Canyon football has gotten a second chance at playoffs this season, and the opportunity has breathed new life into the team.
“I think it’s an energy boost,” said coach Rich Gutierrez. “They’re positive, they’re doing great.”
The Cowboys hope to keep that energy going on Saturday against Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach.
Canyon will be without top running back Ryan Valdes, who suffered a concussion against San Gorgonio last week. However, a speedy Taylor Tepesano is ready to take the reins. Brandon Wilson and Chris Alvarado are also ready to step up at the position if needed.
“It’s unfortunate when you lose kids, but it’s nice to have some depth there,” Gutierrez said.
Jonah Tavai is the go-to guy for the Mustangs. Measuring in at 5-foot-10 and 285 pounds, Tavai fills roles at fullback, nose tackle and left tackle.
“For us, we’ve got to make stops, continue what we’re doing,” said Gutierrez. “When you have a running game like they have, we just have to tighten up what we’re doing and get some stops.”
With only one senior on the field for offense, the Cowboys have benefitted from the playoff experience and from having a few extra games for the team to really gel.
“No matter how much practice you have, it still takes time,” Gutierrez said. “There’s a lot of mental aspects that go into it. I think our kids started peaking the end of the season.”