Los Angeles Preps: Jonathan Jerozal

No. 11 St. Bonny 38, Canyon 17

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
12:35
AM PT


VENTURA -- St. Bonaventure scored two lightning-quick touchdowns against Canyon in the quarterfinals of their CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoff game. One was on a punt return by speedy Montre Lee. The other was on an interception return by lumbering defensive tackle Patrick Kenney.

Both third-quarter scores came in a 10-second span and St. Bonaventure eliminated Canyon, 38-17, from the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Lee scored on a 45-yard punt return and Kenney returned an interception 26 yards 10 second later at Ventura High School on Friday night.

After building a 21-3 lead at halftime, St. Bonaventure’s two quick strikes from a pair of unlikely sources put the game out of reach for visiting Canyon (9-3).

Lee said he told his coaches before the game he was going to return a kick for a touchdown. He has been hurt the last few weeks and not playing at 100 percent health.

“This whole game I was hungry,” Lee said. “I told my coaches I was going to take back a return, I was going to take back a punt or a kick return and I was ready for that one.”

Kenney scored his first career touchdown on the interception return. It was only his third career high school interception.

What little hope Canyon had of rallying in the second half was squashed by the touchdowns by Lee and Kenney.

“We already had a commanding lead,” St. Bonaventure coach Todd Threrrien said. “That kind of put it out of reach.”

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L.A. North: 5 things from the weekend

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
4:28
PM PT
  1. Not only is the Ventura football team undefeated through 11 games and the first round of the playoffs, they haven’t trailed in a game since Week 1. The Cougars were down 16-15 in the third quarter against Pacifica in the season opener. Ventura scored the final 19 points of the game to win, 34-16. Coach Brad Steward was looking through Ventura’s first 10 games in preparation for the opening of the Southern Section Western Division playoffs against Dominguez and discovered his team’s streak in leading games. The Cougars have been on quite a roll since the start of the season. Teams are scoring only 8.7 points against Ventura. The Cougars are coming off a 41-14 win over Dominguez in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. They play Santa Monica (10-1) in the quarterfinals on Friday night. The Vikings are on a bit of a roll of their own, with seven wins in a row and their loss only coming against Valencia on Sept. 30.
  2. The Marmonte League went a perfect 5-0 in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. The biggest blowout, Westlake over Eastside, 59-12. The closest game, surprisingly, St. Bonaventure, 19-10, over Redondo. Quarterbacks were the difference for Oaks Christian and Moorpark. Sophomore Brandron Dawkins threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns in Oaks Christian’s impressive 43-10 win over Mira Costa. He could have had more, but only played in the first half. Moorpark’s Grant Rohach passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, but every one of his passes were crucial in a 17-10 win over fourth-seeded Valencia. He threw a touchdown pass to Kenny Feyh in the fourth quarter to give Moorpark a 15-10 lead. Rohach also connected with Alex Tolliver for an important two-point conversion pass for a seven-point lead in the final minutes of the game. Not to be forgotten was a tough road win for Thousand Oaks, 20-7, over Quartz Hill. The Lancers erased a 7-0 deficit and scored 20 unanswered points to win going away. Moorpark and Thousand Oaks will play each other in the quarterfinals in a rematch of their Marmonte League opener. Thousand Oaks won that game, 27-24, on a last-second field goal.
  3. The San Fernando Valley went 1-4 in the first round of the City Section Division I playoffs. Birmingham was the only team to advance to the quarterfinals. El Camino Real, Arleta, Woodland Hills Taft and Reseda all lost in the first round and were eliminated. Arleta running back Dejon Coleman rushed for 156 yards and scored a touchdown in his team’s 21-18 loss to Birmingham. He broke the City Section record with 47 touchdowns this season. Birmingham scored the winning touchdown with a little over a minute to play in the game. The lone remaining team from the San Fernando Valley plays No. 3 Dorsey in the second round.
  4. The magic ran out for Camarillo and quarterback Travis Valdez. The junior threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns, but Camarillo lost to San Luis Obispo, 54-28, in the first round of the Western Division playoffs. Valdez threw for 2,594 yards and 35 touchdowns in eight games. He took over the starting quarterback job on Oct. 6 and won his first six starts. Receiver Jake Maulhardt caught 10 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown for Camarillo. He ends his high school career with 119 catches, second most in Southern Section history. Richard Mullaney from Thousand Oaks set the Southern Section record last year with 122 catches over his high school career.
  5. A week after losing a share of the Foothill League championship for using an ineligible player and having to forfeit a game, Canyon won impressively in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs, 21-0, over Palmdale. Quarterback Jonathan Jerozal threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Drew Wolitarsky caught four passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The Canyon defense came up with some huge plays. Juan Rodriguez blocked a 30-yard field-goal attempt. Mikey Hager had an interception just before halftime and set up Wolitarsky’s second touchdown catch, a 77-yarder as time expired. Canyon moves on to face St. Bonaventure in a rematch of last year’s Northern Division quarterfinal game. St. Bonaventure won that game, 45-21.

Two-point play: Alemany and Canyon

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
4:37
PM PT
Pac-5 Division playoffs
No. 17 St. John Bosco (7-3) vs. No. 12 Alemany (8-2), Friday (7 p.m.)


It’s not a matter of if, but when the Alemany football team will win a Pac-5 Division championship.

Coach Dean Herrington and his brother Rick, the brain trust that helped orchestrate the CIF championship teams from Hart in the 1990s, have taken their act over the hill, from Newhall to Mission Hills, and have built another football powerhouse.

Alemany capped its second Serra League championship and has yet to lose a league game since joining last year. The Warriors are 8-0 in their two seasons in the Serra League. They advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-5 Division playoffs last year.

Alemany, the No. 4 seed, opens the Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs on Friday night against St. John Bosco.

It looks as if Alemany is destined for another semifinal appearance. The Herringtons would like to take another step closer to their first Pac-5 Division championship. They might only be a year away.

Two of Alemany’s top players are juniors. Quarterback Devon Dunn and receiver Steven Mitchell will be back next year with plenty of experience and drive to make a championship run.

Not that Dunn and the good hands clan at Alemany don’t have the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs this year, but the teams at the top of the division are some of the best in the country, let alone California.

Servite, the top-seeded team in the Pac-5 Division playoffs, is ranked No. 24 in the nation by ESPN Rise. Long Beach Poly, the No. 2 seed, is 17th in the West Region poll by ESPN Rise. Mission Viejo, the third-seeded team, is the No. 13 team in the West Region by ESPN Rise.

Alemany lost two games this season by a total of two points. Fortunately for the Herringtons, this team learns quickly. Alemany changed its fortune and won a couple of tight games in Serra League play, including 21-14 over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the league finale.

These Warriors are close to the top. It won’t take long for them reach the summit and don’t be surprised if they are in the championship game this year. The Herringtons surely won’t be surprised.

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Valencia 34, No. 20 Canyon 7

October, 21, 2011
10/21/11
11:54
PM PT


VALENCIA – The Canyon football team made too many mistakes, missed too many opportunities, and in the end, played a team that was not quite ready to relinquish the Foothill League championship.

Valencia jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and rolled to a 34-7 win over previously undefeated Canyon, the No. 20 team in the ESPNLA.com football rankings, in a Foothill League game at Valencia High School on Friday night.

Valencia receiver Malik Townsend caught two touchdown passes and the Vikings defense held Canyon to 34 rushing yards and 212 yards of total offense.

“I knew it was going to take a team effort,” Valencia coach Larry Muir said. “The secondary stepped up. The defensive line was going to have to play tough against the run.”

Valencia is the two-time reigning Foothill League champion. Canyon (6-1) won its first six games of the season, including the Foothill League opener last week against West Ranch.

Valencia (4-3) played a tough preseason schedule that included Chaminade and Loyola. The Vikings were 3-3 entering the game against Canyon.

The Vikings opened the game with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sean Murphy and chewed up nearly five minutes of the first quarter.

Canyon’s first drive consisted of three plays and a punt. Valencia got the ball back at midfield and stalled after three plays.

Valencia was forced to punt, but Canyon had 12 players on the field for the punt return. The penalty gave Valencia a first down and the Vikings capped the drive with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Murphy to Townsend.

It was the first of many mistakes by Canyon.

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L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
9:58
PM PT
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:

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Five things from the weekend

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
6:32
PM PT
  1. Even though Sherman Oaks Notre Dame lost its Serra League opener, 28-26, to Crespi, the Knights can look to some positives from the game. First off, Notre Dame outgained Crespi in total offense, 212 yards to 164 yards. Neither team was able to move the ball much on offense, but Notre Dame running back Khalfani Muhammad made his presence felt. He rushed for 92 yards in 26 carries but didn’t find the end zone. Secondly, Notre Dame picked off two passes and turned them into touchdowns. Kevin Carrasco’s interception return in the second quarter gave Notre Dame a 10-point lead, 17-7. Nick Holland’s pick six in the fourth quarter put Notre Dame up 24-21. Finally, Notre Dame’s Sam Robinson matched Crespi’s Chris Harper for most acrobatic touchdown catch of the game. Robinson made a diving catch for a touchdown that tied the score, 7-7, in the second quarter. Unfortunately, Notre Dame doesn’t win games with style points. Now, the Knights find themselves in a must-win situation against Loyola on Friday night at L.A. Valley College. Notre Dame needs a win to get back in the Serra League championship hunt. Loyola is playing its Serra League opener after having a bye last week. It will be another tough one for Notre Dame. Crespi, meanwhile, plays Bishop Amat, which lost its Serra League opener to Alemany.
  2. Two school passing records were broken over the weekend. Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal set the school mark for career touchdown passes in the Foothill League opener against Saugus. Oaks Christian quarterback Brandon Dawkins broke the school record for passing yards in a game in a 50-0 shutout against Royal. Jerozal threw three touchdown passes in his team’s 51-28 win over Saugus. He has 62 career touchdown passes and broke the record set by Nate Longshore, who went on to play at Cal. Dawkins passed for 387 yards against Royal and broke the record set by Jimmy Clausen, who passed for 367 yards against Santa Paula in 2006, and went on to play in college at Tennessee. It might be the first of many school records for Dawkins, who is only a sophomore.
  3. Some of the biggest rushing games on Friday night came out of the City Section. Kawan Rally from El Camino Real rushed for 319 yards and four touchdowns in his team’s 48-7 win over Woodland Hills Taft. It wasn’t only a huge night for Rally, but for the El Camino Real program. The Conquistadores beat Taft for the first time since 1991. Birmingham’s Isaiah Hastings rushed for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 35-16 win over Chatsworth. Both his touchdowns came in the second half, one on an 86-yard run in the third quarter. Arleta’s Dejon Coleman didn’t have eye-popping numbers on the ground, but he scored four touchdowns in his team’s 49-6 win over Poly. He scored two rushing touchdowns, caught a touchdown pass and intercepted a pass for a touchdown. Coleman gained 91 yards on nine carries and caught five passes for 75 yards. Brian Sanchez from Granada Hills rushed for 213 yards and scored three touchdowns in his team’s 38-13 win over Cleveland of Reseda.
  4. Another game, another rushing record for Zander Anding from Burroughs of Burbank. He rushed for 394 yards and scored six touchdowns in his team’s 70-34 win over Glendale. It was Anding’s third 300-yard rushing game in a row and the third time he has broken his own school record for rushing yards in a game. He scored on runs of 39, 75, 5, 47 and 41 yards and caught a touchdown pass. Way out in the high desert, Quartz Hill’s Osirus Burke rushed for 242 yards and scored four touchdowns in the Rebels’ 27-21 win over Palmdale. Burke scored on runs of 6, 1, 13 and 11 yards.
  5. Pasadena Poly won the Oxnard water polo tournament, beating Rio Mesa, 15-7, in the championship match. Rio Mesa reached the final of the Oxnard tournament for the third year in a row. The Spartans won the tournament in 2009 by beating Pasadena Poly. Rio Mesa lost to Crescenta Valley in last year’s championship match. Rio Mesa beat Malibu, 13-9, in the semifinals. Rio Mesa’s Joe Yamamoto scored five goals against Malibu and had four goals in the championship match against Pasadena Poly.

L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 16, 2011
10/16/11
10:14
PM PT


Only one team in the top 10 lost last week. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, the No. 10 team in the L.A. North, lost to Crespi, 28-26, in the Serra League opener. It was a close game and another tough loss for Notre Dame, which dropped its second in a row.

Enter Thousand Oaks at No. 10. The Lancers can make a mess of the Marmonte League if they can figure out a way to beat Oaks Christian on Friday night.

Four teams remain undefeated, including top-ranked Westlake. St. Francis needed a last-second field goal to beat Harvard-Westlake and stay unbeaten. Canyon got a record-breaking performance from quarterback Jonathan Jerozal in its Foothill League opening win over Saugus. Ventura scored just enough to beat Dos Pueblos in the Channel League opener for both teams.

Here’s a look at the top 10:
  1. (1) Westlake (6-0) -- Dashon Hunt scored three touchdowns in Westlake’s 45-14 win over Simi Valley. He scored two rushing touchdowns and intercepted a pass for a touchdown.
  2. (2) Crespi (5-1) -- Crespi’s offense was far from crisp in a 28-26 win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. Special teams, on the other hand, came up with some huge plays. Crespi had a kick-off return for a touchdown and a blocked field-goal attempt for a touchdown. A blocked punt set up a third touchdown for the Celts.
  3. (3) Alemany (5-2) -- The Warriors started Serra League play with a huge win over Bishop Amat, 26-21. Coach Dean Herrington won his 50th game at Alemany. Quarterback Devon Dunn wasn’t spectacular but threw a touchdown pass to Jerico Richardson and rushed for a touchdown.
  4. (4) Chaminade (5-1) -- After playing some of the top teams in Southern California, Chaminade had a bit of a cakewalk against St. Paul, the No. 1 team in the Southern Section Western Division. Chaminade, the No. 2 team in the Western Division, beat St. Paul, 31-6, in the Mission League opener. Looks as if there will be a new Western Division No. 1 on Monday.
  5. (5) Oaks Christian (4-2) -- Sophomore quarterback Brian Dawkins threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns in his team’s 50-0 shutout over Royal. Dawkins broke Jimmy Clausen’s school record for passing yards in a game. Clausen threw for 367 yards against Santa Paula in 2006.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: Games of the Week

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
3:51
PM PT
DavidsonAlex Gallardo for ESPNLosAngeles.comCrespi's Mike Davidson is one of several players Notre Dame will need to contain in their Serra League opener Friday.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame coach Kevin Rooney used an odd word choice to describe his team’s game against Crespi of Encino on Friday night.

The two teams open Serra League play with championship aspirations. All five teams in the Serra League appear in the ESPNLA top-25 prep football rankings. Rooney takes his No. 24 Notre Dame team on the road to play No. 16 Crespi and said it will be a “fun” way to open Serra League play.

“In our league, every game is critical,” Rooney said. “Crespi is a top team and our rival. It will be a tremendous challenge. It’s kind of fun it starts this way. It’s critical that each team wins every game they can.”

Notre Dame (4-1) lost its first game of the season to Chaminade, 36-32, last week. The Knights erased an 18-point, first-half deficit and took an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. But Chaminade scored 14 points in the final two minutes to win it.

The winning drive started when Chaminade recovered an onside kick. Running back Terrell Newby scored the winning touchdown with 15 seconds left.

“It was a tough loss,” Rooney said. “There were a lot of good things we did in the game. We’re past that and getting ready for Crespi.”

Notre Dame running back Khalfani Muhammad has emerged as one of the top running backs in the San Fernando Valley. He rushed for 84 yards and scored two touchdowns against Chaminade.

Quarterback Kelly Hilinski threw for 225 yards, completing 14 of 18 passes, and scored on a one-yard run in the second half.

Crespi (5-1) is coming off a 56-7 drubbing of Woodland Hills Taft. Quarterback Cody Cordell threw for three touchdowns and 155 yards in limited action. Receiver Christopher Harper caught two touchdown passes and finished the game with three catches for 64 yards.

Crespi won its first four games of the season and had outscored its opponents, 194-34. The Celts’ only loss came against Vista Murrieta, 38-20, two weeks ago.

“You always learn more from a loss. I feel they outprepared us,” Crespi coach Jon Mack said. “The boys are playing well. We’re pleased how the season is going.”

Notre Dame went 2-8 and won only one league game last year. The team has made quite a turnaround, winning its first five games of the 2011 season and entering Serra League play as a championship contender.

“They’re a year older,” Rooney said. “Most of them played last year. Experience helps keep them on the right path. We’re trying to learn from everything that has happened.”

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

(Read full post)

L.A. North: The Top 10

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
12:03
AM PT


There’s a new No. 1 football team in the L.A. North area. Westlake knocked off Oaks Christian in impressive fashion with a 22-point win on Thursday night on national television. The Warriors dominated on the offensive line, defensive line and with its rushing attack.

Westlake moves up to No. 1. Oaks Christian drops to No. 5. Chaminade jumps three spots to No. 4 after a thrilling, come-from-behind win over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

Four top-10 teams, Westlake, Canyon, St. Francis and Ventura, are undefeated.

Here’s a look at the top 10 teams in the region:
  1. (2) Westlake (5-0) – Westlake quarterback Justin Moore threw the ball only 13 times in his team’s 43-21 over previously top-ranked Oaks Christian. He didn’t need to throw the football that many times as Oaks Christian couldn’t stop the Westlake running attack.
  2. (4) Crespi (5-1) – The Celts easily took care of Woodland Hills Taft, 56-7. Now Crespi begins its Serra League schedule against a stunned Sherman Oaks Notre Dame team on Friday night.
  3. (5) Alemany (4-2) – Alemany wide receiver Steven Mitchell had a big game against Beverly Hills. He caught five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns in his team’s 48-12 win.
  4. (7) Chaminade (4-1) – It wasn’t the prettiest game against Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, but Chaminade ended the roller-coaster night on the upswing and won 36-32. That never-say-die mentality will be hard to beat.
  5. (1) Oaks Christian (3-2) – Westlake found a weakness in the Oaks Christian defense: Run straight up the middle. The good news for Oaks Christian is that the Lions probably won’t face a team as tough as Westlake until the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

(Read full post)

L.A. North: The Top 10

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
3:42
PM PT
Alemany blew a 14-point lead in the second half and lost a tough road game to J.W. North in Riverside. As a result, the Warriors dropped a couple of spots in the area top 10 rankings.

Westlake and Crespi posted impressive wins and moved up a couple of notches.

Thousand Oaks pulled out a thrilling, 27-24, last-second win over Moorpark and knocked the Musketeers out of the top 10.

Quartz Hill is barely hanging on to a top-10 spot after an embarrassing, 35-7, loss on the road to Bakersfield.

Here’s a look at the LA North top 10:
  1. (1) Oaks Christian (1-1) – The Lions won their first game in a big way. Oaks Christian beat Agoura, 50-11, in the Marmonte League opener. Running back Ishmael Adams rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
  2. (2) St. Bonaventure (2-0) – The Seraphs shut out Royal, 59-0, behind quarterback Marc Evans. He threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the Marmonte League opener for both teams. Next up for St. Bonaventure is Oaks Christian on Friday night. Oaks Christian beat St. Bonaventure, 33-32, last season.
  3. (4) Crespi (2-0) – The Celts traveled to Fresno for a tough game against Clovis West and won, 42-28. Quarterback Cody Cordell threw five touchdown passes for Crespi.
  4. (5) Westlake (2-0) – The Warriors shut out Calabasas, 63-0, in their Marmonte League opener. Justin Moore threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth touchdown.
  5. (3) Alemany (2-1) – The Warriors lost for the first time this season, a surprising, 36-35, setback to J.W. North in Riverside. Alemany had its 15-game regular-season winning streak snapped.
  6. (6) Chaminade (2-0) – The Eagles beat Valencia, 14-10, but had to rally with two touchdowns in the second half to do it. Terrell Newby scored both touchdowns but was held to 73 yards in 24 carries.
  7. (7) Canyon (2-0) – The Cowboys showed no mercy against Knight in a 56-7 win. Quarterback Joanathan Jerozal threw four touchdown passes, three to receiver Drew Wolitarsky.
  8. (10) Sheman Oaks Notre Dame (3-0) – The Knights had little trouble against Woodland Hills Taft, 35-0. Running back Khalfani Muhammad rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown.
  9. (NR) Thousand Oaks (2-0) – Jamie Sutcliffe hit a 40-yard field goal with no time left in regulation to give Thousand Oaks a 27-24 win over Moorpark. Sutcliffe was 2-for-5 in field-goal attempts, but hit the game-winner.
  10. (9) Quartz Hill (1-1) – The Rebels lost, 35-7, to Bakersfield. Quartz Hill gave up three second-half touchdowns. Osirius Burke scored the only touchdown for Quartz Hill in the second quarter.

Football: No. 24 Canyon Country Canyon

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
3:37
PM PT


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
8/10/11
3:43
PM PT
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.

Northern: St. Bonaventure 45, Canyon 21

November, 26, 2010
11/26/10
11:58
PM PT


VENTURA – St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien can’t wait for the next game of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs. He wants to play on Wednesday. Make it a best-of-three series.

His team’s next opponent is a familiar one: Westlake. The two teams will meet in the semifinals of the Northern Division playoffs next week, which can’t come soon enough for Therrien.

St. Bonaventure, the No. 6 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, advanced with a 45-21 win over Canyon in the quarterfinals of the Northern Division playoffs at Ventura High School on Friday night. When asked what it means to move on in the playoffs, Therrien said, “It means we get to play another week.”

“Westlake to boot. We haven’t changed much since the last time we played,” Therrien said. “They haven’t changed much. Maybe we can play this on Wednesday.”

Tanner Souza scored three touchdowns for St. Bonaventure (11-1) against Canyon (10-2). He caught four passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He scored a rushing touchdown in the first quarter. He also intercepted a pass on Canyon’s first play from scrimmage.

Therrien compared Souza to New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker. Only Souza is still learning the St. Bonaventure offense. He normally plays linebacker but has been taking more snaps on the offensive side of the ball. Therrien said Souza hasn’t played offense on a regular basis since the eighth grade.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” Therrien said. “He might be a Division I-A guy.”

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Facing teams with top-notch quarterbacks, talented wide receivers and pounding running backs is nothing new to St. Bonaventure.

Playing in the Marmonte League, St. Bonaventure, the No. 6 team in the ESPNLA.com rankings, has seen its share of skilled offensive players. The St. Bonaventure defense has risen to each challenge, sometime shutting out some of the most explosive offenses in Southern California.

The Canyon football team is similar to some of the top offenses in the Marmonte League, said St. Bonaventure coach Todd Therrien. When the two teams meet on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division playoffs at Ventura High School, it will be another test for the St. Bonaventure defense.

Canyon boasts a young and talented, perhaps even oblivious, offensive unit led by quarterback Jonathan Jerozal. The junior quarterback has thrown for 2,837yards and 29 touchdowns in 11 games.

His favorite target has been sophomore receiver Drew Wolitarsky, who has caught 72 passes for 1,405 yards and 13 touchdowns. Senior receiver T.J. Yonkers has emerged as a dangerous threat in the passing game with 54 catches for 803 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has caught 13 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns in the past three games, including the first round of the Northern Division playoffs against Palmdale.

Senior running back Darius Rudolph has gained 1,318 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He is averaging 7.5 yards per carry and has three 100-yard rushing games in a row.

There’s no doubt Canyon can score points. Coach Chris Varner said he is hoping his defense can make some stops and give his offense a chance to win the game.

“The last couple of weeks, we made some improvements,” Varner said. “We are able to move the ball, put some points up and have our defense step up. The kids feel real good and are excited.”

The St. Bonaventure defense has recorded three shutouts and held eight opponents to 17 points or less. Therrien said his goal is to keep Canyon to three touchdowns or less.

“God-willing, we’ll score more than three touchdowns,” Therrien said.

But it won’t be all on the defense’s shoulders. Therrien said he expects his offense to keep Jerozal and Co. off the field and his special teams to come up with a big play or two.

St. Bonaventure is coming off a 44-14 win over Redondo Union in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. The score was 44-0 at halftime and Therrien rested many of his starters, including linebacker Cody Kurz and defensive back Shaun Wick in the second half.

“Getting a chance to rest was good,” Therrien said.

Canyon has won four games in a row and hasn’t lost since Oct. 22, 52-31, to Valencia.

“It’s a one-and-done situation,” Varner said. “We’ve been do-or-die since Game 6. We’re hoping to go out there and win.”

Other games:

Thousand Oaks (8-3) at No. 15 Oaks Christian (9-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

The first time these two teams met, Oaks Christian won, 28-26, holding off a furious Thousand Oaks comeback in the fourth quarter. Oaks Christian had a 28-7 lead after three quarters before Thousand Oaks scored 19 points in the fourth quarter. This time the games is at Thousand Oaks. Oaks Christian, the top seed in the Northern Division playoffs, routed Saugus 34-8 in the first round. Thousand Oaks narrowly beat Quartz Hill, 28-21, in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs.

No. 13 Valencia (10-1) at Moorpark (6-5), Friday, 7 p.m.

Moorpark has been the kryptonite to Valencia for the past two seasons. Moorpark has knocked Valencia out of the Northern Division playoffs each of the past two seasons. Valencia might have the upper hand in this one though. Moorpark is definitely on the downturn, but the Musketeers have home field and history on its side.

Palos Verdes (10-1) at No. 8 Westlake (10-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Westlake made quick work of Knight, 58-8, in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs. Westlake, the reigning Northern Division champs, was up 27-0 at halftime and scored three touchdowns in the third quarter. Running back Tavior Mowry scored four touchdowns and rushed for 177 yards. Palos Verdes rolled over West Ranch, 48-10, in the first round. Running back Marc Sasso rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

Atascadero (9-2) at No. 24 Chaminade (10-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Chaminade is coming off a 52-16 first round win over Culver City in the Western Division playoffs. Running back Terrell Newby rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Tru Jarvis gained 71 yards and scored three touchdowns. Atascadero squeaked past Ventura, 13-6, in the first round. Running backs Tanner Thompson and Deonte Barnes combined for 248 yards rushing and two touchdowns on a sloppy football field.


1. The Canyon football team showed a lot of character in its 52-31 loss to Valencia. It was the first loss of the season for Canyon and the Canyon players took it pretty hard. Turnovers were the most telling factor in this game. Canyon committed three, Valencia none. Running back Steven Manfro said Canyon gave his team a scare. Canyon quarterback Jonathan Jerozal said his team learned from the loss and his team has some work to do. Valencia might have won this one, but Canyon might be better for the loss. A rematch might have a much different result.

2. Maybe Chaminade is for real after all. It’s hard to ignore Chaminade’s undefeated record. The team’s 29-26, come-from-behind, win over St. Francis was impressive for a couple of reasons. Chaminade was down 22-3 in the first half and didn’t fold. Chaminade scored 23 unanswered points and won the game on a touchdown run by Terrell Newby with less than a minute to play. Chaminade will have to beat Gardena Serra to stay undefeated heading into playoffs. That’s no easy task, but until that meeting on Nov. 5, Chaminade fans should enjoy the ride.

3. The top three teams in the Marmonte League, Westlake, Oaks Christian and St. Bonaventure, won their games by a combined score of 155-7. Westlake won by only 31 points over Newbury Park, 38-7. Oaks Christian shut out Thousand Oaks, 52-0, and St. Bonaventure had the biggest margin of victory, 65-0, over Simi Valley. Westlake, Oaks Christian and St. Bonaventure seemed to have separated from the rest of the Marmonte League teams. Westlake is undefeated at 7-0 and riding a 21-game winning streak. Westlake and St. Bonaventure have yet to play. They meet in two weeks on Nov. 5.

4. The Sherman Oaks Notre Dame boys cross country team won an inspirational Division IV Sweepstakes race at the 63rd Mt. San Antonio College Invitational over the weekend. Will Conway from Notre Dame won the race, covering the 2.91-mile course in 15 minutes, 16 seconds. Two of his Notre Dame teammates finished in the top-10. Each member of the Notre Dame cross country team was wearing yellow ribbons in memory of teammate Conor Lynch, who was killed in a car crash last week. The members of the Harvard-Westlake cross country team also wore yellow ribbons, the school color of the junior class at Notre Dame. The 16-year-old Lynch was a junior at Notre Dame.

5. The Woodland Hills Taft girls volleyball team won the Gold Division championship of the Gabrielino High Invitational Tournament on Saturday. Taft won the 28-team tournament by beating Carson, 25-22, in the championship game. Carson reached the semifinals of the CIF City Section Division I playoffs and lost to eventual champion Granada Hills last year. Taylor Kline earned most valuable player honors for the tournament. Naz Malai and Tamar Fowler from Taft earned selections to the all-tournament team.

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