Castaic Coyote football exploded on Thursday night as the team notched its first win of the season at Canyon High School.
The Coyotes hammered the Royal Highlanders en route to a 36-12 win, the first win under first-year head coach Sirr Guy Shakir.
Castaic made big plays all around, many of which came from quarterback Tyler Lewis. The junior gunslinger finished with 171 total yards and three TDs.
Lewis’ favorite target, Lucas Milan, also had a memorable home opener, finishing with 96 receiving yards, a touchdown reception and a 65-yard kickoff return on a Royal pooch kick.
“It feels amazing,” Milan said. “Just to be able to help my team get the win.”
The Coyotes started slow, with penalties on their first three plays and Royal’s first two offensive plays.
Sophomore Monty Coleman pounded Royal on the ground, and racked up 70 of his 86 yards in the first half. Coleman capped off Castaic’s first drive with a 16-yard rushing score.
After a punt on their second drive, the Coyotes found their rhythm. Lewis and Coleman couldn’t be denied major yardage on the ground and stacked up big run after big run before Lewis capped off the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper.
“Huge, huge,” Lewis said on the importance of starting hot. “This is great momentum for the next week. The whole team was just hyped. I don’t think we’ve ever been this happy and this hyped going into the season.”
Castaic defensive end Cyrus Gradoville sacked Highlander quarterback Crichton Ae on the next drive but Royal kept pushing forward. The Highlanders nearly found some momentum on their final drive of the first half after converting on fourth and 1, but Coyotes defensive back Alexis Silva picked off Ae on the very next play, setting up one last shot at the end zone before the half.
Lewis scrambled at midfield before finding Milan for a 52-yard touchdown pass.
“Not gonna lie, I had a good feeling about today,” Milan said. “I feel like we practiced really well all week as a team collectively. Good things happened during the week. So I feel like it just clicked for us.”
Ae, a junior, moved his offense up and down the field in the first half but just couldn’t find the end zone. Ae finished the first half 6-of-10 but was held without a completion in the third quarter.
Royal running back Johnny Sandwick scored the team’s first points of the season, on a 5-yard rushing TD. Sandwick was quiet in the first half with just three rushes for as many yards. The running back flipped the switch in the third quarter and hit several huge runs.
Sandwick finished with 144 rushing yards.
Castaic’s win was also the Coyotes’ first home win and first blowout win. After 20 years away from the field, Shakir returned to the very field where he last coached high school sports and was even unintentionally stationed in his old classroom.
“It was a little nostalgic considering the fact that 20 years ago this is where I coached and now the stadium’s named after Harry Wekch, the guy I coached with,” Shakir said. “It’s kind of a full circle type thing, so that was weird, but once you start warming up all that doesn’t matter anymore.”
Nonetheless for Shakir, Thursday night’s win was all about the team.
“They deserve that,” Shakir said. “They worked really hard. They’ve had a lot of people kind of tell them that, they don’t deserve to win, those types of little things. And so it’s good for them to show some pride, can come out and play like that for each other.”
Royal will remain on the road and head to Simi Valley next Friday.
Castaic will look to carry its momentum into the next week, a road matchup with the Burbank Bulldogs.
Both games are slated for 7 p.m.
“Next week I just want to see the same energy,” Milan said. “The same punch-them-in-the–mouth energy.”