Canyon football defeats Palmdale for first win of the season

Canyon wide receiver Reno Sifuentes makes an over-the-shoulder catch on a 37-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of a nonleague matchup with Palmdale at Harry Welch Stadium Friday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Heading into their Week 3 matchup, the Canyon Cowboys and Palmdale Falcons were heading in different directions. Canyon was looking for its first win of the season and Palmdale was hoping to extend its undefeated streak.

After the dust settled at Canyon High School on Friday night, the Cowboys made a sudden U-turn and left the Falcons stranded on the shoulder, winning 28-15.

“Everyone gave it all they had after the loss we had against San Fernando,” said starting linebacker Angel Vasquez. “We just worked hard during our bye and came back with more ferocity.”

Vasquez, Travis Dyson and Derek Gonzalez were part of Canyon’s (1-2) ball-hawking linebacking core that gave the Palmdale (2-1) offense fits all night. 

The front four of Evan Cox, Felix Garcia, Jacob Arsiniega and Matt Santos controlled the line throughout the contest, racking up nearly a dozen tackles for loss and a handful of sacks. The defense also stopped Palmdale on a handful of fourth downs.

“I was just thrilled. We’ve made splash plays and big plays this season, but I was more proud of the consistency. We didn’t let up,” said Joe Maiale, who earned his first win as Canyon’s head coach. “We gave up a big play or two, but we were able to regroup and weather the storm. 

“We knew there was going to be a big play, they are way too talented, way too good of a football team to just shut them down, but we stayed poised. I couldn’t be prouder of the way they responded when things got tough.”

Canyon senior Aydyn Litz scrambles in the first quarter of a nonleague matchup with Palmdale at Harry Welch Stadium Friday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Canyon scored first when quarterback Aydyn Litz connected with Reno Sifuentes for a 37-yard touchdown on his first pass of the game.

Palmdale answered with a 58-yard touchdown run from TyJoun Cavins and tacked on a two-point conversion to take an early 8-7 lead.

That was the only lead the Falcons would have all game.

Later in the opening quarter, Litz found Sifuentes once again, this time on a deep ball that went for a 52-yard score.

“Right when the corner was off me we just knew, we just have that connection,” Sifuentes said with a smile.

Canyon wide receiver Reno Sifuentes stares down a defender in the second quarter of a nonleague matchup with Palmdale at Harry Welch Stadium Friday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The Cowboys were able to jump to a 21-8 lead after Colin Figueroa caught a 15-yard touchdown from Litz in the second quarter. 

JJ Fechtelkotter made the score 28-8 after he scored on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Litz.

The senior quarterback finished the game with over 200 passing yards and four touchdowns, completing 14-of-23 passes. He also rushed for close to 70 yards.

“He was magnificent tonight. First half he was on fire throwing the ball all over the yard,” Maiale said about Litz. “I couldn’t be more proud of the offensive line, we really started to get some movement, and we were able to finish the game on the ground.”

Palmdale scored once more before the half to make it 28-15, but that was the last points scored on the night.

The Cowboys will look to string together consecutive wins when they face Simi Valley next week in their homecoming game at Harry Welch Stadium.

“I told them to enjoy the victory because you worked hard to get here, you enjoy it tonight but tomorrow we’ll be here,” Maiale said. “Nothing changes, we have a lift, we have conditioning, we have film and once that film is over, this game is over. Now it’s Simi and it’s homecoming and Simi is an exceptional team. No easy games.

“This is Canyon football and we’re going to play a tough opponent every week and that’s how the wins have to come. You have to beat good teams and be prepared for this Foothill League.”

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