Canyon football braces for battle with San Fernando

Canyon senior quarterback Aydyn Litz runs the ball in the season opener against Crespi at Harry Welch Stadium earlier this season. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Following last week’s opening season loss to Crespi, the Canyon Cowboys football team turns its attention to this week’s road opponent. It’s another San Fernando Valley school and last season’s West Valley League’s first-place finisher, San Fernando High School.

“We are going to play hard even when things aren’t going our way,” said Canyon head coach Joe Maiale. “I was really proud, especially when we went back and looked at film of the effort a lot of the kids gave. Sometimes that’s all you can ask. Things may not always go your way execution wise, but if you are playing hard, you have something to build on.”

Canyon (0-1 overall) enters the second contest of the season as heavy underdogs to an efficient Tigers team that defeated Leuzinger High School 22-14 at home last week.

San Fernando second-year varsity starting quarterback Adrian Lopez completed 11-of-15 passes for 160 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, distributing the ball amongst five different receivers in the win.

Senior receiver Chris Parker was on the receiving end of four of Lopez’s completions for 57 yards while Andrew Hernandez and Felix Rodriguez caught two balls each for 33 yards and 46 yards, respectively.

“They are a team that has won a City title two years ago, they are always contending, they are always talented and they are going to have athletes. There’s no way around it,” Maiale said. “We just have to tackle, wrap up and force them to fully move off the field.”

San Fernando (1-0) did most of its damage on the ground splitting time between three running backs that combined to rush 25 times for 226 yards. Lopez rushed the ball twice for a total of nine yards and touchdown.

Bradley Pierce had the most productive day on the ground, carrying the ball 10 times for 145 yards and a score.

Rodriguez followed with eight rushes for 63 yards and Hernandez rushed the ball seven times for 19 yards and a score.

The Cowboys offense guided by senior quarterback Aydyn Litz got off to a rough start against Crespi, but showed glimpses of promise connecting with some of his new offensive weapons like sophomore receiver Colin Figueroa.

“He is one of our captains,” Maiale said of Litz. “He hasn’t missed a beat. He has stayed a leader to his teammates, he’s put extra time into learning the game plan, staying after practice and working on some nuances that we are working on this week. He’s just a leader and an absolute joy to coach, so I’m looking forward to see how he does tomorrow night.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at San Fernando High School today.

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