Ventura running back AJ Triana reaches for extra yardage in a scrimmage against Canyon at Canyon High School on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Canyon football hoping to ignite turnaround with win

Gearing up for his first football game as the head coach of Canyon High School, Joe Maiale is excited for the opportunity to head up a historic process but understands that it may take time.

“We are just looking for improvement from day one and we are just excited to get out there. It’s going to be a blast, man,” Maiale said. “Just getting back to football. Football season is the best time of year. Everyone has high hopes this time of year and obviously we are no different. We want to do well and see how this team responds.”

The Cowboys will have a chance to prove exactly just what Maiale is talking about as they host Crespi High School at Canyon at 7 p.m.

There are some questions surrounding the Cowboys team this season as they only return one skill player from last year’s squad in junior wide receiver James Mendibles. 

Canyon quarterback Aydyn Litz drops back for a pass in a scrimmage against Ventura on Aug. 16, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

As a sophomore, Mendibles was the third-leading receiver on the team, catching 11 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.com. He also carried the ball three times for 30 yards.

Senior quarterback and returning starter Aydyn Litz has shown poise and confidence in the offense and rejoins the team after taking over the starting job his junior year.

“I think he has definitely matured as a leader,” Maiale said. “He’s leading us well in practice and hopefully we score a lot of points and move the ball. Ideally, we want to stay on track and keep rolling. Game 1 mistakes are going to happen, it’s just the nature of it, and how we respond to it. Aydyn has been such a good leader so far for us keeping us aligned when things go bad.”

Crespi finished 2018-19 at the bottom of the Angelus league and graduates their starting quarterback and leading rusher Diego Tapia, but Maiale expects them to turn things around and be competitive and give Canyon all the can handle in their first matchup.

MORE: Excitement in the air at Canyon football scrimmage against Ventura

“The coaching staff over there, they’re a great program with great history so we know they are going to be good,” Maiale said. “Defensively, our biggest thing is that are we running to the football and tackling. You are going to give up yards and in this day and age, it happens, but if we are running to the football and tackling usually, good things will happen defensively. If you play aggressively good things will happen. If we are sitting back and waiting to make a play it’s going to be rough.”

Both teams are currently on a five-game losing streak dating back to last season and tonight’s game will be a good indicator as to how the Cowboys will do this season.

“We want to break that streak, but it’s a new year and we try not to get too ahead of ourselves as far as streak and all that,” Maiale said. “We have to take it one game at a time and really focus on us and doing the right things to earn a victory because there are no easy victories anywhere on our schedule.”

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