Canyon football prepares to battle Oxnard on the ground

Canyon's Ryan Valdes (11) takes a handoff from Canyon Quarterback Shawn Gallagher (7) against Burbank High at Canyon High last week. Dan Watson/For The Signal
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Canyon football coach Rich Gutierrez described his players as “gladiator-like” ahead of today’s game against Oxnard.

“They’re gritty kids,” Gutierrez said of his team. “You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to go to war.”

They’ll be battling a Yellowjackets (1-1) team that brings physicality, speed and sharp-minded coaches. Gutierrez said his respect for the coaching staff, which is led by Jon Mack, is one of the primary reasons he pushed to get Oxnard on the Cowboys’ schedule.

MORE: Canyon football bowls over Burbank

Canyon (1-1) will hope to counter that with the strong ground game that was showcased last Friday against Burbank. Ryan Valdes and Taylor Tepesano combined for 158 yards, while quarterback Shawn Gallagher had 13 carries for 30 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Cowboys limited Burbank to 84 rushing yards and 164 passing yards behind a sturdy defensive line that pays close attention to technique.

“Our footwork is really nice and our hand placement can be very, very good,” defensive end and guard Jacob Lopez said at the start of the season. “We can really ball up this year.”

Last week’s win was welcomed excitement for the team for the night, but it didn’t last long.

“I think it’s nice to win, get over that hump after the Moorpark game,” said Gutierrez. “We knew it was difficult but you want to get back to the drawing board and prepare things.”

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