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'Cowboy Round-Up’ passing tournament a success

Canyon hosts first eight-team spring passing tournament

Posted: May 18, 2013 11:30 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2013 11:30 p.m.

When Canyon High football head coach Rich Gutierrez thought of the idea of hosting a passing tournament in the spring, his goal was to get some top level football programs involved.

Consider it a success.

In the inaugural “Cowboys Round-Up” Spring Classic 7-on-7 tournament at Canyon High on Saturday, three Foothill League teams joined some of the best teams in Southern California to make up an eight-team field.

“I said, ‘You know what? I’d love to start a new tradition and I enjoy doing things and seeing some kids have some fun through some competition,” Gutierrez said.

Those involved were CIF-Southern Section powers Oaks Christian, Westlake and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks to join local teams Valencia, Saugus and Canyon.

Buena High of Ventura, and Eastside of Lancaster rounded out the field.

Westlake won the championship game over Notre Dame in a 42-0 shutout, but each team got to play a minimum of five games.

Some games were played on Canyon’s regular football field while the school painted yard lines to create two football fields near the school’s softball outfield.

The event was complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, T-shirts and a trophy for the winning team.

Each game was officiated by at least two CIF referees, Gutierrez said.

“We generally go to a tournament every spring, so instead of going to one, we figured why not have one here?,” Gutierrez said.

Of the local teams participating, Canyon came out the best by winning all three games in pool play to come out as the No. 1 seed.

Canyon knocked off Buena, Oaks Christian and Valencia on the way to the semifinal, where it lost 20-12 to Notre Dame.

The scoring was standard for 7-on-7 passing format with touchdowns worth six points and interceptions worth two. No extra points or special teams plays were included.

Gutierrez praised Canyon quarterback Cade Apsay, who spent Friday at the Elite 11 regional competition in San Francisco. It was a recruiting event that featured some of the best high school quarterback prospects in the West region.

Apsay, who will be a senior this fall, connected well with junior-to-be wide receiver Liam Cabrera on Saturday. His twin brother Israel Cabrera played well as a defensive back.

Canyon also had a sophomore-to-be, Travis Clark, put together a nice day on defense with three interceptions.

Valencia finished 2-3 on the day after beating Buena and Eastside and losing to Canyon, Notre Dame and Oaks Christian.

Saugus matched Valencia’s mark, also winning games over Buena and Eastside while falling to Westlake, Notre Dame and Oaks Christian.

Gutierrez says he hopes this tournament develops a reputation similar to the annual Under the Lights passing tournament hosted by Saugus High at Central Park.

So far, the feedback has been positive.

“That’s the goal, man. Just continue,” Gutierrez said. “What’s cool is we have a lot of schools and a lot of coaches saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this next year.’”


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