Canyon football pounds Royal, remains undefeated

Teammate Andrew Ruiz (60) celebrates as Keyshawn Wooten (22) runs away from the defense and scores the third touchdown for Canyon against Harvard-Westlake at Canyon High on Friday, 090123. Dan Watson/The Signal

By Matt Lechuga 

For The Signal 

The Canyon Cowboys leaned on their stable of playmakers en route to a dominant 48-9 win over the host Royal Highlanders on Friday night, improving them to 4-0 and marking their best start to a season since 2011.  

“That’s one of the advantages that we have,” said Canyon head coach Ken Holsenbeck. “We have a lot of guys we have confidence in. Put the ball in their hands and they’re going to do something positive for us. We’ll continue to mix it up week-to-week, go with whoever has the hot hand and we ride it all the way through.” 

Canyon (4-0) jumped to a commanding 21-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a 40-yard rush from Keston Banos, a 69-yard connection from Caleb Sparks to Jeremiah Taylor where, after making the catch on a drag route, Taylor only needed one juke to get past a Royal defensive back to get to the end zone, and a 6-yard scoring run on a sweep by Ganisten Turner.  

The second quarter was quieter as the Cowboys extended their lead to 28-0 thanks to Sparks hitting Taylor again, this time from 29 yards out. Royal also got on the board with a safety after a bad snap on a punt went out the back of the Canyon end zone. 

After the half, Canyon went right back to work, forcing a Royal three-and-out and following it right up three plays later with a 42-yard scoring run from Taylor.  

“We’re feeling really good,” said Taylor. “Working on the small things, repping our passing game, which I think is really becoming strong. We’ve just been working at practice nonstop, trying to get the chemistry up. It’s just clicking.” 

Sparks and Taylor showed that connection on the next drive when Sparks floated a beautiful ball over Taylor’s shoulder in the back of the end zone from 7 yards out, pushing the Canyon lead to 41-2 after the missed point after.  

Not to be outshined, the Canyon defense then forced a fumble when Royal quarterback Crichton Ae coughed the ball up while trying to scramble for a first down. Four plays later it was Keyshawn Wooten’s turn to score, hitting the left side and turning the corner to the end zone for the Cowboys’ final score of the game. 

“We got through preleague with a good record but now it starts all over,” said Holsenbeck. “It starts all over with our league games. We’re back to 0-0 and we have to come out and play a little Cowboy football.” 

Canyon will open its Foothill League play hosting West Ranch next Thursday. 

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