For as long as he can remember, Carson Strickland was at Harry Welch Stadium on Friday nights.
Now, as a junior, he’ll have the chance to play there on that day instead of watch.
“I’ve been going to all the games since I was little, and I’ve always been around Canyon,” said Strickland, beaming. “I was really excited this summer just to be like, especially like, under the lights.”
Strickland joins varsity after a successful junior varsity season spent with quarterback Shawn Gallagher, who is also making the transition to varsity this year.
The two flaunted their chemistry on Thursday evening at Canyon’s 7-on-7 passing scrimmage that featured Hart High, Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth and Palmdale in addition to the Cowboys.
“I’ve played with him since we were like, really little, so I know him and I know how good he is, and I know how much talent he has,” Strickland said.
The two played on opposing youth football teams, but Strickland’s transfer from Golden Valley to Canyon before his freshman year brought the two together.
Gallagher, who is on the tall side but certainly not lanky, connected with senior Roland Hardson almost as often as he did with Strickland.
Hardson played defense last year as a corner, but took on an offensive position as a receiver this summer and played both at the 7-on-7 scrimmage.
“I absolutely feel more comfortable on defense. But offensively I’m getting better,” Hardson said.
“I wanted to show my coaches that I can be a big factor on the team, so I wanted to step up as a leader. As a leader, you have to do whatever the team needs.”
The fresh-faced tandem of Strickland and Gallagher combined with the experience of Hardson and Canyon’s rising senior class brings a welcomed team-first attitude to the Cowboys, who went winless in the Foothill League last year.
Hardson on Strickland: “He’s young. Him at Canyon is going to help put Canyon on the map.”
Gallagher on Hardson: “You tell him to run a route and he runs it and he gets open.”
Hardson on Gallagher: “He dropped dimes (today). When he’s on fire, he motivates the team.”
The scrimmage was the last 7-on-7 exercise of the summer for the Cowboys. Next Tuesday they’ll take on Valencia in an 11-on-11 contest.