LANCASTER -- Sierra Canyon rode the legs of Xavier Menifield to the Southern Section East Valley Division championship, an undefeated season and perhaps a berth in a CIF state bowl game.
Menifield scored five touchdowns and rushed for 161 yards in his team’s 47-14 win over Paraclete at Antelope Valley College on Saturday night.
He scored one of three touchdowns for Sierra Canyon in the third quarter and helped turn a tight, seven-point game into a 33-point blowout in the rematch of last year’s East Valley Division championship game.
“It was a combination of things,” Sierra Canyon coach Jon Ellinghouse said about his team's scoring surge in the third quarter. “It took us a little while to adjust. We had a couple of fumbles and I think we only ran six plays in the first quarter.”
Sierra Canyon (14-0) scored on big plays from its opening possession to its final touchdown. Menifield scored on a 61-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Tyler Stewart on the first play from scrimmage for Sierra Canyon.
Menifield scored the last touchdown for Sierra Canyon on a 44-yard run in the fourth quarter.
In between, Menifield scored on runs of 57 and 35 yards. He added a little five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
A stunned Paraclete defense did little to stop the Sierra Canyon running attack. Menifield and teammate Danny Jordan combined for 273 yards on the ground. Jordan had 162 yards and scored a touchdown on an 84-yard run in the third quarter.
Menifield made the most of his chances. He was not much of a factor the last time Sierra Canyon played Paraclete (11-3) in November. He was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and was taken to a hospital because of concussion-like symptoms. He had onlytwo carries for three yards. Sierra Canyon won the game, 36-26, but had to rally in the second half to take the lead and pull away.
The East Valley Division championship game was a much different story. Menifield made his presence felt on his team’s first play of the game. He continually pounded through the Paraclete defense, breaking off big runs. His only catch of the game went for a 61-yard touchdown.
Paraclete tied the score in the first quarter, 7-7, on a four-yard run by Ryan Davis. But Sierra Canyon took a 14-7 lead into halftime on a five-yard run by Menifield with 40 seconds to play in the first half.
It took Sierra Canyon only 30 seconds to score its first touchdown in the third quarter and take a 20-7 lead. Menifield scored on a 57-yard run on the third play of the third quarter. Jordan scored on an 84-yard run midway through the third quarter to give Sierra Canyon a 26-7 lead.
“He’s a stud,” Ellinghouse said about Menifield. “Both backs, Danny Jordan had a phenomenal game.”
Stewart scored a minute and a half later on a 10-yard run by Stewart to put Sierra Canyon up, 33-7.
“They came out ready to play in the second half,” Paraclete coach Norm Dahlia said. “We didn’t. They stopped us defensively. They did what they needed to do to win.”
Sierra Canyon scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to go up 47-7.
Davis scored the last touchdown of his high school career on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Carvalho with seven seconds left in the game.
As a team, Sierra Canyon rushed for 488 yards. Stewart completed only four passes, two to Preston White for 41 yards.
Sierra Canyon will find out Sunday if it earned a CIF state bowl berth. The Trailblazers' resume is impressive, a 14-0 record and the East Valley Division championship.