For Hart (7-3, 3-2), its only offensive score came on a 21-yard pass from White to Trent Irwin on the team’s opening drive of the game.

The Indians made it a two-score game when Austin Murillo picked off an Apsay pass and streaked 39 yards to the end zone late in the first.

With the victory, Canyon will likely earn a home game in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs while Hart will likely have to play on the road in the first round.

Notes: The Great American Rivalry Series honored numerous players at the game on Friday and gave Canyon a trophy for winning the game. … Pennucci was awarded the game’s MVP by the organization and seniors from each team were given  Rivalry Scholar Student Athlete Scholarship Award. Those athletes were Hart’s Dustin Soto and Canyon’s Kyle Cantu.

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