Canyon football had a surprise visitor at practice this week: Cowboy alum and current Canadian Football League player Drew Wolitarsky.
It was an uplifting moment for the Cowboys (1-2), but more so for one player in particular: receiver Luke Stuart.
Stuart is the only starting freshman in the receiving corps and had a caught a touchdown pass from Shawn Gallagher in last week’s loss to Oxnard. According to coach Rich Gutierrez, his play will only improve this week against Highland High School of Palmdale.
“(They have) the same kind of freedom,” Gutierrez said when comparing Stuart and Wolitarsky. “When you play free in football, that’s generally when you perform and Luke has that same type of confidence. He just goes out there and plays football.”
Along with Stuart, Gallagher has shown improvement of his own. Canyon’s offense has been focused on establishing the ground game early in the season, but tested out Gallagher’s arm in its last outing.
“The more he actually has the opportunity to go out there and gain experience, he’s going to grow stronger,” said Gutierrez.
“We’re just trying to establish our running game and build more confidence there,” he added. “And pass depending on what the defense provides us.”
Highland enters the contest as an 0-2 team. Golden Valley shut out the Bulldogs 30-0 in the first week of preleague.
Running backs Isaiah Creech and Marchelo Burgess drove the offense in that game. Ke’vontae Tippin was a threat on defense and has 15 tackles for the Bulldogs this season.
“I always say, these first five games, you like to get wins, but you like to play teams that expose you,” Gutierrez said. “I thought we had a good week. I’m excited to get back on the field and see how much we improved.”