Canyon players sat on pins and needles last Saturday, awaiting a decision on whether Oxnard would be eligible for the postseason, with the Cowboys seeking an at-large bid in CIF-Southern Section Division 6.
Cowboys coach Rich Gutierrez received the news that afternoon that Oxnard had to vacate seven wins from this season due to the use of an ineligible player, in accordance with a CIF-SS ruling.
The forfeits opened the door for Canyon’s at-large bid as it will hit the road to play San Gorgonio of San Bernardino on Friday in the first round of the playoffs.
“We were all just waiting on the call, sitting around on our phones, waiting for (Gutierrez) to give us the news,” said junior quarterback Shawn Gallagher. “We heard about that Oxnard situation and that sucks for their season but I’m just happy that we made playoffs and we’re ready to make a statement.”
Canyon dropped its season finale to Valencia but the Cowboys are still feeling the effects of their win over Saugus, which finished third in the Foothill League, a week earlier.
“What a rollercoaster,” Gutierrez said. “We were just hoping and hoping for a shot at the playoffs and we got it.”
San Gorgonio (6-4) finished first in the San Andreas League, going 5-0 in league.
Senior safety Anthony Gutierrez credited the Spartans’ athleticism, but was also quick to point out they’ve been sloppy with the ball this season. San Gorgonio has thrown eight interceptions to 11 touchdowns while losing six fumbles in 10 games.
“We’ve just got to rally to the ball and be ready for when they make one of those mistakes,” Anthony Gutierrez said.