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CIF football playoffs: Canyon offense halted on road

Wolitarsky ends career with 5,147 yards, 281 catches

Posted: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

ATASCADERO — The usually prolific Canyon High offense may have finally met its match.

On a rainy, slippery grass field at Atascadero High School on Friday night, Canyon could never quite get its footing — literally — as it fell short 30-14 against Atascadero in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division quarterfinals.

The usually pass-heavy Cowboys (8-3-1) struggled to move the ball through the air early and the ground game wasn’t enough to match the more run-friendly Greyhounds (6-6), who rushed for 241 yards.

“I don’t want give excuses. We just couldn’t get moving,” said Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez. “I thought we made some stops early. We had some setbacks. It was hard to come back.”

Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay threw three interceptions, including one that was nearly returned for a touchdown in the first quarter.

It eventually led to a 5-yard scoring run by Ethan Hicks, which made it a 15-0 Atascadero lead with 4:06 left in the first.

It was an early hole that Canyon could never dig out of.

“Honestly I don’t know. I don’t have a straight up answer,” Apsay said of the offense’s woes. “I guess we just didn’t come out to compete.”

Apsay finished 16-of-32 passing for 153 yards and an 8-yard touchdown pass to Liam Cabrera late in the fourth quarter.

The 14 points made for Canyon’s lowest output of the season.

The Greyhounds were content to keep the ball on the ground and give it to one of three backs, including Hicks, Izaiah Cooks and Jonathan Torres, who went for a game-high 119 yards on 11 carries.

Hicks had 55 yards on 12 touches, including the first-quarter score and another one from 2 yards out late in the third.

Torres scored on a 65-yard run and Cooks found the end zone from 28 yards away in the first quarter.

After falling behind by two scores, Canyon responded with a long, steady drive which was finished by Apsay’s 1-yard keeper for a score.

That made it 15-7 midway through the second quarter, and that score held until halftime after the Cowboys failed to convert on a fourth down from the Greyhound 5-yard line.

“We got a little too confident,” Apsay said. “‘Run the next play and we’ll just score. It’ll be easy.’ We didn’t execute.”

Dominic Pennucci was Canyon’s go-to running back throughout the past three games. He ran for 66 first-half yards on Friday.

Canyon senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky finished a four-year varsity career as the state’s all-time prep leader in receiving yards (5,147) and receptions (281). He’s also the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns.

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