In the first game of the prep football season, Canyon coach Rich Gutierrez says he always feels one particular feeling: anticipation.
While Gutierrez experienced nervous excitement, quarterback Aydyn Litz appeared at ease in his first varsity start at quarterback – even in spite of a 42-27 loss to San Fernando on Friday night at Canyon.
“Comfortable,” said running back Jake Acquaviva of Litz. “Even under pressure he’s always comfortable.”
Litz wasted no time making an impression in his debut, connecting with Nico Shields for a 9-yard touchdown with seven minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Cowboys kept that 7-0 lead until the second quarter when the Tigers’ Andrew Frias threw a screen to Thompson for a 25-yard touchdown two minutes into the frame. Thompson followed up with a 3-yard touchdown run to pull San Fernando ahead 14-7.
With three minutes left to go in the half, Darrin Warren pulled the Cowboys within one point of tying the game with a 9-yard touchdown scamper.
“We all have our own varieties,” Acquaviva said. “Ryan (Valdes) is the power back, Darrin is the elusive back and I’m the speed back … We all rotate evenly. Its not really a competition. We’re here to benefit the team.”
San Fernando’s Kyle Bryant ran for a touchdown at the 9:35 mark in the third quarter, then caught a pass out of the backfield for a 38-yard touchdown run three minutes later.
“I knew they had a tough ground game,” said Gutierrez. “I think we made one too many mistakes and I think we could’ve actually made some plays. I think we made some stops here and there but not enough.”
To open the fourth quarter, Litz threw a touchdown pass to Shields for the second time to keep Canyon alive at 28-20.
“Me and Nico, I have his timing down,” Litz said. “I feel like I can throw the ball to him wherever.”
Thompson punched it in from the 1-yard line to make it 35-20, then the Carson Strickland ran for five yards for the final Cowboys touchdown of the evening.
Bryant had one final touchdown run a minute later.
Canyon now looks ahead to their Week 2 matchup against John Burroughs.
“Just focus on mesh,” Litz said. “We’ve got to work out the kinks and get back into our play style.”