Los Angeles Preps: Coley Apsay

Canyon wins 12th game in a row

January, 20, 2012

CANYON COUNTRY -- The Canyon football team is known for its 46-game winning streak in the 1980s. The Canyon cross country teams have won a number of national titles and CIF championships.

The boys' basketball team is on the verge of setting some school records and is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Canyon boys won their 12th game in a row, 68-34, over Golden Valley in a Foothill League game on Friday night at Canyon High School. The Cowboys are off to their best start in school history at 19-1. They are one win away from matching the longest winning streak in school history.

The 1978 Canyon boys' basketball team won 13 games in a row. That team went 22-4 and reached the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

Canyon is the top-ranked team in the CIF-SS Division 2AA and, for the time being, the favorite to win the Division 2AA championship. It would be the first CIF basketball championship in Canyon’s history.

Known as a football school, Canyon is quickly becoming the basketball juggernaut of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Canyon coach Chad Phillips said his team is playing unselfishly and gelling like a family.

“It has to be,” Phillips said. “Everybody has a role. You gotta have role players to play around the star players.”

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Chaminade, Canyon win basketball tournaments

December, 30, 2011
The Chaminade boys basketball team won its own tournament. The Canyon boys basketball team beat Ventura at the Ventura tournament.

Alemany is in the championship game of the Modesto Christian tournament. Crespi lost in the semifinals of the Redondo Sea Hawk Beach Classic.

Here’s a look at the games from Thursday night and some of the tournament games being played tonight:

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L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 19, 2011
CanyonTim Haddock/For ESPNLA.comCanyon will be facing a tough defense when it takes on Valencia in a key Foothill League game.

The Canyon football team has been rolling over opponents, averaging 49.8 points. The Valencia football team has been shutting down opposing offenses, yielding an average of 12.2 points.

When the two teams meet on Friday night at Valencia High School, it will be a classic matchup of an explosive offense vs. a stingy defense.

Except that the Valencia offense woke up against West Ranch in the Foothill League opener last week.

Valencia (3-3), the reigning Foothill League champ, scored a season-high 31 points in a 31-14 win over West Ranch. Running back Jake Solley rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns for Valencia, which came into the game averaging only 13.6 points.

Canyon (6-0), the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA top 25 rankings, is coming off a 51-28 win over Saugus. The Cowboys eclipsed the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season and have been beating teams by a average margin of 36 points per game.

Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw three touchdowns passes, two to receiver Drew Wolitarsky, in the game against Saugus. But Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez said it was the emergence of the running attack that has led to Canyon’s high scores and eye-popping statistics.

Canyon running back Max Archuleta has rushed for 727 yards and scored eight touchdowns in six games. He is averaging 121.1 yards per game and 7.8 yards per carry. Gutierrez says Archuleta is a phenomenal athlete, but he had no idea how much of an impact he would make on the offense.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Gutierrez said. “The offensive line is doing their thing. It's execution. It’s increased our options.”

With a running game that demands attention, Jerozal and Wolitarsky have been able to shine throughout the season. It has also given receivers Coley Apsay and Brenden Stach chances to make plays.

Gutierrez calls Apsay, the starting point guard on the Canyon basketball team, his team’s most consistent player.

“Coley’s one of our best athletes,” Gutierrez said. “He’s a solid possession receiver.”

Valencia will definitely be the toughest defense Canyon has faced all season. But Gutierrez says he expects a tough game every week.

“They have great players, great coaches,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Saugus, but I almost see every week as the toughest test we have. I see every game as a tough game. They got talented kids. It’s good stuff.”

Here’s a look at some of the other top games in the L.A. North:

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L.A. North: The Top 10

September, 26, 2011
Oaks Christian took care of business and beat St. Bonaventure by 12 points in a match-up of two of the top teams in Southern California. The Lions maintain the top spot in the L.A. North rankings and St. Bonaventure drops to No. 5.

Two newcomers to the L.A. North top 10: St. Francis and Ventura. Both teams are undefeated and both face tough challenges on Friday night.

St. Francis goes up against an undefeated West Ranch team from the Foothill League.

Ventura plays Camarillo and receiver Jake Maulhardt, who set the state record with 28 catches against Canyon in a 52-28 loss. Maulhardt had 347 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns.

Here is a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (2-1) -- Much of the attention in Oaks Christian’s 36-24 win over St. Bonaventure was placed on sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins, who was making his first varsity start. Defensive end Marcus Jones deserves some attention too. He had three sacks, forced two fumbles and led a defense that forced three turnovers. Next up for Oaks Christian is Calabasas on Friday night.
  2. (3) Crespi (4-0) -- The Celts blanked Palisades, 40-0, to record their second shutout of the season. Crespi is averaging 48.5 points per game and giving up only 8.5 points per game. Next up for Crespi is Vista Murrieta.
  3. (5) Alemany (3-1) -- The Warriors bounced back from a one-point loss to JW North to beat Chaminade, 31-14. Alemany plays Dorsey on Friday night.
  4. (4) Westlake (4-0) -- The Warriors beat Thousand Oaks 38-6 and scored 24 points in the third quarter to blow open the game and take a 35-0 lead. Westlake running back Jarrius Bishop scored two touchdowns. Westlake travels to Royal on Friday night.
  5. (2) St. Bonaventure (2-1) -- The Seraphs lost their first game of the season with the help of a timely power outage in the fourth quarter at Oaks Christian. The stadium lights went out as Oaks Christian was punting with a three-point lead. St. Bonaventure hosts Simi Valley at Ventura High on Friday night.
  6. (7) Canyon (3-0) -- The good news is Canyon crushed Camarillo, 52-28, and receiver Coley Apsay had a breakout game with eight catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The bad news is Canyon surrendered a state record 28 receptions to Camarillo receiver Jake Maulhardt. Next up for Canyon is Beverly Hills.
  7. (6) Chaminade (2-1) -- The Eagles lost their first game of the season to Alemany. But there is no shame in losing to a strong Alemany team. Chaminade is on the road to play Mira Costa on Friday night.
  8. (8) Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (4-0) -- The resurgent Knights keep rolling. This time, Notre Dame disposed of Birmingham, 34-12. The Knights' defense is giving up only 9.7 points per game. Next up for Notre Dame is Golden Valley.
  9. (NR) St. Francis (3-0) -- The Golden Knights are coming off a 27-17 win on the road against Venice. St. Francis goes up against another undefeated team in West Ranch (4-0) on Friday night.
  10. (NR) Ventura (4-0) -- The Cougars are coming off a 35-20 win over Nordhoff and shut out Agoura, 38-0, in Week 2. Ventura takes on Camarillo and Maulhardt on Friday night.

Football: No. 24 Canyon Country Canyon

August, 19, 2011

The Canyon Country Canyon football team has a rich tradition, but the program has been down the past few years.

After guiding Canyon to a 10-2 record and into the quarterfinals of the CIF- Southern Section Northern Division playoffs, coach Chris Varner resigned. Rich Gutiterrez, the athletic director at Canyon and an assistant under Varner, takes over a program poised to return to greatness.

The team has a three-year starter at quarterback in Jonathan Jerozal and one of the best wide receivers in Southern California in junior Drew Wolitarsky. Expectations are high at Canyon, but this is a program that has historically set high goals and achieved them.

Here is a closer look at the Cowboys:

Team: Canyon Country Canyon

Coach: Rich Gutierrez, first year.

2010 Record: 10-2, lost in quarterfinals of CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Jerozal
Tim Haddock for ESPNLA.comCanyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal is a three-year starter for the Cowboys.
Returning starters: 11 total. Five on offense. Six on defense.

Key players on offense: QB Jonathan Jeroza, WR Drew Wolitarsky, RB Max Archuleta, WR Coley Apsay, C Alex Vaughn, OT Juan Rodriguez.

Key players on defense: MLB Adam Evans, OLB Robert Hooper.

Difference maker: DE Juan Rodriguez.

Newcomers: WR Coley Apsay, WR Brenden Stach, DB Jordan Canady, NG Estaban Vazquez, coach Rich Gutierrez.

Not to be missed: Canyon at Valencia, Oct. 21. This game will most likely decide the Foothill League championship. Canyon will be looking for its first league title since 2006. Valencia will be looking for its third league championship in a row.

Coach’s comment: “This is a tremendous experience. I go game by game. You can’t overlook anybody. We try to focus on what’s in front of us.”

Final analysis: This might be the year Canyon snaps Valencia’s hold on the Foothill League championship. The last time Canyon won the Foothill League title in 2006, the Cowboys went on to win a CIF state championship. Jerozal is a three-year starter at quarterback. Wolitarsky has been on varsity since he was a freshman and still has a year of high school left. Coach Gutierrez said Rodriguez is a tremendous leader. “It’s really great to see. Juan makes some really great things happen.”

Follow Tim Haddock on Twitter @thaddock.

Rich Gutierrez takes over as Canyon's football coach

August, 10, 2011
Canyon is one of two football teams in the Foothill League with a new coach for the 2011 season.

Rich Gutierrez takes over for Chris Varner, who guided the Cowboys to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs last season.

Andy Campbell resigned as head coach of the Golden Valley football team last week. Robert Fisher will be the interim head coach when Golden Valley plays Simi Valley in the season opener on Sept. 2.

Gutierrez inherits a talented and experienced Canyon team that should challenge Valencia for the Foothill League championship this year.

Among the top returners are senior quarterback Jonathon Jerozal and junior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky.

Gutierrez said Jerozal will have another legitimate threat at receiver with Coley Apsay, one of the top players on the Canyon basketball team. Apsay hasn’t played football since his freshman season, when he and Jerozal were on the same team.

Canyon opens against Burbank Burroughs on Sept. 9.