Canyon had all the ingredients for a trap game Friday night while hosting a winless Simi Valley squad.
Simi Valley hadn’t allowed less than 50 points through its first three games, Foothills League play was just around the corner and, not to mention, it was homecoming for the Cowboys.
Canyon looked to fall into the trap with a sloppy first half but found its rhythm just in time to pull off a 36-17 victory over the Pioneers.
Cowboys quarterback Shawn Gallagher rushed and threw for second-half touchdowns, while running back Ryan Valdes also contributed a rushing score in the second half, staving off Simi Valley after it took a two-point lead in the third quarter.
“They came and they popped us in the mouth that first half,” said Gallagher, who threw for 96 yards and two touchdowns while adding 62 yards on the ground. “We settled down in the locker room at halftime.”
Canyon (3-2) brought a 13-10 lead into the second half after a pair of field goals from Logan Yamaoka and a 16-yard pass from Gallagher to Luke Stuart. But the Cowboys racked up just 122 yards of offense and committed six penalties.
“I think we were making good stops but (Simi Valley) did a great job closing off our inside runs,” said Cowboys coach Rich Gutierrez. “We just had to find our groove in that second half.”
Simi Valley (0-4) jumped out to a 19-17 lead with seven minutes to play in the third quarter following an 11-yard run from Ian Roca.
Gallagher marched the Cowboys back down the field the ensuing possession and backed his way in for an 11-yard touchdown run after being met at the 3-yard line. Gallagher then found Carson Strickland, who darted up the sideline for a 61-yard score.
Yamaoka added his third field goal of the night in the third and Valdes put a bow on the victory with an 11-yard score in the fourth quarter. Valdes led the Cowboys with 17 carries for 140 yards, most coming in the second half after Taylor Tepesano sustained a left ankle injury.
“Oh my goodness, it felt so good,” said Valdes of the touchdown. “It especially feels good when you can go behind our line and have no fear.”