By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
In the Canyon football (2-0) non-league home opener against the Hueneme Vikings (0-2), the Cowboys defense swarmed nearly every Hueneme play throughout the night. The defense finished the first half alone with two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Canyon got on the board first after a long drive with all running plays. Running back Ganisten “GT” Turner picked up one big run after another.
Turner led Canyon with 25 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Evan Watts punched in the first score from less than a yard out.
On the next play, Watts recovered a Hueneme fumble to gift the Cowboys another chance to score in great field position.
“I feel great,” said Watts. “This experience was awesome but there’s always room for improvement. I didn’t play my best but it was all teamwork at the end of the day.”
Canyon ran the jet sweep but a mistimed handoff to Jeremiah Taylor saw the ball hit the ground on the play. Taylor was able to recover the ball quickly and somehow find a seam to score a 41-yard rush.
The Cowboys converted a two-point conversion, making it 14-0 before Canyon even attempted a pass.
Quarterback and defensive end Diego Ulijich was solid again under center. The junior manned the run-heavy offense and was only asked to throw the ball a handful of times. That time on offense didn’t stop him from leading the Canyon defense’s pressure in the slightest bit.
The Vikings finally got some momentum thanks to the power run game giving the Cowboys a little taste of their own medicine.
The first Hueneme score would come on a huge 57-yard bomb from quarterback Josiah Sanchez to Brian Pintor. The wide receiver was able to reel in a ball over multiple Cowboys defenders and break free for the score.
Canyon wanted another score before the halftime break but a sack from Vikings defenders Matthew Perez and Josiah Gipson would sway the Cowboys to take a knee and go into the half up seven. It was the only sack of the game for both teams.
Both teams struggled to move the ball coming out of the half but on his second drive, Turner started rolling. Turner was driving the ball down Hueneme’s throat and registered back-to-back rushes over 17 yards.
Watts would finish off the drive on a 16-yard rushing score on a fourth and one.
Turner would finally find the end zone late in the game on another long run-heavy drive.
Canyon kept up the pressure on defense and kept forcing three and outs.
“Our defense is flying around the ball,” said Canyon coach Ken Holsenbeck. “Eleven hats on the ball is what it’s all about and our defense is doing a good job of that.”
The Cowboys are rolling and have already equaled their total wins in the last two seasons. Players have bought into all the new things their first-year head coach has brought in and the team is putting in the work of a 2-0 team.
“The biggest part of our success is us being disciplined,” said linebacker Maximiliano Sanchez. “Coach Holsenbeck has pushed us to be the greatest we can be and we stand by that.”
Holsenbeck saw a lot of great things from his guys but still knows there’s a long season ahead of him. Either way, Canyon’s feeling good.
“We feel good,” said Watts. “2-0 feels great but we want to win it all.”
Canyon will be back on the road next Friday for a non-league matchup with Harvard-Westlake.
“Now we’re on to Harvard-Westlake,” said Holsenbeck. “We want to improve and get better at everything we do. If we can do that, we’ll feel pretty good about where we are.”