Hart quarterback JT Shrout was quick to credit the team’s receivers who stepped up in its season-closing win over Saugus, a game in which its top two receivers, Da’Von Jones and D.J. Palmer were sidelined.
But there was no denying what the duo brings on a weekly basis. Both are slated to return in the team’s first-round CIF-Southern Section Division 3 matchup against Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills.
“They can turn a slant route into an 80-yard touchdown,” Shrout said.
Indians coach Mike Herrington was not enthused with the team’s pairing against Sierra Canyon, winners of last season’s CIF-SS Division 4 tournament.
Palmer, who played just one snap in the win over Saugus before a concussion scare, was licking his chops at the prospect of getting a crack at the Trailblazers.
“I’ve wanted to play these guys since I was a freshman,” he said. “Everyone wants them and that definitely had an effect on our practice this week.”
Palmer said the rivalry stems from several Sierra Canyon players opting to attend the school over Hart despite attending Placerita Junior High with a contingent of Hart players.
While the Indians will re-insert two key members into its lineup, Sierra Canyon may be without two if its top performers. Corey Jones, who leads the team with nine touchdowns (five rushing, four receiving) and is tied for the team-lead with two interceptions, is a game-time decision.
Junior linebacker Trevor Howart is also expected to be a game-time decision. He’s tied for the team lead with six sacks and is third with 51 tackles.